September 16, 2020

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

If you need a pick-me-up, Wafia’s Good Things EP is guaranteed to uplift your spirits. The singer-songwriter is a breath of fresh air in the music industry, giving a unique global perspective with an undeniable sense of purpose attached to her music. The queer, Iraqi-Syrian 27-year-old was born in Holland, raised in Australia, and currently lives in the city of Angels.

She states, “I grew up all over the place. I had a very nomadic upbringing, now I’ve settled in LA. I make music, and write about pain and love.”

Being a fairly new artist and clocking in over 300 million streams, Wafia proves she’s only getting started. Her breakout moment arrived in her collaboration with Louis The Child on “Better Not,” which has been certified Gold. Debuting her smooth, sultry vocals, she quickly released her own dance-pop ballads such as 2018’s “I’m Good” and last year’s “Flowers and Superpowers.”

With her new project, Wafia showcases her rawness and vulnerability, chronicling her perspective in going through a break-up. Her versatility breaks down genre boundaries, merging elements of disco, pop, R&B, and even country. Flaunt caught up with Wafia via Zoom to discuss her upbringing, creating her Good Things EP and her recent collab with fellow Netherlands-born, arab artist R3HAB.

What was your mindset in creating “Good Things”?

That song to me feels like a party, that’s what I wanted it to sound like. That song was originally called “Enemy.” Even in the act of changing that song title to “Good Things” is very much choosing to look at the better things in life than focusing on the negative.

How did your nomadic upbringing affect you and your career?

My dad will joke that it made me ready for touring life. [laughs] For me when we lived in Europe, my taste in music was very pop. That’s where I get that influence from. Growing up having Middle Eastern parents influences my sense of harmony and melody as well.

Who were you listening to growing up?

Everything: Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, but also Lauryn Hill. I had a rock phase listening to Paramore, then Taylor Swift. It was all over the place.

When did you realize you could so music for a living?

It wasn’t till my third year of university. I went to university for pre-med, thinking that’s what I was going to do. I had a great conversation with my father on the way to my last exam. He said, “I think you’ll regret if you don’t do music, this is the time in your life to try it.” Because I’d been playing guitar in my bedroom and he’d been overhearing it, he thought I was good. The fact that he believed in me and said “do it” was really the part where I realized this could be a career.

You just released your Good Things EP, how’s it feel to have this out?

I’m so happy it’s finally out, that hopefully people get to know me a little bit better. Through seeing which of my fans really resonate with songs, I’m actually learning all about them too.

 You made this before quarantine, what was the creative process behind the project?

It was very much driven by the fact I had a very messy breakup of a toxic relationship. It was tough for me but in that, I had to show myself a lot of love and compassion that I never extended to myself before. In searching for that, you deal with the losses of friends. It became this project about the love I extend to myself, but also I see so many of my friends extend to me too.

What was your mindset in creating “Good Things”?

That song to me feels like a party, that’s what I wanted it to sound like. That song was originally called “Enemy.” Even in the act of changing that song title to “Good Things” is very much choosing to look at the better things in life than focusing on the negative.

Talk about the video that’s directed and led by females.

I helped direct that. It was so fun to put something together that felt so girly, but also so strong. Taking this whole scrapbook idea I’d done in my lyric video for “Pick Me,” where I actually hired my own little sister to put that together. I knew I was very much influenced by her style, but I wanted to bring it into this fully-realised music video and enter this visual world. All the women were so incredible, getting together to make this and plan this music video felt like hanging out with my friends. That’s how I want every aspect of making music and the visuals to feel like.

What does it mean to get R3HAB on the remix?

It was sick. It was so cool because we’d been following each other on Twitter for awhile, but I’ve been too shy to say anything. When the opportunity came for him to remix something, it had to be him. As soon as I saw his name pop up… I’ve been a huge fan. I definitely remember hearing a remix of his on the radio, been obsessed with him ever since.

One thing you want fans to get from the project?

I’ve been practicing gratitude in the making of this record, finding space to have love for my ex and also my friends, even past friends. I hope anyone who listens to this has some acknowledgement for that and feels understood.

Photo Credit: Drew Escriva

Do you miss performing? How are you coping with quarantine and all that?

Of course, very much so. I’m doing my best. I want to be on tour, I want to be visiting my family. But instead I’m cooking and baking, trying to keep myself busy. Flying through books, flying through TV shows. Trying not to be so hard on myself.

What does it mean to be a queer in the industry, and being able to represent the community?

I love the space I’ve been accepted into, representation is so important. The fact I look and identify the way I do in this space, I definitely don’t take that lightly. It’s another part of who I am, in all these other parts that make me up.

3 things you need in the studio?

Snacks, a phone charger, and the Voice Memos app on my phone.

What do you do for self-care?

I work out. I go for walks. I read. I bake. I buy myself flowers, just tuning into my body and what it needs at that moment.

How would you describe your fashion style?

It’s led by comfortability. You never want to be uncomfortable, being comfortable always.

What can we expect from your forthcoming album?

Definitely narrative-driven, I feel like I need to tell the story fully flushed out. I’m excited to share it when it’s ready.


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