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Live Review: Wafia delivers stunning VIII EP that blends the personal and political

24 January 2018 | 11:51 am | Molly McLaughlin

With her sophisticated new EP, XIII, Brisbane-based artist WAFIA has cemented her position at the forefront of the Australian electro-pop scene.

Following the critically-acclaimed release of her singles '83 Days', 'Bodies' and 'Only Love', Brisbane-based artist WAFIA has just dropped her full VIII EP and cemented her position at the forefront of the Australian electro-pop scene. Featuring new tracks 'Breathe', 'Interlude' and 'The Ending', the EP marks the evolution of Wafia's sound and shows off her formidable songwriting skills.

This Netherlands-born, Iraqi-Syrian artist effortlessly reflects on her many identities as a young, Muslim woman through her music, whether exploring an intimate relationship with delicate ballad 'Breathe' or emphasising our shared humanity on revolutionary anthem, 'Bodies'. Using metaphors and allusions, Wafia subtly reveals the emotions behind her words without specifically commenting on the political issues that swirl around her.

'The Ending' is another highlight, utilising her trademark vulnerability and her honey-smooth vocals to meditate on the constant balance of connection and isolation. The track even features back up vocals from Finneas O’Connell, while his younger sister, Billie Eilish, and their parents form a backup choir. XIII also builds on Wafia's previous collaboration with Future Classic label-mate Ta-Ku with the atmospheric 'Interlude'.

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"Writing this EP, I got really obsessed with the realisation that nothing I ever make will be tangible," says the artist. "Even my voice, the only instrument I use, is intangible but so are any feelings and emotions that I write about. VIII is an exploration of that, as well as necessity and transparency."

While still relatively early on in her career, Wafia has found a passionate audience for her work thanks to her dreamy voice and perceptive songwriting. Brimming with heartbreak and the possibility of redemption, the VIII EP is her most sophisticated release yet.

Image: Yaseea Moosa