You may not have heard of Delilah yet – even in her home country of the UK she’s a bit of a cult proposition, with a solitary top 20 hit to her name so far – but the soul singer has already made some friends in high places.
Earlier this year, with her debut album From The Roots Up still months away from release, she was personally selected by Prince to fly to Australia and open a selection of dates on his Aussie tour.
“When I first heard about the possibility of me supporting, I assumed it was just a touch of luck through business managers or agents. But it was actually a personal request from Prince, which was just so flattering. He really does support new talent,” she told the Star Observer during the tour.
“A lot of people don’t share the love, but Prince definitely does.”
Listening to the music Delilah’s released so far, it’s not hard to see what caught Prince’s ear.
There’s Go, her sparse debut single built around a canny sample from Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody. Or Love You So, a dramatic, anthemic slice of pop that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Massive Attack album.
Her latest single is an even more heart-on-sleeve nod to her musical influences: a faithful cover of late soul singer Minnie Ripperton’s 1975 hit, Inside My Love.
“That song was my upbringing, and that’s why we’ve put it on the album. I write songs on the piano and then we ‘produce them up’ – I’ve been co-producing so it does sound like one continuous, fluid journey that sounds like me,” she said.
“It’s all got energy at the same time – you’re not going to slit your wrists. It’s emotional without the emo,” she joked.
Outside of her own album, the 21-year-old singer’s collaborated with drum and bass duo Chase and Status, and has enlisted a slew of credible dance producers to remix her singles. She said her dance floor dabblings had helped strengthen her own talents as a performer and songwriter.
“Working in the dance scene has helped me to bring a new energy on stage and to mix things up so I’m not just singing ballads. Even though the songs are deep and meaningful to me, they shouldn’t be boring,” she said.
“I have a love for dance music, I really do, and I am a part of the dance scene through my friendships and working relationships.
“But it’s not so much what my music is about. My album is very much an artist, singer-songwriter album.”
Considering she signed her first record deal at the tender age of 17, we had to ask: does Delilah have musical talent running through her veins?
“I call my family ‘music appreciators’. They can’t play or sing a note between them but I grew up in a household of great music, with vinyl everywhere, and lots of great soul and R&B.
“I was raised on Bob Marley, not Hannah Montana!”
INFO: From The Roots Up (Warner) is out August 3.