Singer Mahalia tipped as star by YouTube Music but ‘avoids comment section'

YouTube Music has highlighted Leicester-born Mahalia Burkmar as a one of the Ones To Watch in 2019.

Singer and rising YouTube star Mahalia has said she decided to “stay out of the comment section” in an online environment that can be difficult for upcoming artists.

The 20-year-old artist has been recognised as a formidable talent on the verge of major mainstream success, after building a sizeable online following.

YouTube Music has highlighted Leicester-born Mahalia – stage name of Mahalia Burkmar – as a one of the “Ones To Watch” in 2019.

The spotlight aims to identify the artists who are set to follow in the footsteps of other British talents who made their name on the online platform, such as Ed Sheeran.

Mahalia grew up watching Justin Bieber videos on YouTube, and aspired make her own music.

Since then the singer has fought the threat of online criticism.

She said: “I think my brother said ‘whatever you do just stay out of the comment section’.  I never really got it before I had a bit of success.

“Out of natural human curiosity, I definitely have made the mistake and had a look. When I was younger it was totally full of trolls. That part of it can be difficult.

“As an artist you are putting it all on the line for that three-minute clip, you are getting praised then you are getting attacked. Sometimes it’s a little bit hard.”

Mahalia tries to steer clear of the comments and focus on the music, which she has been uploading to YouTube since her nervous beginnings at 12 years old.

She said: “I grew up watching YouTube. Me and my friends would sit around and watch Justin Bieber.

“I uploaded my first video when I was 12. It was so nerve-racking. I think my first video was on my brother’s laptop because it had a camera. I sang The Fray, How To Save Life.

“It’s crazy now. It’s so weird. When you get people from other places, from around the world recognising you, it’s a new world.”

The list of artists on YouTube Music’s Ones To Watch is based on subscribers and engagement on the platform.

Rapper Kojey Radical and singer Grace Carter are among the other UK talents highlighted as rising stars set to make an impact in 2019.

Other talents include Octavian, Sam Fender, slowthai, L Devine, Dermot Kennedy, Samm Henshaw and Jade Bird.

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