“I just want to create things that have a breath of fresh air”
Australian singer/songwriter, Wafia, is the next artist to watch for on your musical radar. Wafia is only 24 years-old, but her voice speaks wonders as she transcends barriers of genres and sounds. She is an artist whom has created a beautiful list of tracks to develop her artistry in a category known as “left-of-center”.
“Better Not” is her most recent release, which is in collaboration with renown electronic producer Louis the Child. The song is fun, light hearted, sweet and harmless. It carries your soul through the summer and reminds you of poolside gatherings, road trips, beach getaways, and endless days in the sun. The feeling emoted by the reverbs of this track is “feel good.” It’s the kind of song you would use to sum up what a good day would be like. It’s a summer lullaby that will blissfuly take you away to its own universe.
Nonetheless, the song is a heartbreak melody about not fooling m yourself when you see true love straight in the eye and then try to pretend it’s not real–how wrong you are.
Don’t overthink it
Let it go and try to trust the feeling
You know it in your gut you’re healing
From every time that you’ve been hurt before
I see it, I see it
It’s true love, don’t fake it
You better not, you better not
The lyrics, though short, and simple, really pack a punch when placed by the duality of these two artists. As I sat on call with the singer herself, I could tell in her soft-spoken, thoughtful voice, that every song is given much love and care.
When I asked Wafia what she was currently out in LA doing, she mentioned that she was out at Coachella performing with Louis the Child and is now just writing at the moment. (That’s always good news coming from an artist; it means more music!)
Now, being of Iraqi and Syrian descent, I was curious to know if her cultural influences were ever reflected in her music?
“I think it comes subconsciously, I realize I don’t need to make a great effort to include it because I think it breathes through me. I don’t need to include Arabic or something in everything that I do because just me existing in itself is me including my Middle Eastern background… Not every song calls for that kind of influence all the time. But I think it’s in my melodies, it’s in the subjects I talk about, but only if it’s required”, she responds thoughtfully.
I delved deeper into the sound that she does embody, which is something more “left-of-center”. I was curious to know if there had been a clear defined path to this sound, or if it was something she had to experiment with and decipher. “It did take time to figure out, but I came to realize that I love a lot of different music and that I kind of want to do it all. I realized that I want the common thread in my music to just be my voice, or my story, or my perspective, as opposed to a style of genre or a style of production. It took me 2 -3 years to figure that out. To me it’s all about what the song asks for. You know if a song wants to lean a certain direction or requires something, who am I to say ‘No no no’… it’s just about finding that balance I found.”
As mentioned earlier, Wafia had a chance to perform live with Louis the Child in front of 50,000 people at Coachella this year! The artist was not scared though explaining how it is easiest for her to perform for 50 people rather than for more than that. She considers it easier because she really can’t see all of the crowd’s faces and the stage begins to feel like she is “playing in my own world”, says the songstress.
To list just a few of the artists she wishes she could collaborate with, Wafia mentioned “there was a time I would have said Kanye, but now I’m not so sure” she chuckles,” I’d love to do something with like Kendrick or even like Pharrell–I feel like it would be cool to do something with Imogen Heap, ya , like something super unique and beautiful and soundscap-y”. The artist also mentioned how she would love to work with producer Brian Eno (James Blake) someday.
To her, a lot of her influences that shaped songwriting for her were artists such as Shania Twain (whom was the first artist album she was ever given), SZA, and Solange. Usually, she would enjoy writing music to more melancholic tunes, but lately she’s been feeling less somber and more energetic and vibrant. “I’m more inspired by fun things right now, I just want to create things that have a breath of fresh air. There was a time in my life when I thought things weren’t dark enough…but now I just want to make music that makes people feel good”.
She continues, “I actually really love Drake–his production style is really inspiring to me–especially songs like ‘Passionfruit'”.
I then got to ask my favorite questions about what color she would describe herself as and it was awesome that her color to describe herself is “desert orange” and that her fun facts were that she speaks 3 languages: Arabic, English and Dutch, and that she has a toy poodle named Khalil (after the poet Khalil Gibran).
Her biggest advice to aspiring artists would be to “be patient and make sure you really know about your career and also how you want to be represented, before you bring anyone into your project, a manager, or otherwise. And hold on to your publishing for as long as possible.”
I was completely honored to speak to Wafia, because I can tell her work is going to exciting places and reaching new heights very soon. She is “constantly #ontheverge of creative fulfillment but never there” but constantly working towards it.