Published on December 6th, 2014 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson0
Vocalist Safia Mafia premieres her debut single “The Mob”
It’s been said that nothing gold can stay. However the gleam can leave a lasting impression. Like radiant flashes of light piercing the dense haze of the mundane, it commands attention upon arrival and instills a longing as it fades. Singer/ songwriter Safia Mafia intends to both shine bright and stay gold with her luminous debut EP Pure. Produced by Bedrock, Pure is a vibrant symphony of pulsing 808s, soaring string arrangements, deeply emotive alternative pop vocals, wrapped in an intuitive lyrical savvy. A stunning collection of songs that rivals the output of artists like Sza and Lana Del Rey, Pure is indisputably the stuff contemporary pop dreams are made of.
“My debut is a bastard child of all the music I grew up loving. It’s a little bit of everything. You can definitely expect to hear vivid stories, honesty, a genuine emotion for what I do, and a genuine appreciation for authenticity.”
Safia takes a jaunt back to the mid 1980s on the lead single “The Mob.” Against a funky retro guitar riff, she croons effortlessly as she coyly likens her commitment in love to crime syndicate loyalty. “Contrary to the title, it’s not about anything dark,” she says. “It’s pretty upbeat. I’m just letting him know that I love him so much, that I’ll put it on the mob.”
Born and raised in Oakland, California, her upbringing afforded her the opportunity to cull from a broad spectrum of musical influences ranging from 3X Krazy, Mac Dre, Joao and Astrud Gilberto, The Flamingos, Marvin Gaye & Tammy Terrell, The Mamas and the Papas, Sade, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Queen, Genesis, Sting & The Police, Mazzy Star, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Aaliyah, Notorious B.I.G, Dipset, and Jay-Z to Native American acapella groups like Ulali and classical tunes she heard riding around in the car with her grandmother. However for Safia, which means “pure” in Arabic, it was the wail of rock legend Jimi Hendrix’s guitar on his 1969 version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” played to soothe an unruly crowd at Woodstock that awakened her artistry and instigated her own musical journey as a child.
Although her love for the Bay Area ran deep, Safia understood that change often pushes us to our brightest potential. After a few years of conceding to popular demand, Safia surrendered to her heart’s desire and made a bold move to Los Angeles. After a period of watershedding, Safia and producer Bedrock (Goapele, Zion I) have decided to seize the energy of their collaborative genius and introduce Safia to the world with her forthcoming 7-track EP. Recorded at Grammy winning producer and recording artist Raphael Saadiq’s Blakeslee Studio in North Hollywood and The Zoo in Oakland, the EP’s sound reflects the influence of her distinct Oakland flavor and the musical growth actualized in her move to Los Angeles.
In a marketplace rife with artists pandering to trends and disingenuous publicity stunts, it has become more of a challenge than ever to find a true gem in the mire. With a unique vocal and writing style, it’s apparent that Safia is on the verge of outshining her peers in the game. Her dedication to the craft of the song is without question unparalleled. All that’s left is to watch her show up and shine. “Any artist worth their weight in salt has to love the art of it first. I genuinely and deeply love music and can’t help but let that love out. Be it the writing style, the vocal style, the melodic arrangement, the bass, the synth chords, the strings – I’m finally able to see the music that I wanted to do come into fruition. I’m trying to be a far reaching as possible. I’m trying to create something larger than me.”