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      music Hattie Collins 11 December 2015

      ​10 things you need to know about mahalia

      Since we first heard her sing at the age of 13, we’ve kept a close eye on Midlands’ singer Mahalia.

      ​10 things you need to know about mahalia ​10 things you need to know about mahalia ​10 things you need to know about mahalia

      The 17-year-old has been relatively quiet over the last few years, figuring out the sort of artist she wanted - and didn't want - to be. Her new EP, Never Change, premiering today on i-D, proves the wait was worth it. Refusing to be defined by genre, the understated 4-track EP was co-created with Drake producer Nineteen85 and Steve Fitzmaurice (Sam Smith's Stay With Me). It's an EP that reaches right in and turns your heart inside out thanks both to Mahalia's distinctly rich vocal and evocative songwriting. Press play on Never Change and then find out the 10 things you need to know about the newcomer…

      1. Mahalia wrote her first song at the age of eight...
      "I remember being a kid and writing a song called My Angel when I was about eight or nine. To this day, my brothers still mock me for it! I really started writing songs when I was 12. I had this big crush on a boy in my middle school and I remember having all these feelings literally bunched up inside me. So, when it came to writing Let The World See The Light it was really a case of getting everything out. I think it was after that that I really discovered my love for writing. I'd like to think that I'm quite an open person and I've always tried to be as honest as I can. I think that's so important when I'm writing."

      2. Even though she signed a major label deal at 13, Mahalia hasn't rushed to release anything...
      "It's been so important to me to finish school and get my qualifications. I really wanted to give myself and my music time to develop and grow. It's been an amazing four years. I got to do all the normal school girl things; hang with friends and go to parties, which is cool. It just meant that I never felt like I was missing out. I always wished school away but, now I'm 17 and it's nearly over, I wish it would slow down (laughs)."

      3. For Mahalia, making music can be a bit mad...
      "For a while, I was just making music for the hell of it. I did it really because it made me so happy. But, I think I make music now because I want people to feel like they can relate to my songs. I feel like I have something to say to people. Making music really is like an emotional rollercoaster, you know. I sometimes feel so weird when I'm writing. Like, I have so much to say but no way to word it. And it's such a weird feeling. I wouldn't want to do anything else."

      4, You can hear her on Rudimental's last album...
      "That was huge for me, to be involved in the process and then to see the record - We The Generation - do so well. It's been so fun to go on the journey with them; they're become like big brothers to me. Doing Jools Holland with them was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I've ever done."

      5. She's supported everyone from Emeli Sandé to Ed Sheeran, but it's a Compton rapper that's been her favourite touring partner...
      .
      "I've toured with loads of people, but my favourite person in music at the minute is definitely Kendrick. That man is a genius. An absolute KING."

      6. She's working with the man that made Hotline Bling...
      "I've been working with a few producers on my new album. Two guys - Nineteen85 and Supa Dups [Nineteen85 made Hotline Bling] - I started working with about a year ago. They're sick. I recently started working with Steve Fitzmaurice and Rich Wilkinson. They're great guys!"

      7. Mahalia was nearly a scientist...
      "When I was little, I always loved performing. I used to make up little dance shows and songs in the living room. But for a while, I thought I was going to be a scientist or something. I was really into science when I was in middle school. That kinda fizzled out though..."

      8. The most important person in her life is her lil bro...
      "My baby brother, Jude is eight now. I have two older brothers and they're brilliant! But, Jude really is my little man. He inspires me a lot."

      9. Mahalia's creativity isn't limited to just music…
      "To relax, I like nothing more than a colouring book and pens. I stayed at my brother's flat in Leeds a few weeks ago and his girlfriend had an adult colouring book. So, I bought one (laughs). I don't do it that much but when I get to, it's the best thing ever. It's so therapeutic."

      10. She loves Birmingham, but not as much as she loves Leicester...
      "The thing I love most about my hometown, Leicester, is just the fact that it's home. I feel completely comfortable when I'm there. Though I love Birmingham, I miss it a lot. #STRAIGHTFROMLC"

      Never Change is out Friday

      @Mahalia

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      Text Hattie Collins

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      Topics:music, music interviews, mahalia, 10 things you need to know

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