After her first single 'Old Soul' came out in 2018, followed by the debut EP Consider This, Amahla is already selling out shows in London - the Lexington was packed with her fans, friends, and family, meaning there was a joyous spirit amongst the whole crowd.
Amahla (Photography: Ryan Taylor)
Before Amahla grooved on stage though, we were treated to the intimate psychedelic sound of Sans Soucis, mixing gentle soul with romantically haunting lyrics on songs like 'Moon Shows'. Another particular highlight was her endearing Italian love song 'Amami' meaning 'Love Me'. Sans Soucis' sound is almost Adele-esque (circa the 19 album) crossed with Lianne La Havas' style - acoustic soul with sprinkles of funk and psychedelia. Performing mesmerising guitar arrangements and capturing the entire room, an enchanting way to begin the show.
Sans Soucis (Photography: Ryan Taylor)
Amahla and her entire band arrived in full force for their headline London gig and, for a fairly fresh grouping, boy were they ready for this. Having worked and featured on the Brooke's Brothers single 'In The Moment' earlier this year - before getting her funk on she told the crowd it was one of her proudest projects - and along with various other collaborations, it feels like Amahla is now stepping things up a gear for her music career. As well as collaborating and learning with other artists, she's been honing her craft performing multiple dates at the Jazz Cafe, Roundhouse, Royal Albert Hall, The Great Escape Festival and others.
So, it came as no surprise that the band alongside Amahla were just as slick and felt like a group that could jam together for days. Something William B hammered home with some ace guitar solos, often fusing tasty blues and funk, followed up by Josh Wilde bouncing some jazzy vibes or hazy soul on the keys.
Amahla looked and sounded right at home on stage with this band and smoothly shifted between genres and styles, from delicate a Capella soul singing on 'These Times I'll Wait' where she held the powerful to account, as well as some gorgeous harmonies with backing singer Delphi on 'Consider This', to having a boogie with the room for 'Dorothy's Verse' (a funky bopper of a tribute to her grandmother - see video below).
Keeping the set flowing was William Hopwood whose drums were on point throughout, with some cheeky trills in one of his solos to make the whole audience laugh - I love a musical gag. JUDVH was also jammin' the fuck out at the back with his bass, funking up some of the more delicate soul numbers such as on Amahla's recent summer single 'Have Mercy' - a song where she questions having to fight for the same rights as people had to 50 years ago.
With her insightful lyrics around societal issues and uplifting grooves, Amahla is growing both her fanbase and musical identity. There are not quite enough talented British musicians singing about what's happened over the last few years and how it is affecting all of us, particularly when it comes to the news, politics and social media. It's good to be reminded of the more important things. Amahla thrives on hard-hitting lyrics, poignant thoughts and a proper groovy sound to back them up. Music that cuts through and provides some escapism from the chaos.
Her cracking encore number was the much loved track 'Old Soul' which legit summarises Amahla and her style - mature observations and a timeless sound. After seeing such a strong and energetic performance, we can only anticipate that her following will bloom further in 2020. Keep your eyes and ears out for upcoming gigs and festival appearances, along with some fresh material on the way...
Listen to Amahla on Spotify and Apple Music.
Her latest single 'Apathy' is available to stream and download here.
Follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Amahla (Photography: Ryan Taylor)