With our current pop landscape littered with autotune, Xanax and a blithe acceptance towards derogatory behaviour, there is something satisfying about uncovering a truly distinctive, musically-informed artist. The uncertainty and instability of our political climate, while breeding sensationalised escapism, can also provide the foundation for bona fide voices to flourish. Hackney-native and up-and-coming singer-songwriter Amahla utilises this foundation to explore political and moral standpoints through her craft. Her mature, soulful style provides the perfect canvas to express women’s rights, race, and other social issues; “rarely does an artist so effectively capture the voice of a people as well as Amahla does.” Navigating socio-political terrain with an aptitude for storytelling, Amahla’s conscientious and detailed songwriting answers a call for greater musical authenticity in 2019. Dubbed “a new name for British Soul,” Amahla cites Amy Winehouse and Back to Black as key influences over her lyrical honesty and a strong sense of identity. Fans of Winehouse’s bluesy rawness, Lauryn Hill’s neo-soul, and H.E.R’s contemporary R&B are likely to enjoy Amahla’s unique sound.
Although young and up-and-coming, Amahla has already achieved critical acclaim for her vocal prowess and musical integrity. After graduating with a first-class degree from UCL with a thesis on African American brutality, Amahla was mentored by Carla Marie Williams, a songwriter who has previously worked with the likes of Beyoncé. She was subsequently awarded the PRS Lynsey De Paul Prize for outstanding emerging female songwriters. Amahla concluded 2018 as a recipient of the second MOBO Awards X Help Musicians Grant for her outstanding vocals and has added The Jazz Cafe, Camden Roundhouse and The Royal Albert Hall to her performance résumé. Combining old-school vintage soul through an unapologetically raw ‘London gal’ lens, she has cemented a reputation as one to watch.
Amahla’s first single ‘Old Soul’ garnered the support of BBC Radio 1Xtra, 6Music, and a number of other online media tastemakers. The stunning debut paints Amahla’s appreciation for old-school soul. Paying her respects to some of soul’s most eminent stars, the young artist carries a moving narrative of her musical love affair through a fluttering falsetto over a smokey blues instrumental. The follow-up single, ‘Dorothy’s Verses’, pieces together fragmented memories to capture her grandmother’s story. Controlled yet emotive, ‘Dorothy’s Verses’ presents a powerful vocal tribute to her grandma’s Alzheimer’s battle.
Today, Amahla releases her EP ‘Consider This’, a five-track project presenting a vintage soul sound and songwriting savvy beyond her years. To coincide with the release of ‘Consider This’, Amahla is also performing a sold-out launch event at London Roundhouse. Culturally and socially poignant, ‘Consider This’ calls on a deep backdrop of influences to create this musically-informed narrative, exploring issues of race, class, domestic violence, and urban life. Just as she puts her “whole body in water,” ‘Consider This’ undulates between idiosyncratic storytelling and activist tendencies, between acapella, bluesy instrumentals and neo-soul.
“Consider This is a record of individual stories. A glimpse into all the things that have left an impact on me in the last year. And hopefully, one way for us to remember what the hell was going on in 2019.”