“Gratitude is a must”
Since launching her debut album in 2019, she's been described as one of the most exciting, forward-thinking, globally focused young talents out there. Born and raised just outside Kingston in Jamaica, now 20-year-old Mikayla Simpson — better known as Koffee — is a musician with a message: To be grateful and do what is right. She never opted for fame; she got into the industry by pure coincidence. A talent show in school that she accidentally auditioned for — and won. Success to Koffee (who by the way got her name after ordering a coffee on a boiling hot day when everyone else went for soda) is something way more sustainable and down to earth than money, followers and awards.
"I genuinely want to make the world a better place through my music," she says. "I am an honest and upright person. My perspective on life is worth listening to, and it is all there, in my lyrics. I want people to enjoy my music, but also feel fulfilled from it."
Even "Lockdown", a song that — as the title reveals — was written during some of the world's gloomiest days, is full of positivity and good vibes.
"I wrote it as a way to gather my thoughts around how I felt about being in lockdown. And for me, the quarantine has actually been rather fruitful. Staying in my comfort zone, instead of being on tour, has allowed me to spend time with my family and at the same time, stay productive and really focus on my music."
To Koffee, music has always been about delivering a message.
"Music is like conversation. When I feel sad, I turn to my favourite artists and listen to what they have to say. That's why it's important to have the right perspective and be ethical and upright when creating music. Because people are listening."
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
"My mom is definitely my biggest role model and source of inspiration. She has instilled all the right qualities in me and has always been acting out her teachings. I am a strong and trustworthy person, thanks to her."
CAN FASHION BE A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION?
"Absolutely. But in Jamaica, we sort of have a certain look, and it takes some time to break out of that. I feel like I'm on my way to start exploring fashion. I am intrigued by it, and I see a lot that I want to try out. As an artist, fashion can be an important form of expression."
YOU'RE THE MAIN LEAD IN THIS YEAR'S HOLIDAY CAMPAIGN. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE COLLABORATION?
"The new year's poem, for sure. I was instantly attracted to the lyrics. It's very simple, but in life it's usually the simple things that are the most real."
Farewell to endless days in sweats
The unmade bed, the unwashed hair
Hello encounters anywhere
Hello approaching strangers' pets
Release a flood of invitations
More guts and wider comfort zone
Life amplified through megaphone
Invite all new temptations
Instill the urgency to mend
The planet and what else is wrecked
Let things we wasted resurrect
Here’s to forever, not the end
Come out, let out the love within
Call in equality for all
Let the voice of justice call
Let’s love, let loose, let it begin
Explore, galore, ignite, have fun
Let out the free expression
Self-love, in repossession
Pick up your heart, let go and run
Bring on the night, bring everyone
Come rays of light across the sky
The year is fading, say goodbye
The future world has just begun
THE POEM IS ABOUT LEAVING 2020 BEHIND AND LOOKING TOWARDS A BRIGHTER TOMORROW. WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE FUTURE?
"I would love to see a world where we all look out for each other because I think the world needs that more than just individual success. I don't know if we're getting there any time soon, really. But I am hopeful in my heart that we will see a world that is more connected and empathetic."
Keep your eyes on our Instagram to experience our Holiday campaign featuring @originalkoffee.