Two years after her successful 2012 hit ‘Where I’m from’, ‘Queen of AfroPop’ Rafiya, is back with a hot new track ‘My Number’ from her sophomore album. Born in Los Angeles to Congolese Parents, Rafiya, has lived in several countries all over the world including Cape Verde, Barbados, Benin and Senegal. She is now based in Philadelphia where as well as being a recording artist, she also works as a teacher. We got a chance to speak to the beautiful and talented songstress to learn a little more about her new song.
You have a very diverse range of tracks. How would you generally describe your style of music?
Rafiya: I would describe my style as Afro pop/Afro soul.
Being that you have lived in various countries throughout your life, would you say that these locations have any influence on your songwriting (music)?
Rafiya: Absolutely! Being exposed to different cultures colors my music, giving it a versatile and multicultural vibe and personality. You will find the use of different languages, instruments and sounds, with Africa always at the heart.
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue music full time?
Rafiya: I knew I wanted to do music full time when I was about 7 years old! At that age I knew that’s how I wanted to impact the world. I was passionate about music and would perform in front of imaginary crowds (asking my audience to clap etc.). There are a couple of events that come to mind when thinking about coming to the realization that I wanted a musical career. There was of course the unforgettable recording experience with Oscar Kidjo ( Angelique Kidjo’s older brother), but i remember performing at a stadium in Benin. The reaction of the audience moved me tremendously. I felt that I had touched them and I was amazed by the power of music. I also remember performing at a school fair and crying because the event was over and i wanted to go back onstage! My parents have always been supportive and have always nurtured my musical ambition, but I’m grateful they have also emphasized the importance of education. It was challenging going to school/working while pursuing music but with my degree at hand and other things in place, doing music full time now feels great!
‘My Number’ is your latest single, Can you tell us about the inspiration for this track?
Rafiya: My Number was produced by Cote d’Ivoire’s own Producer, “Patche.” It’s a song about love and satisfying the needs of your significant other. I wrote this song and recorded a preproduction with my husband, M.O.A, in less than an hour. We were inspired—by each other.
Speaking of M.O.A., you also collaborated with him last year on a remake of ‘Sweet Mother’ (Sweet Moda). How is your working relationship?
Rafiya: Collaborating with M.O.A is a lot of fun and very inspiring. M.O.A has an incredible work ethic and his talent in mind-blowing. I have a lot of respect for his artistry and what he brings to the table. Working on Sweet Moda and My Number was a great experience. I do believe we complement each other artistically and I’m looking forward to future collaborations!
So what can we expect from Rafiya this year?
Rafiya: Look out for my sophomore album this summer 2014! I’m beyond excited about it! I had the honor of collaborating with incredibly talented producers. There is an undeniable evolution from my 1st album “Amazing” (2010), and I can’t wait for you to hear it! Also look out for new music videos, merchandise and tour dates!
What do you do when you are not performing?
Rafiya: When I’m not singing, I teach French and Spanish. I absolutely love teaching!
One of my dreams is to have a literacy school.
How can Akatasia.com readers learn more about you?
Rafiya: On my website www.rafiyaonline.com, on facebook at www.facebook.com/rafiyamusic , on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rafiyamusic or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/rafiyamusic
“My Number” is Available on rafiyaonline.com/shop.
We’d like to thank Rafiya’s Management Team (413 Management, LLC) for facilitating this interview.