Koffee: Jamaica’s newest music sensation

by Kinisha Correia

In the past couple of months, new Jamaican reggae star, Koffee, has taken international media by storm. Since February, she has been featured in Billboard, Vibe, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Fader, and British GQ, to name a few.

The 19-year-old’s positive lyrics, and undeniable, hardcore talent in “riding a riddim”, as they say in Jamaica, stops listeners in their tracks.

Koffee’s biggest hit, “Toast”, bowled over the Jamaican people when it hit airwaves late last year, and has since stretched its influence overseas, with people all over the world falling in love with it.

Translated, a verse of “Toast”, reads pure positivity, stating, “Blessings we reap on our course, in a handful. We don’t rise and boast. We give thanks, like we need it the most. We have to give thanks, like we’re really supposed to be thankful.”

The artist’s flow peaks in the song’s chorus, where she bellows (again translated), “Blessings on my life. I thank God for the journey. The earnings are just a plus. Gratitude is a must. I see blessings fall by my right hand. Toast to the friends that take off the heavy load…”

In her interview with The Atlantic, Koffee notes that she aims to inspire Jamaica’s youth through a new brand of hopeful, upbeat music. “I try to modernize positivity very distinctly,” she said.

Koffee moves in close circles with other, more established, but also fairly young, conscious reggae artists – namely, Protoje and Chronixx. She has even been referred to as the newest installation to the Reggae Revival movement – an upsurge of young, politically astute, life-affirming artists, headed by the likes of both Protoje and Chronixx. The revival has reoriented Jamaica’s arguably more aggressive music scene some years ago, to it’s more spiritual traditional reggae roots.

Born Mikayla Simpson, Koffee grew up in the Spanish Town community of Eltham View. She was raised by her Seventh-Day Adventist mother who worked both as an actress and at the Ministry of Health, where she focused on youth sex education and body positivity.  

It was while attending Ardenne High School in Kingston that Koffee got a first real taste of her musical talent. Only two years ago, she accidentally stumbled into competing at her first high school talent show and blew away the large crowd. It was then that she decided to take a music career seriously.

Koffee describes herself as a singer, deejay and rapper. Her introduction to music was in the church, where sang as a child. She taught herself to play the guitar at only 12 years old – also something she seemingly haphazardly stumbled into.

However, as they say, there are no coincidences. With her undeniable high caliber of raw talent, and shrewd lyrical intellect, Koffee is clearly right where she should be. Fans all over the world are indeed giving thanks for the sheer power of her youthful optimism and thoughtfully profound messaging, wrapped in a package of uplifting melodies.

Koffee is the youngest artist to head the Billboard “Top 100” chart. Her first EP “Rapture” debuted at Number 1 on Billboard’s Reggae Album Chart. She will be performing at Kaya Fest in Miami on April 20, and on Buju Banton’s upcoming I Am Legend show in Trinidad on April 21.

 

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