(UK Spotlight is an ongoing column designed to introduce GRAMMY.com readers to artists making waves on the other side of the Atlantic. You'll learn about the artists, their music, where they came from, and where they are going.)
"It went amazingly well," says an excited Delilah, speaking about her first-ever headline show at KOKO in London in April. The 21-year-old, who was born in Paris and grew up in London, signed with Atlantic Records when she was 17 and has since graduated to selling out shows without having released a full-length album. It's quite clear that there is something special about this young artist.
Delilah's voice couldn't be more distinctive, and her tone couldn't be any more pleasing to the soul. Thanks in part to her multicultural upbringing —her mother is of English, Cuban and Nigerian heritage, and her father of French and Spanish descent — Delilah has molded a style that transcends categories.
"I've never really fit into the mold, whether [it's] my background, the way I look or the way I sound," says Delilah. "I definitely haven't heard anyone sound like me, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing." It's most definitely a good thing, considering that her dark, melodic, soulful pop sound — which Delilah once thought sounded "gawky and strange" — has been accepted by the masses.
Delilah's sonic hybrid can also be attributed to her exposure to a variety of music and beginning her songcraft at an early age.
"Growing up, I heard everything from Latin music like Buena Vista Social Club to Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross and even all the way to Nirvana, Portishead and Radiohead," says Delilah. "Musically, my upbringing was really, really vast and I think that reflects my culture. Drum and bass also played a big part, too. Music has just always been a passion of mine, and I've wanted to be a singer since I was a little girl.
"I started writing [at] about 12 years old but I didn't know I'd written anything good until I was signed and they were like, 'These are really good.' It was probably after I signed when I thought to myself, 'Yeah, this could actually be a career.' Before that point, I was just making music for the love of it and I was just running with it. It wasn't until I signed the deal and got in the studio when I was like, 'I'm gonna make this work.'"
It's working so far and fans can expect a lot more exciting things to come from Delilah. She's currently in the midst of opening a string of tour dates for legendary GRAMMY winner Prince in Australia. Her much-anticipated debut album, From The Roots Up, is due in July. Videos for two of the album's singles, "Go" and "Love You So," have collective garnered nearly 4 million plays on YouTube.
"There's a little bit more stripped back, vulnerable, acoustic songs on there," says Delilah of the album. "I've also got a few songs on there that I wrote before I was signed; I've got the original recordings. It's a really personal, honest record and it's something for the fans. If you like my music, then this is especially for you."
(At left, watch Delilah perform "Breathe," a song from her forthcoming debut album, From The Roots Up.)
(From grime and UK rap to bassline and house and even a bit of pop, Joseph "JP" Patterson has played a vital part in promoting the UK's underground music scene over the years with his no fuss, straight-to-the-point writing style. He is editor of MTV UK's urban destination, the Wrap Up, contributing music editor for SuperSuper! magazine and music correspondent for BBC Radio 1. Follow him on Twitter @ Jpizzledizzle.)