Born into Australian rock royalty, influenced by her father Jimmy Barnes, Mahalia naturally began singing at a very young age, but professionally since she was 16 and mostly as a backing vocalist for other Aussie artists. All this time she’s also been trying to carve out her own originals music career and has recently recorded a solo album. As an artist, she’s drawn to guitar-driven gutsy soul, rock and blues, and is inspired by acts like Ike and Tina Turner and legendary queen of soul Aretha Franklin. Her talents are not all musical however; by all reports she cooks as well as she sings! The Blind Auditions allowed her to be judged as a singer not as Barnesy’s daughter.
Mahalia Barnes and her band The Soul Mates is a band put together by Mahalia in around 2005. Originally featuring a floating line up of sydney soul/blues/rock musicians including brothers Clayton and Lachlan Doley, Jonathon Pease, Stu Hunter and a selection of special guest vocalists wherever possible.
For the next few years, the soul mates toured Australia non-stop, playing supports for the likes of U.S Hip Hop greats The Roots, Lionel Richie, UK singer James Morrison and gospel/soul legend Mavis Staples, as well as playing a handful of festivals and headline shows. Over this time, the band really started to hone their sound and The Soul Mates became a more permanent line up, featuring Rob Woolf and Lachlan Doley on keys, Franco Raggatt on guitar, plus original members, Dave Hibbard on drums and Ben Rodgers on bass