The Midlands maven making a theme tune to your hangover.

Top and trousers TOMMY HILFIGER, shirt PALM ANGELS and shoes CLARKS

Top and trousers TOMMY HILFIGER, shirt PALM ANGELS and shoes CLARKS

“I do love a drink, proper Leicester girl through and through,” 19-year-old singer-songwriter Mahalia Burkmar laughs down the phone. Recent studies have shown millennials don’t like going on the piss as much as their older counterparts, but Burkmar is proof that the age old tradition of teenagers having a WKD or two is alive and kicking. Or stumbling. “It wasn’t a massive deal,” she continues, “but I was having a drink and calling or texting this guy… When I wrote ‘Sober’ it was just my moment, saying to myself, ‘Oh my god, Mahalia! Wake up! You’re fine!’”

Released in July, her aforementioned debut single is about the kind of drunk messages that give you hang-xiety the next day, and a stint under the spotlight has been a long time coming. “I was always a bit of a show off,” she admits. “We were always a really musical family… When I was a kid I always used to sing and my parents used to record it. I’ve got loads of crappy videos of me singing Avril Lavigne.”



Now worlds away from her pre-teen renditions of “Complicated”, she’s enjoying the success of her single and in February she’ll join fellow Midlander, Jorja Smith on her sold-out tour. “I really love Jorja’s stuff and she’s one of the artists [that] I think is really real, and is coming across in a way that is really relatable,” she gushes, adding that she’d love to work with her in the future (plus IAMDDB, Tom Misch and Chance the Rapper, “I think if I say it enough, it might happen!”). But before then, she’s going to be working on pulling together her own album, which she hopes will enable her to be “free of a load of emotions that, right now, I feel are kind of trapped inside me.”

“I think — at any age, but predominantly from 17-24 — we are masters of masking emotion,” she explains. Burkmar’s lyrics at least allow her to unleash them, no matter how open to interpretation her words are. Her sound unites chilled, stripped-back R&B with infusions of pop and her endearing, soothing vocal.

As she gears up for what’s set to be a massive 2018, following another release, “Hold On” in October, Mahalia is staying modest about her ever-growing prestige in the industry. “I just hope that I can kind of carry on this really enjoyable and steady climb,” she says humbly. “As clichéd as it is, I don’t have crazy goals like winning a BRIT… For me I think the most important thing right now is releasing an album I’m really proud of.”

Taken from the Winter 2017/2018 Issue.

(LEFT) All clothing MIU MIU
(RIGHT) Shirt NO.21

All clothing MIU MIU
Shirt NO.21
Luc Coiffait
Ryan Cahill
Stelios Chondros using Bumble and Bumble
Porsche Poon using Sisley Paris and Nars Cosmetics
With thanks to
Cloud & Horse