On: Refi Sings

On: Refi Sings

Youth Day is a time to reflect on the sacrifices of the class of 1976. It’s also a time to look to the future of music, which includes dancehall-soul artist, Refi Sings, writes Helen Herimbi

Refi Sings pauses her train of thought, looks up at the stage, and says: “I love this song!” Kwesta is blazing a rather cold Durban Youth Hip Hop Festival crowd with his gold-selling single, Ngud. Later, Refi Sings will get on the same stage as a part of the My Connect talent competition and TV show component of the festival.

This 22 year-old singer and songwriter is one of the most refreshing young artists on the scene at the moment.

With box braids (and sometimes faux locs) in various shades of green tied up and cascading down her back, she represents dancehall and reggae in her style and her sound.

This is clear when she features on Priddy Ugly’s You Don’t Know Me Yet and Nobody (remix) songs. She also flexes her pop/soul music muscle on Chad da Don’s The Child that Survived, to the extent that a fan asked the rapper if he’d managed to get a feature from Rihanna. She also recently left her comfort zone and went into the studio with Zakes Bantwini for a project that’s under wraps.

Although the KZN-based artist gigs way more than she releases music, last year, Refi Sings put the What’s Real (freestyle) on Soundcloud. Here she raps eloquently, even though she stresses: “I’m not a rapper, I’m a songwriter. This is just me peacocking my writing ability. I’m a vocalist, that’s why my name is ‘Refi Sings’. I sing – among other things.”

Refi Sings, whose father is the Grammy-winning Lebo M, was born in Durban, raised between there and Los Angeles and has a thick American accent. Her upcoming single, 7evenDAYS, will be released on July 7. This is also the title of a seven-track project that will be released later this year.

“So 7evenDAYS is a song me and my producer, Wichi1080, put together. It’s basically my love song to love,” she smiles.

“The plan this year is to drop music that resonates with women. All seven songs on the project are going to be touching on those awkward moments that we as young women have.

“For example, there’s a song called Bando Bussie, which really means ‘bend it over and bust it’. It’s about that awkward moment that every young woman has faced when you either feel pressured to have sex, or you feel like ‘if I don’t give it up, maybe he’s not going to like me as much’ or ‘am I being lame if I don’t?’”

Refi Sings isn’t afraid to be vulnerable as evinced in her song, Better. On it, she sings: I’m hard on myself/More than anybody else/But I’m gonna get better over Tupac’s Thug Mansion instrumental.

“I was 19,” she explains. “Literally, in my mom’s closet. It’s blasphemy, but I only heard Tupac’s acoustic rendition of Thug Mansion when I was 19. And again, it’s blasphemous, but I’m not really a Tupac fan. I’m a Biggie fan more than anything. As a young, black woman, I have a lot of anger and pain already. Tupac was too angry for me. I’ll listen to California Love,” she smiles.

“But, yeah,” she continues, “Thug Mansion, for some reason the instrumental would not leave me for weeks after I’d first heard it! Between the ages of 18 and 21 is when you start figuring things out about yourself and when you start to discover the person you are and then have to make a decision to either deal with the person you are or change.

“I found out a lot about myself that I thought I didn’t like. Then I realised I was just being too hard on myself. It was therapeutic more than anything.”

With Youth Day coming up this week, I ask the self-proclaimed Bona Fide Queen Shotta about the significance of the day.

She says: “Both my parents were a part of the original cast of Sarafina, so from a young age all of these national holidays were drilled into my subconscious.

“June 16 illustrates the power of young people. Kanye West said it best: ‘listen to the kids’.


You may also like this

Leave us a comment