23 year old vocalist/songwriter Mali Hayes is making strong waves on the UK neo-soul scene. She spent time developing her sound at the Leeds College of Music and upon very first listen, you know she’s deserving of a spot in the game here across the pond. I recently had an opportunity to check out her sharply produced debut EP, Quiet Silence, released in the Fall of 2016. Serious about getting her sound out, Mali Hayes used Kickstarter to fund the EP and it has been well worth the effort.
Strong, yet airy, vocals catch you first, but relatable lyrics keep your ear. The jazz driven vibe given on tracks like “Jump” has earned her spins and accolades from Gilles Peterson and many others. Meanwhile, a YouTube cover of Jill Scott’s “The Fact Is” serves as assurance that Mali Hayes’ skills can not only effortlessly match the stateside greats, but that her stripped down style is a much needed one in the current neo-soul line up. As polished as Mali Hayes studio sound is, it’s rivaled by her live covers and performances of original tracks. Simple and supportive background vocals, if any, and bare minimum instrumentation lend themselves to her voice being the star.
While her EP, Quiet Silence, felt way too short and left me wanting more, it was easily played on a loop. If this is the first time you’re hearing of Mali Hayes, I’m sure it won’t be the last time. Get familiar with her and get info about new singles on her Bandcamp, Instagram, and Facebook pages.
Written by ViV