Netherlands born, electro-soul/pop artist Wafia is quickly becoming a household name.
From early days featuring on musician/producer Ta-ku’s 2016 release (m)edian to her 2018 debut EP VIII, currently in seriously high rotation on the Triple J Hitlist, Wafia’s dreamy, complex sound and serious, often heartbreaking lyrics come together to create a thought-provoking, undeniably beautiful result we just can’t get enough of.
BNKR: You originally chose to study biomedicine at university. How did you come into music? Was it something you always had on the backburner?
Wafia: Well I knew that studying music wasn’t an option for me. I knew that to learn it and the industry, I just had to jump in and do it. I had always sung, but during university I started actually writing songs and putting them on the internet and Tumblr. Everything just grew from there.
Being born in the Netherlands, with a Syrian mother and Iraqi father - do you feel culture has influenced your sound at all?
Of course. I think being in Europe for my formative years gave me a love for pop music. I feel like I missed the whole rock/grunge phase. And being Arab comes with its own set of influences like the melodies I might choose. I’m still trying to tap into that a little more though.
Your recent release ‘Bodies’ was the first time you’ve taken your song writing to a more political, deeply personal place. Can you explain a little your motivation behind this?
Well it’s just a topic that my family had been dealing with internally for years and the more we lived with it, the longer it began eating away at me. The only thing I could do was write a song about it.
Aside from ‘Bodies’, where do you usually draw inspiration from when song writing?
My family a lot. Love lost, love gained. It really varied depending on the day each song was written.
You collaborated with musician/producer Ta-ku on (m)edian in 2016, among various other projects. What’s the connection there?
We had a chance meeting in Melbourne back in 2014 and he’s been my brother ever since. Collaborating with him is easy. At this point there is never any pressure. It’s just fun and always with purpose.
If you could collaborate with any musician (past or present) who would it be? And why?
Lauryn Hill. Mostly just to talk to her, see how she’s doing, how life’s treating her etc. I feel like she’d have a lot of things to say that I could learn from.
Apparently Kylie Jenner has featured your tune ‘Heartburn’ in her insta-stories multiples times. How do you feel about that?
A mutual friend put her onto my stuff and she liked it enough to be listening to it while she was snapchatting. It was really nice at the time.
We’ve been loving your 2018 EP release VIII. Can we expect a feature album on the cards?
Right now I’m just writing. What form that takes, I can’t say right now.
Words: Stephanie Dugan