Photography Ronan McKenzie

mahalia joins forces with little simz on personal new single

Listen to i-D’s Class of 2018 graduate reflect on her journey so far, on Proud of Me.

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02 February 2018, 10:50am

Photography Ronan McKenzie

What were you doing at 13? Leicester singer-songwriter Mahalia was busy signing a deal with Atlantic Records. Her teens were spent making and releasing Erykah Badu-inspired emotional R&B that she calls ‘psycho acoustic soul’, and now, at the grand old age of 19, she’s preparing to head off on tour with Jorja Smith. But there’s more! She’s only gone and teamed up with North London rapper Little Simz. What a combo. Proud Of Me is a slow and soulful number on which Mahalia speaks close and gets confessional about how far she's come and how all she really wants to do is make her mum proud. Simbi can relate, obvs, as her laid back verse confirms.

"I wrote this tune not long before my birthday last year,” Mahalia told i-D over email. “It’s the first time in my short music career that I had stepped out on my own. I stumbled for a while I think, trying to get my priorities straight. But once I understood that, everything kind of fell in to place. The one thing I have always said that makes me truly happy is knowing that my family, friends and you guys are proud of what I have achieved. I've always wanted to work with Little Simz. So, this was crazy for me. She gave me all the extra magic that I needed."