Mahalia vs. the green-eyed monster on Arvos with Latifa Tee
March 17th 2021
- Mahalia :: Interview with Latifa Tee
Resident UK RnB queen Mahalia spoke to Latifa Tee on Arvos about making music in lockdown, articulating experiences of jealousy through music, and cutting loose from unsupportive friends.
Cross-Atlantic RnB phenomenon Mahalia might have had a quieter 2020 than expected – following the breakthrough release of her 2019 album Love and Compromise, she was slated to play at Brixton Academy on her 22nd birthday. But with the extra time, her musical output didn’t disappoint; five collaborations, one remix with Cam’ron, one acoustic cover and an EP later, Mahalia shook off 2020 (the Bad Year) and stepped in to 2021 (the Good Year) with Rico Nasty on ‘Jealous’. The collaboration perfectly showcases her style, drawing as much inspiration from TLC as from the sound of fellow Brits Jorja Smith or Ella Mai.
Mahalia’s Isolation Tapes EP came out last year while many people were still under lockdown, the same week she was supposed to play Brixton Academy.
“I found this folder on my desktop called ‘Potential Music’, so I opened it up, and there were a couple of songs and sketches in there that I had written from the album that I hadn’t gone back to, including ‘Plastic Plants’ and ‘Too Nice’. I thought, “Oh my god, I can’t believe I haven’t used these yet.” It was all stuff that I loved that nobody ever gets to hear.”
‘Jealous’, her first release of 2021, pairs bouncy afro-drums and bass patterns with plucky Spanish guitars, the style du jour of American trap. And as it turns out, isn’t about a lover at all, but unsupportive friends.
“Whenever people aren’t very nice to me, I blame myself. I was confused why some of my close friends were saying these hurtful things, and I was chatting with [RnB artist] Miraa May, talking as girls talk, and just sung into the mic “Baby you’re so jealous of me”. We were all kinda laughing but it sparked something…Jealousy was always something I saw as a narcissistic word, until now. I always thought that saying someone was jealous was saying they want what I have. But it’s something we all feel, at some point. It’s just how you choose to release that feeling into the world.”
Listen to the whole interview (and hear Latifa Tee fangirl hard) above.