At just 20 years old, Mahalia, the Leicester-born, Birmingham-raised artist, speaks with a confidence and maturity beyond her years. Having been signed at just thirteen, she spent her teenage years battling similar problems to most teenagers, with the added pressure of growing up as a mixed-race girl among peers who had never even seen hair like hers before—as well as fighting for her voice with the label. It’s these experiences that have led Mahalia to this point where she’s in the most successful place she has ever been, career-wise, and able to push on to the next stage with no shortage of things to say.

After the slow-burn success of her song “Sober”, particularly after her COLORS session, Mahalia’s stock has risen and she has since worked with the likes of platinum-selling rapper Russ, had her music appear in Insecure (the popular American-based TV show), all while being a firm fixture on summer 2018’s festival circuit. She also recently dropped a 5-track project entitled Seasons, which she describes as “a prelude” to her debut album that is set to drop early next year. As Mahalia was about to kick off the UK leg of her tour, she sat down with Complex to talk about her upbringing, and the troubles she faced being of mixed heritage, to the current state of British R&B, working with Kojey Radical and how Adele’s 19 album spoke directly to her.