Wafia: “All I can do is be myself.”
November 10th 2017
- Wafia :: Interview with Grace and Al
Chatting with Grace & Al on Arvos, Wafia Al-Rikabi chats about balancing the political and the accessible when it comes to making music.
The 23 year old Netherlands born, Brisbane-based artist, known to fans by her first name, has been kicking goals ever since she released the single ‘Let Me Love You’ in 2014. Since then, her music has been played on Pharrell Williams’ and Jaden Smith’s Beats1 radio shows, featured in Zach Braff’s film ‘Wish I Was Here’, and she’s performed at MoMA PS1 in New York City.
Despite her growing fame, Wafia remains humble. “I spend a lot of my time at home, and my parents and my sisters are very quick to remind me that I’m nobody,” she jokes.
Family and home are important to the Brisbane artist. Her Syrian heritage is something she’s been conscious of while recording her upcoming EP, and her latest single, ‘Bodies’, is a comment on the Syrian refugee crisis. For the longest time, Wafia didn’t think that her background influenced her music. She now believes it has always impacted her sound, and has come to terms with addressing it in lyrics.
“Something that people notice about me is that I’m different, so it’s like, why not just talk about the elephant in the room?”
This honesty has had a positive effect on others who are made to feel different in Australia.
“That’s always really rewarding if people that identify similarly to me in terms of ethnicity…[are] like, ‘Oh, I feel like I went through a really similar thing.’”
But Wafia says she isn’t strictly a political artist. She sings love songs and values the power of a catchy hook.
“I put accessibility first always, because the thing when I was travelling, the unifying thing, was always pop music.”
Hear their chat in full above.