There’s a new caliber of pop sensations taking the world by a storm; and amongst them is Dutch/Iraqi, World-bred, Wafia. Currently residing in Australia, Wafia sings of the world she knows. A world that most only ever read about.
Wafia creates music that manages to tell multiple stories at once. Her latest single ‘Bodies’ was written on the day her Syrian based family found out their refugee visas were rejected by the Australian government. Wafia writes from what she knows, and because of that she’s bringing ears to a story that may never have listened before. When writing ‘Bodies’ she tried to tell the story of the crisis going on in Syria; but in a way that was relatable to people from all walks in life. Her plan for the music video followed that same route. While the video has underlying themes of being surveyed and the need to escape, it felt more like an art film than a political message. “The most important thing with the video was casting. We made sure that anybody could watch the video and feel represented. Especially those who aren’t usually portrayed in media. That was the key aspect in making it as uplifting as a song like that could be”. she explains to us.
While she may be giving a voice to the voiceless, she doesn’t feel as though it’s a weight on her shoulders. “I’m just doing me, when you do yourself it doesn’t feel like a burden”, she says. Every idea Wafia has had was conceived in her bedroom, and because of this, her work feels completely like a labour of love, regardless of the topics she sings about. “I’m not trying to be pigeonholed into being an artist who only talks about political world issues. I’m just talking about that stuff because it effects me. So I just don’t really think of it”.
“In existing, I’m a statement, and my music also happens to be a statement. Because I just happen to be this Bi Arab Muslim woman. But in that, I just don’t see myself as some sort of martyr for the cause”, Wafia continues. She stands for so much, and letting the world see into her world comes so easily to her because she’s passionate about her music. Having her words affect so many people, and bring them knowledge they may not already have, does excite her though.
Even though she doesn’t want to seem like a martyr, she does want to start a dialogue on these topics outside of her music. Accessibility is really important to her; “I could’ve written a really dark song about bodies. But the reality of that is, dark songs about similar topics like that already exist. It was like how can I make this more warm and inviting to someone that doesn’t want to know about this stuff, who doesn’t care and who’s disengaged”, she adds. “And that’s the thing, some people don’t want to know, and that’s fine too. The purpose of songs like ‘Bodies’ or whatever I release next, is meant to invite you in. I just generally want to make music that makes people dance or feel connected. I think that right now, if I can make someone from some random State feel more excepted and included by not being like attacked for not knowing something, then that to me is a win. I’m just all about accessibility and inclusivity”.
With an EP releasing in January, Wafia is ready for the world to hear more of her stories. Conceptually, the EP tells a story. The songs on the EP are all about intangibility and necessity. “Basically the whole EP revolves around oxygen as an element, and exploring the themes in that”, she says. “My first one was about copper, which was about transition and change. And I think I just wanted to delve into oxygen and how essential it is to us. It’s quite forgotten about. I wanted to talk about things that made me feel like I was being transparent”. This EP is her most personal one to date. Wafia tells us that she wants to be more open with her audience and let them see more into her as a person.