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Here at King City Online we are in awe of the ridiculously talented roll-call of black female artists with connections to the second city, and the MOBOs have a proven record of sharing that view. Laura Mvula, Lady Leshurr and Stefflon Don have all taken their coveted Best Female title in recent years, and at the latest ceremony in December, former Birmingham Ormiston Academy graduate Mahalia went one better - claiming both the Best Female and Best Soul/RnB prizes. On receiving her awards, the Leicester-born chanteuse said:
“I remember seeing my first MOBOs and it’s an honour. As a young black female artist, it really is special to be here and to be recognised in this way.”
Her old school sounded just as pleased. Gaynor Cheshire, CEO of the BOA Group where Mahalia studied from 2012 to 2016 beamed:
“BOA is extremely proud of Mahalia’s achievements and we continue to follow her meteoric rise to success with interest and anticipation.”
Mahalia can now polish her prizes, put them on the mantelpiece and look forward to the Grammys, where she is nominated in the Best R&B performance category for All I Need with Jacob Collier and Ty Dolla $ign.
Of course, Birmingham’s glittering array of talent predates the MOBOs by several decades - Joan Armatrading was the first black British female to achieve international music success and another Brummie - Jaki Graham - was the second. Ruby Turner, Beverley Knight, Jamelia and Jorja Smith have also achieved major breakthroughs and this kind of success shows no sign of abating anytime soon, with Janel Antoneshia and Kezia Johnson ripping it up on the current series of The Voice. There’s a host of quality performers making waves and establishing beyond doubt the city’s incredible strength in depth in this particular demographic. Birmingham’s Queens are as majestic as ever and still casting their spell over the world of music.