GRAMMY-nominated R&B star Mahalia has returned with her brand new single, ‘Whatever Simon Says’ – available now globally, via Atlantic Records.
Following on from previous releases ‘Letter To Ur Ex’, ‘Whenever You’re Ready’ and ‘Roadside’ – of which the latter featured global rap sensation, AJ Tracey – ‘Whatever Simon Says’ is a poignant single that discusses the ever-oppressive and unrealistic beauty standards that society places on women. Speaking on the track Mahalia states; “Everybody who knows me knows that I definitely don’t follow social norms and shitty beauty standards. I’ve always been someone who has never let people try to change me – especially my romantic partners. This song is about wanting it to work with someone but knowing it ultimately can’t because their expectation of what type of woman I should be is just far too high. I feel like “whatever Simon says” is every girls ‘fuck you’ to the system that has always been set up through a male gaze. It’s us saying that we are going to be everything we want to be because we want it. And not because a man tells us to.”
Directed by Mahalia and shot during a recent writing trip to LA, the single arrives with a natural and raw accompanying video; an unapologetic and direct refusal to be anything but her true and honest self.
The last two years have marked many achievements for the Leicester-born star. Beginning 2020 with her second BRIT nomination, Mahalia featured on up-and-coming fellow Midlands rapper Pa Salieu’s debut mixtape, ‘Send Them To Coventry’, whilst also gracing the tracklist of Headie One’s #1 album ‘Edna’. Subsequently, Mahalia also received a GRAMMY nomination for ‘All I Need’ – Jacob Collier’s single of which she features alongside US rapper, Ty Dolla $ign. Shortly after, Mahalia concluded the year with three MOBO nominations for ‘Best Female Act’, ‘Best R&B/Soul Act’ and ‘Album Of The Year’ for her debut album, ‘Love and Compromise’, winning in the first two categories. In 2021, Mahalia was also nominated for her first ever Ivor Novello award for her 2020 collaboration with UK lyricist Pa Salieu for his single ‘Energy’ and subsequently concluded the year with an incredible headline show at London’s prestigious venue, O2 Brixton Academy.
Besides the awards and nominations, it’s also been a time of deep personal growth, one that Mahalia describes as a real rollercoaster in her personal and professional life. Reflection has been the thread running through Mahalia’s writing and while the current global situation offers little more than uncertainty, the singer hopes that her music will encourage her listeners to carve out time to also look back and re-evaluate: “We’re all fixated on how we can make ourselves better during and after this period of time but I want people to also reminisce on lovely or painful situations they’ve lived through and how they’ve helped shape the people they are now.”