Welcome to another week of Music Makes Me. I hope that you are enjoying your summer and discovering some great new music. Last week I talked about the inspiration behind Sarah McLachlan’s song Angel. As you may recall we were north of the US. This week we are travelling south of the border to Jamaica in order to explore a little Reggae music. The artist we will be checking out is artist Mikayla Simpson, better known as Koffee to her fans.
I think when a lot of people think about Reggae, the name that first pops into mind is Bob Marley. On all of the rankings I checked, Bob Marley was always in the top spot. It’s a pretty incredible testament to the influence his music had for Reggae when you take into consideration that he died 40 years ago. I assume that Koffee knows who Bob Marley is even though she wasn’t born until almost 20 years after Marley’s untimely death.
Koffee like a lot of artists I’ve read about were inspired by a family member to perform music. In Koffee’s case, it was her mother. Koffee sang in her church choir and at the age of 12, taught herself to play a guitar that was borrowed from a friend. In high school she was involved in musical activities as well. But as a sign of the times, her rise to fame was something that would not have happened in Marley’s day.
Like a lot of artists today, social media is credited with Koffee’s popularity. She released a video on Instagram of her singing. Her first song was an acoustic number with her singing and playing the guitar. The song, “Legend”, was about Jamaican Olympian Usain Bolt. When Bolt released the video on his own Instagram account it went viral, and today Koffee has over 1.2 million Instagram followers. As with all artists, there is a story behind all of her music.
Koffee’s song “Burning” was written to inspire her to keep pushing forward through difficulties. And her next release, “Raggamuffin” is about her views on gun violence and the governmental neglect of Jamaican’s youth. You will have to check out her later releases to know the stories behind each of them. Having only 2 songs released the prior year, Koffee signed with Columbia Records in 2018 and released her first EP in 2019. Her fame spread outside of Jamaica and to the US the same year.
In January 2020, Koffee became the first woman and youngest artist to ever win a Grammy for the Best Reggae album. And in October of the same year, Elle magazine included Koffee in their article “10 Trailblazing Women Changing The Future You Need To Know“. She was supposed to go on tour with Harry Styles in 2020, but I assume that never happened with COVID. There isn’t much more to tell about Koffee, not because she hasn’t been successful, but because of her young age. But regardless it’s pretty amazing when you think about where her musical career has been when you consider that she is only 21. I look for much more to come from this young lady in the future. If you love Reggae or want to check it out for the first time, be sure to add some Koffee to your playlist.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s spotlight on Jamaican singer Koffee. Until next week, if you’re a music lover, you can hear, see or learn about new music every day on my Facebook group, Spotify playlist or YouTube playlist. And as always, feel free to reach out and let me know about your favorite new musical discovery.