Photo by Jackie Nickerson
Passion is defined as a strong feeling or emotion, motivating people to keep learning and working towards mastery. It gives you common ground with others. It fosters social bonds between individuals that wouldn’t have been able to connect otherwise. It gives us purpose. For Koffee, the young artist born in Spanish Town, Jamaica and being raised in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, she learnt the importance of responsibility, goodness to oneself, and to others, from her formative years. Whether she was leading the church choir with her vocals or learning the guitar at an early age to support their band, the passion burnt a strong flame; it was fundamental to her. This background, along with her mother’s impact, helped shape her love for music and plot her long-term mission.
The legendary track star Usain Bolt is a global icon of hard work and perseverance. Jamaica’s “Patron Saint” has shown generations of underprivileged youth that discipline and passion can transform a terrible situation into one of contentment and peace. Koffee’s first single was a tribute to him, as “Legend” would go onto be a viral hit on social media. Awareness of the violence and social problems she witnessed growing up has impacted her message. With this huge exposure, talent from all over Jamaica were clamouring to work with her. Invited to festivals, BBC 1Xtra performances and live shows by the likes of Protoje and Chronixx, her image and sound increased in visibility in her home country.
However, She didn’t forget the assignment. “Raggamuffin”, a throwback tribute to the 80’s Reggae style, calls out the gun violence and governmental neglect on the younger generations. This passion for the betterment of her brethren’s standard of living was obvious to see at this point.
The statistics show that the crime rate in Jamaica increased by a cumulative percentage of 52.07% from 2014 to 2017, before declining by 22.23% in 2018. Of course, the data behind events can be a tricky subject to unpack, but the fact that Koffee’s emergence coincides with an upturn in fortunes for island’s socioeconomic climate may not be a complete coincidence. This infectious energy that she’s circulating is leading the new era for Jamaica's modern-day influence.
After being featured on BBC 1Xtra’s “Hot For 2019”, she would sign to Columbia Records UK. Her stardom would hit the heavens. “Rapture”, her debut five-track EP, is a masterful display of her talents. The title track and “Toast” were standout performances, with Koffee’s vibrancy and bright energy fully unleashed on to the global music stage. She captivated fans of all ages and genders; her mission for a more positive and productive Jamaica was underway.
Koffee was not only making the music that she loves, but setting the standard of excellency along the way. She made history by becoming the youngest artist to win “Best Reggae Album” at the 62nd Grammy Awards. This unprecedented achievement at her age shows just how limitless her potential really is, overcoming the competition alongside domain heavyweights Julian Marley, Sly And Robbie, Steel Pulse and Third World. Her shy demeanour gave thanks to the other nominees, those that came before her and those that influenced the purpose she lives by.
Being the first female to win the award also, it seems her timing is impeccable with the changing, progressive world we reside in. This was acknowledged by ELLE magazine, placing her on their “10 Trailblazing Women Changing The Future You Need To Know”. She was joined by the likes of Tobi Kyeremateng (Writer and Producer), Simi Lindgren (Tech Entrepreneur) and Magdalene Abraha (Columnist and Author). All innovative women that will help progress the sectors and industries they champion.
A whirlwind year ended with an abrupt hiatus. Without warning, her presence had disappeared, and her followers had no idea how to think or feel. Further compounded by one of the largest pandemics in human history, the global economy had halted, and the music industry relied on the internet. Artists were counting on streaming and royalty revenues to keep afloat. But evidently, Koffee spent this time curating ideas for a new project, which would later be titled “Gifted”.
Speaking on the release, she stated:
The album blends several genres, including Dancehall, Pop and Afro-beats, into a brilliant, individual project with that unique Koffee stamp. Displays of her individuality and contemporary artistry are at the forefront of the sound again.
Koffee represents a world that is becoming smaller and more fluid. She is a beacon of hope for the next generation to hang their hopes on and make the world a better place. She is the culmination of her mother’s wisdom and the divine influence of the Church. Her passion for her craft has already been felt in Jamaica and beyond. Her mission to preserve Jamaica’s roots and culture through her music, coupled with her heroism to the youth, has paved the road to becoming an icon in the making. The remnants of those that have passed the baton on to her can be felt through her own creativity and artistry. Her overall message is that of unity, prosperity, and positivity. She will last as long as Jamaica needs her.
Written by: @Arriv3r
Edited by: @WhosAria