Link to our Facebook
Link to our Instagram
Link to our TikTok

Artists to Watch in 2016: Wafia

4 January 2016 | 1:37 pm | Tom Hutchins

Come the end of 2015, and Wafia has collaborated with Ta-Ku, signed to Future Classic and released an R&B/electronic infused EP.

I have fond memories of watching WAFIA open up the second day of the inaugural Paradise Music Festival in 2013. Surrounded by two other guitarists, she brought the early risers a set of blissful acoustic folk. Come the end of 2015, and Wafia (real name Wafia Al-Rikabi) has collaborated with Thrupence, Charles Murdoch and Ta-Ku, signed to Future Classic and released an R&B/Electronic infused EP.

The way I opened the article might make it seem like I'm some old guy that's going to go on about how I miss the old Wafia, and that perhaps this electronic output is a sellout move away from her roots. But really, fuck that sentiment. Wafia has worked tirelessly on honing her craft and developing her true sound over the last few years, and her debut EP, XXIX, is the direct evidence of that.

After working closely with Melbourne's Thrupence on the 2014 cover of Mario's 'Let Me Love You', it seemed that a jump away from plucking guitars was on the cards, and come 2015 Waf let loose with 'Heartburn', a deep and personal single with intricate production and powerful vocals. The fragile tones of her folk past clearly worked away and replaced with ethereal lines that float on the top line, leading the track from start to finish.

Plug into the latest music with our FREE weekly newsletter

With her background, history and story on show (including some scarily relevant scientific incorporations), XXIX offers an insight into a bright young mind, who has managed to harness all of her songwriting skills from her past and apply them to a soundscape that can often fall flat and lifeless. Wafia's music could easily be considered electronic, but with the level of complexities and subtleties - she is offering us something much deeper. An honest, raw and eclectic look into the world of Wafia.

As the EP release fell towards the end of the year, we haven't seen Waf hit the stages across the country. But considering that she killed her 2015 performances at MoMA and Boiler Room, has celebs like Kylie Jenner repping her EP, is working on a follow up release and is promising more live appearances, 2016 can only be massive for Wafia.

Words by Tom Hutchins