Meet Wafia, the Aussie Musician Who Kylie & Pharrell Love
If you don’t know of Wafia or haven’t heard any of her songs we are about to do you a favor.
As a member of the popular Future Classic collective, she is one of the most charming and thoughtful artists to come out of Australia in recent history (I’m not kidding). She has collaborations with artists such as Thrupence, Ta-Ku and Charles Murdoch that nourishes the soul and incidentally Kylie Jenner and Pharrell love her.
So we got a chance to sit down with and pick her brain as she prepared for her European Tour.
Your music is, for the most part, lyrics and melody. There is no noise, there are no unnecessary distractors. You have emotive qualities in your lyrics and the melody is perfectly tuned to induce those qualities. Because it seems like a recurring theme, why is that so important for you to do?
Thank you for picking up on that! I think as a person I am quite practical and I think that extends into the music I produce — I don’t see the point in overcrowding my music with things that don’t enhance or accelerate the message of it forward.
Do you consider yourself a feminist in any shape or form?
I think it’s quite hard not to be when you look at things like the wage gap between men and women, the rate of sexual & domestic assault towards women or trans-gender women, etc. I particularly recognize that women of color have their own set of hurdles to overcome that is specific to them or their race. I just don’t think things are as black & white as some people make it out to be.
Pharrell loves your work, Jaden Smith loves your work, Thrupence loves your work. What does it feel like to know that you are just that fucking dope?
It’s all very kind but I’ve learnt that sometimes it’s better to block out the noise and find satisfaction in your own work before relying on others to give it to you. It’s so easy to be swept up in the thrill of releasing music when love is always flowing in but I think it can be quite maddening and potentially addictive. I obviously appreciate that people like my work but it’s secondary to the therapy it provides me.
Could you give us a pie chart of the stuff you are mentally chewing over right now?
I got a bit carried away.
We thank you that for getting carried because this needs to be framed. In your EP XXIX, it was hard to miss that you were wrapped in copper on the EP cover. Why was that something you wanted to do versus the regular shmegular face on the front of a cover?
Well for most of my life I always told myself I’d never put myself on the cover of a record I make but with some thought and a lot of work on my self esteem, I came to accept that nothing was more personal than me right then in that moment. Especially because XXIX is all about the properties of copper that serve as a metaphor for my state of being & the self-acceptance I faced during the making of that record.
With that said what were some challenges that you encountered when trying to make music a priority rather than just something you do?
I found it really hard to be taken seriously by industry people and other musicians. Perhaps it’s because I’m a girl, perhaps it’s because I’m ethnic, perhaps it’s because I started out with a cover, perhaps it’s because I’m not one to talk about the projects I am working on. Regardless of what it was, I kept hearing people say I wasn’t cut out for this.
Well I bet they’re gonna be sorry now. How would you describe your personal style by the way?
Classic monochrome meets streetwear? I don’t know. My personal style is just as confused as I am.
Touching on Ta-Ku a bit what was the weirdest thing you found about him after working so much with him?
That he used to DJ at weddings around the same time that I used to sing at them.
That’s musical fate right there. Do you find that you gravitate towards complicated and maybe even difficult people or do you gravitate towards simpler people?
I think a bit of both. Much like ogres, people that have layers can be really interesting but easy going people are good for the mind too. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to be to get along with me. I’m most just a fan of genuine people. (Sorry for the Shrek reference -_- )
We thank you for the Shrek reference.
Photo Credit: Claire Wakeford