Ever since I met Rafiya, at age twelve, I knew she would become a star. I remember hearing her sing in gym class one day and being in awe. I’d never heard anyone sing so effortlessly and so beautifully, live!
So, I proceeded to drag her around class and have her sing in front of other classmates, just to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. Based on their facial expressions, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one who thought Rafiya’s voice was amazing.
Cut to 18 years later, thousands of Facebook fans, singing collaborations with world-renown artists, performances around the globe, an awesome album debut in 2010, I must say, I could not have been more accurate. Here are a few questions I asked her recently in an attempt to uncover the “real” person behind Rafiya’s image (which was tough because she tends to be more of a private person). A heart of gold and talent galore, Rafiya is definitely an artist you want to know! Read on…
S: Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions. I am just going to throw some out there. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
R: No problem at all. Ask away! To answer your question, I’d have to say that what gets me up each morning is the desire to fulfill my purpose and getting closer to achieving my goals.
S: I like it. I love your earrings by the way. Can I have them? Just kidding (not really). Which brings me to my next question: How would you describe your style?
R: Good question! I don’t think I have a particular style. It definitely depends on my mood and the occasion. Some days I feel very feminine and want to rock a skirt with high heels and other days you might catch me dressing more casual, wearing my favorite pair of jeans. One thing I do love is incorporating African textile and accessories in my wardrobe. Oh, and the answer is no, you can’t have these! (Laughs)…They’re actually made by my exceptional back up singer and friend, Kiki Hall. Her company is called Diva Ears. Look her up!.
S: Well then…Anyway, I feel like you’ve never really been the type of person to get frazzled with the small stuff. How do you handle pressure in general?
R: I do get frazzled but my faith plays a huge role in keeping me composed and at peace. I know that God is in control no matter what.
S: It takes a lot of discipline to keep that mindset. So how disciplined are you when it comes to say, your diet and exercise routine? (Laughs)
R: Very funny! Actually, I am doing quite well. Currently, I do 30 minutes of Zumba 3 times a week and only eat cookies or chocolate on the weekend. The latter is reeeaaaally hard.
S: Humm…I bet. So, what really gets under your skin? What’s your biggest pet peeve?
R: I have quite a few! People who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom, people who spit in the street, people who can’t speak without cursing or burp in public without saying ‘excuse me’…
S: Ok, we get the picture! Actually your list isn’t that bad. Mine is a page long, at least! Anyway, what would you say is your life’s motto?
R: Philippeans 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.” This verse really gives me the strength and the power to keep going, to get up when I fall. It gives me confidence when I face challenges.
S: Sweet or salty. What’s your fave?
R: Definitely sweet snacks! I love milk chocolate and cookies.
S: What do you do for fun?
R: I love going to live music venues, relaxing at a café, and having game nights with family and friends.
S: I remember you used to say you wanted to be a “singer, dancer and beautician” when we were growing up. Some of that actually panned out! My dream of becoming a veterinarian? Not so much. So now looking ahead, name one of the major things you would like to accomplish in your lifetime.
R: Well, one of the things I want to accomplish is building a literacy school in the Congo. I am really passionate about education. As you know I have been teaching for over 7 years. Imparting knowledge and contributing to the enlightenment and the development of an individual is so rewarding, especially when you’re able to see the changes and improvements. I truly believe that education is the key to development of not only of the individual but also of a whole society. I really want to give back to my country through education.
S: That’s very commendable! I know you’ll do it. So my next question is: what’s your biggest regret? And don’t tell me you don’t have any. We all do!
R: I really can’t think of any regrets I’ve had. There are certainly better decisions I could have made in the past but I don’t “regret” any per se. I think these decisions shaped who I am today and I see them more as learning experiences.
S: Who are the people you turn to, who keep you strong when something’s gone wrong?
R: Growing up, my parents always emphasized the importance of family. I must say that I was blessed with an incredibly loving, caring and close-knit family. They are my rock and my treasure.
S: Tell me about a moment you felt so happy you could not contain yourself…
R: I’d have to say, when my twin sister Emilie and I won the competition Afro Star. We used to form a group called ‘Geminic” and our dad had submitted our demo without us knowing. We were selected out of thousands! I received the notification in an email while I was in the computer lab at LaSalle University (in Philadelphia) and I just started crying hysterically. I had to tell a counselor who came to check on me that they were tears of joy.
S: To whom do you owe your success?
R: Everything I have and everything I’ve accomplished so far is by the grace of God. There is nothing I can do without His strength and is His blessing. He’s surrounded me with an incredibly supportive family, a loving and encouraging husband, and out of this world friends and fans who motivate me and give me wings to surpass myself.
S: So, what’s next for Rafiya?
R: I am working on my sophomore album, which is due for release in May 2014. It will feature very exciting collaborations and upbeat feel-good songs. You will definitely see an evolution and growth from my 1st album Amazing (2010). I can’t wait for everyone to hear it! Look out for the 1st single in a few months!
TOP 7 THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT RAFIYA
(And bravo if you did!)
I love the show Nashville
- I took ballet and jazz classes when I was 8
- I sucked my thumb until I was 7
- I have an identical twin sister
- I hated chemistry and physics in High School. I STILL don’t get it
- I hate shopping
- The first time I shaved my legs was on my 26th birthday and I didn’t even need to