Bringing in acts from outside the London-bubble is something important to Mahalia. After struggling to pop the bubble herself and get the city’s attention (at first), she is acutely aware of the struggles of penetrating the industry and - literally - being offered a stage. Though she plans to focus on highlighting young women, particularly young women of colour, that’s not to say there isn’t space at her events for all, “I want to put on a night and make people feel like they have an audience here”, in fact the next event will potentially see two male performers.
Though she is used to pulling in crowds of thousands, Mahalia confessed her nerves about being able to fill Moth Club: “I sometimes struggle with imposter syndrome. For example, my birthday is coming up and I don’t want to do anything for it because I don’t think anyone will turn up, I’ve thought like that since I was a kid. With Mahalia Presents, I was scared I would let the artists down by not being able to pull a crowd in. But it was sold out - which was the first win.”
Through these events, she is creating a network of like minded young people, not only musicians, but producers, writers, performers, DJs and dancers too. She is building the community that she did not have access to growing up and ensuring that it is inplace for the next generation of talent.
Navigating the music industry without a support system like the one she is creating, inevitably, could lead to lessons learnt the hard way - especially when entering the industry at a young age. “I wish I’d known that there would be so many knock-backs. I didn’t realise that signing to a label was where the work started. Everything before that was just me being a kid, I didn’t realise there would be so many nos. I remember how it felt to be told no so many times. I know how painful it is to see your dream in the distance but not know how to go and get it or how to achieve it.”