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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band World Soul




"Three African Women Singers You Should Know Right Now"

Three African Women Singers You Should Know Right Now - AfriPop

"Rafiya - Amazing"

Rafiya is living proof that singing with soul doesn't require overwrought vocals, barely-there attire and bombastic, auto-tuned tracks that seem to be created only to become a ringtone, not a long-lasting or meaningful hit. In fact, if the cover doesn't offer enough of a hint, she's practically the polar opposite.

Amazing is an eloquent, acoustic collection of Afro-Soul songs that she delivers in English, French and, from the sounds of it, the language of her parents homeland of Congo. Born in Los Angeles, but lacking the worldly American influence one might expect, Rafiya interpolates the differing dialects in her pert, pretty soprano and over sparce tracks featuring a strumming guitar, strings, an occasional piano or percussive instrument, and little else. Someone with less focus and training wouldn't have been able to bring the polish that Rafiya does to this set, but her studio and touring experience with French rap sensation Mokobe and Oscar Kidjo add to her unaffected delivery and poise.

The musical bag is an eclectic one, thanks to her musical influences and many travels to Benin, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Barbados, just to name a few. Even those who aren't proficient in those other tongues will find it hard to resist the allure of the breezy, beguiling "Je Me Cherche," the scolding "Mario," where she loves and loathes her two-timing boyfriend in the same breath, the "La Isla Bonita"-recalling "Silent Hearts" and the universal message behind the world-weary "One of Those Days," where she tells the world to back off and let her be: "I don't feel like getting in the shower. The light's too bright, I might as well close the shutters...."

She may sound a bit too naive and glib for some, too unconventional and ‘wholesome' for others, but genuine feeling can be deciphered in any language, which is what she's accomplished here. If you enjoy music from the likes of India.Arie, Les Nubians and Youssou Ndour, you'll get where she's going, marvel at her growing gift of song and want to be along for the ride of her artistic journey.

By Melody Charles

- Soultracks

"Jazz Not Jazz"

Born to Congolese parents who traveled extensively (her father was a diplomat), Philly resident Rafiya has lived in Senegal, the Cape Verde Islands, Barbados, the Ivory Coast and other equally fascinating places. Soaking up the sounds of each locale and drawing upon them for inspiration, Rafiya offers an Afro-soul feel to her artistry.

The delicate, acoustic title track Amazing is a bright, airy praise song with a dash of African lilt in the rhythm. In a world bursting with bad news, it’s good to breathe in an optimistic and positive outlook such as Rafiya provides in “Amazing.”

Incidentally, while Rafiya sings “Amazing” in English, she can also deliver a song in French. - The Urban Flux

"Rafiya Gives Us a Lesson in the Language of Music"

ny soul purist knows that Philadelphia is one of the many breeding grounds of some of the top soul artists, and newcomer Rafiya is no exception. Although not a native of Philly, the Los Angeles born and all around the world raised (her father was a diplomat and Rafiya lived in the Congo, Barbados and the Ivory Coast...just to name a few) gathered her musical chops at Temple University in Philadelphia. Though Rafiya has lived all over, her sound embodies that Philly soul spirit perfectly, and it shows in her debut track, "Amazing" which blends acoustic folk with modern R&B for a lush and poetic musical display. It is noted in her biography that "music is her language", and that leads me to believe that Rafiya wants teach us how a true talent lays it all out. And lay it out she does.

Rafiya's Amazing EP was released last year and is available for download from Rafiya's official site. Its a great collection of songs in English and French, that surely showcases Rafiya's vocal talents, penchant for grainy Spanish guitars and lush and warm soul arrangements. For a slice of something nice to get you in the groove of Rafiya, check out the streams of "Amazing" and the female response to Musiq Soulchild's amazing, "So Beautiful". And if you want to experience more of Rafiya's musical offerings, the download for the Amazing EP is here, and the best thing is that it's free! - Adventures of An Audio Diva

"Rafiya Releases an "Amazing" EP"

You may remember the Artist Spotlight I did awhile ago on Rafiya. She’s blessed us twice this week. First she has released her EP titled “Amazing”, which lives up to it’s name. The title track to the EP, “Amazing” is an acoustic tour of a love that is on the highest plain. The EP contains six tracks, but “So Beautiful” is my favorite. She has opted to released the EP for FREE for fans. You can stream or download it. The second blessing is she has also released a video for “Amazing” (also below). She is bring to the table a lot of talent, and music for a real Soul music fan. There isn’t a reason why you shouldn’t take a listen, and become a fan. This EP is definitely a quality production. Enjoy. - Soulified.com


"Amazing" (413 MGMT, 2010)

"Amazing" (2009)

"Where I'm From" (2012)



Rafiya was born in Los Angeles to Congolese parents: a diplomat father and a sociologist mother. Due to her father’s career, she traveled extensively during her formative years: living in Congo (Democratic Republic), the Cape Verde Islands, Benin, Senegal, Guinea, Barbados and Ivory Coast. She moved to Philadelphia in 2001 to attend Temple University where she double majored in Sociology and Spanish, and graduated in 2006 with honors.

While attending school full-time in the aforementioned nations, Rafiya found time to work with local artists, absorbing their techniques and wisdom all the while enriching her sound. She has worked with Oscar Kidjo, recorded in Youssou N’Dour’s studio and toured France and North Africa with French rap star, Mokobe.

Every passing collaboration, studio session and performance strengthened her ever-present belief that she would be spending her life making music; making people smile, dance and think.

Rafiya writes and sings about the human experience in French and English but regardless of your native tongue, her passion translates itself in the melody. Parlez-vous Rafiya?