I have seen the future of RnB, and her name is MAI.K
In a world where the music charts are dominated by manufactured acts, TV talent shows and over-produced songs, Mai Khalil is out to show success can still be achieved through hard work, failed relationships, disappointments, perseverance, motherhood, and most importantly her own unique, cultivated, timeless and classic RnB sound.
Having moved from Syria to London, England via Germany at the age of 10, Mai Khalil had not even heard of RnB music until she stumbled across a CD on the road of her street. The CD was Smooth Grooves RnB Edition which changed everything for her after first listen. Mai says about that day, “I feel that if that CD wasn't on the ground I would have never started singing at that point, it was as if someone or something put it there for me”. From that day on, it was the beginning of Mai’s journey to finding her own sound.
As with most artists and musicians when first stepping into what can be the murky world of the music industry, naivety can prove costly. Having written an albums worth of material, Mai Khalil found that being over reliant on others can often result in nothing. This came to a head when her relationship with her producer she was dating at the time ended, the consequences of which ensured her recorded music from that period never saw the light of day. Mai later said about her early experiences in the music industry, “I would have been in a much better place musically had I taken the steps I wanted to and not listened to other people”.
Despite her despair, Mai continued writing and performing on the London live scene. It was here where she was introduced to rapper and activist, Lowkey, who was gaining a name for himself for his eye catching performances and outspoken political views. Upon discovering they shared similar views and musical aspirations, Mai Khalil began collaborating with Lowkey on a number of his songs as well as his videos. Her affiliation
with him has to date seen videos she is featured in alongside Lowkey receive millions of plays on YouTube contributing to them both performing at the BBC on a number of occasions and being introduced to more top acts she has since gone on to collaborate with such as Akala, Rewd Adams and The Last Skeptic to name but a few.
In 2017 Mai Khalil played a prominent role in Lowkey’s new song and video, Ghosts Of
Grenfell. The hard hitting track paid tribute to the victims of the devastating fire and lashed out at the political class. The video featured a cast of hundreds with Mai Khalil leading the way asking the question, “Did they die or us”? The song and video was reviewed in national publications as well as featured on the BBC’s World At One show, and to date has received over 580,000 plays on YouTube alone.
Step back a year to 2016, despite the success Mai Khalil was receiving through her collaborations with other artists, she still held on to her dreams of succeeding as a solo act. Deciding to mostly move away from politically influenced songs and instead write about her own personal experiences, work began on her album, Reflection.
In 2017, the album was released to much critical acclaim. Shortly after the release though, Mai discovered she was pregnant and made the decision to put a hold on her dreams and take a sabbatical from music just as her album was on the cusp of breaking.
Forward-wind one year to 2018 and now a responsible mother of a beautiful baby boy, a
chance encounter with artist manager and promoter, Rob Saunders in a fish & chip shop
resulted in contact details being swapped upon hearing about each others music
background. Impressed by the quality of Mai’s album, Rob decided it was too good to be forgotten
and suggested it should be re-released, but this time split into 3 Eps over a period of 12 months.
Inspired to prove that becoming a mother does not mean giving up on your dreams, 2019 now promises to be the year Mai Khalil reminds everyone what YOU have all been missing!
Now being known as MAI.K, her new EP Change will be released on 26 April through all major distribution sites. The first single will be the re-release of Little Arab Girl available from 15 February 2019.