Miraa May has been a rising star in the world of R’n’B, but now the Algerian-born, Tottenham-based singer-songwriter has dropped her confessional debut record ‘Tales of a Miracle.’ She’s always made wavey tracks like ‘Angels’ with JME and ‘Carnival Love’ with Toddla T, and has talked about personal relationships on ‘Baby’ and ‘Woman Like Me,’ yet here she’s combined the two and somehow made a record that’s more vibey and even more introspective than her previous material.
In this record, Miraa May set out an intention of not only promoting herself, but the power she has as a woman and the power other women possess, despite the sexism that remains an issue in modern society. She has shown this strength in the female world with an album almost entirely compromised of women, except for the producers on the album. That includes guest artists and even the engineers, which May made a point of highlighting in a recent interview.
Amid a pandemic and the birth of her first child, this album was created during a big time in the life of Miraa May and despite all that was going on that disrupted most people’s lives during that period, she has created a very good album that chronicles her personal trauma, overcoming it and her achievements as an artist and a person.
‘Are You Ready?’ is what it says in the title, as it gets you ready for what is to come on this LP. The first half begins with this mixture of a piano ballad with orchestration and a bit of saxophone, as Miraa May discusses her power and resilience, key themes in the album. The beat switch in the second half sees a fierier display, as she matches the more energetic trap beat with a rap-like flow, calling out people for not paying her a fair share. It’s a good opener and shows the two sides to May, that we will see throughout this project.
We see more of this energy and confidence on ‘Scandalous,’ as the skittering drums and guitar match the confidence of our lead, as she demands to be treated right by her man.
She requires this top-notch treatment again on ‘In My Feelings,’ where TSB who has made some big hits for the likes of Dave and J Hus, gives May some mellow R’n’B with a sprinkling of trap drums. What I love about this track is how at the click of a finger she can switch from soulful vocals to lively rapping, showing a dissatisfaction towards this person throughout with lines like “Would you treat your mother the same?” This is a song that references gaslighting and the pain her story could cause, highlighting the daily struggles of women based on the mistreatment of men.
“I don’t like all the mix up, I just want for you to fix up.”Miraa May-‘In My Feelings‘
‘Anxiety’ is a standout on the project with the orchestral trap beat matching the royal theme of the album cover, which sees May sat on a throne with staff beside her, looking into the distance. The harsh strings match the feeling anxiety would cause a person, detailing how she deals with this struggle and the therapy needed due to her deadbeat dad. You can feel the emotion and the pain in her voice as she recounts these events, but also the relief of getting through this period and that it’s made her a stronger person.
Guilty Beatz brings a very unique instrumental to the table on ‘Hard For It’ with the Sci-Fi sound and use of Dubstep wub-wub’s, a very unique style for 2022. It does match the theme of a tumultuous relationship and knowing your worth, as both Miraa May and Jorja Smith talk about their excellence, and May, in particular brings the energy with a braggadocio flow. She brings this verocity on one of the big singles ‘Big Woman,’ as she and Stefflon Don match one another’s vigour and the bouncy trap beat, is complimented by the use of an angelic harp. It’s an ode to curvy women, but also strong women in general and how they can turn up without a man on a night out.
The bangers continue on the Dancehall-inspired R’n’B sound of ‘Wild Things,’ as TSB and Maestro ‘The Baker, give May an instrumental to match her noughties inspired flow. ‘Amen’ is a short, but sweet moment with the melancholic, echoic choir and pounding drums feeling like a battle cry for May’s powerful delivery and lyrics recounting moving on from trauma with the help of her partner.
‘Miraacle Freestyle’ expands on these themes, as we go on a journey through the pain brought on by her father, the treatment of her mother, and struggling to meet ends meet. Miraa May shows that like most stories, her’s ends with a happy ending as she highlights personal achievements like giving birth and seeing friends do well. It feels like this is the turning point of the album as May now is finding her worth in a relationship on ‘Tight Tight.’ I enjoy the bouncy bass and the vibe of the track with the use of synth-wave to make this a sexual anthem, but I would have liked to hear a bit more from Mnelia.
This and ‘Empress Me’ both feel like the weakest moments of the project, as both touch on similar themes of seduction. It’s definitely not bad though as she harmonises well with Dyo over a more acoustic instrumental. She keeps it smooth on ‘SugaMamaCita’ over a trap beat and Spanish guitar, once again presenting her triumphs and the love she feels from a partner.
The big single was the RAYE collaboration ‘Go Girl,’ which has grown on me over time with its bouncy synths and simple, yet infectious chorus. These two know how to flow back to back and I am sure this will be an anthem for a group of mates to get down to on an evening. ‘Peckham Love’ takes things back to the R’n’B sound, as an ode to her beau Harry Pinero. (Who big’s her up at the end.) A love song that recounts special memories, which references another famous love song ’21 Questions’ by 50 Cent, it’s a nice moment to show that Miraa May has pushed through the rubbish she mentioned earlier in the album to find her one.
An interesting juxtaposition is present on ‘Internet Trolls,’ as the old-school ballad vibe in the production from TSB, Taisha Johnson, and even Miraa May feels at odds with the theme of calling out those who anonymously bully on the internet. You can tell this is a topic close to home, despite the relatively calm delivery. (“It’s so sad I can’t punch you in your face,” aside.) It’s an important statement calling out the fakeness of these people and for calling her out over skin colour and who she dates, identifying the over-critical nature of society in the internet age.
“Acting like a judge and jury, but you’re a civilian.”Miraa May-‘Internet Trolls‘
To conclude this LP, we get the Co-Vid anthem ‘Good Times’ which uses strings and a saxophone on the chorus to great effect, as both her and Mahalia sound great, riding through the pain of that time and making the most of a bad situation. The closer ‘Akeem’s Outro’ is a celebration of the magic of giving birth and raising a child, bringing joy to his life and Akeem bringing joy to Miraa May’s life as well. It’s nice to see that May hasn’t let past trauma define her and used it to make sure she’s the best parent she can be and raise a child well.
This project felt like an experience and insight into the life of Miraa May. We learned about the awful experiences she experienced as a child and the struggle you receive for being a woman in the spotlight. Despite all this, she’s come through stronger and become the women she wants to be, has a partner to rely on, a triumphant career, and of course, has a son that she adores.
She is a very talented person with smooth vocal delivery, energetic rap flows, and many a story to tell and vibe to perform over. The production for the most part is pretty good and the variety in instruments and sounds keeps things fresh, as does the good selection of female guests. Some material here treads over familiar territory, but Miraa May has told her story and sounds good while doing it.