Meet Koffee, the 19-year-old singer making waves with her reggae album

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In honor of Caribbean-American Heritage Month, In The Know wants to shine the spotlight on 19-year-old singer Koffee.

Koffee is making waves in the industry — not just as the youngest person and the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Reggae Album, but for popularizing Reggae music in the U.S. again.

Her single “Toast” was streamed over 50 million times in 2019.

Koffee, born Mikayla Simpson, was raised in Spanish Town, outside of Kingston, Jamaica. Gifted with a natural aptitude for music, she sang in the church choir, learned to play guitar and even won her school’s talent show.

It wasn’t until she uploaded the song “Legend” to YouTube, in honor of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, that people started to take notice. Bolt shared the video in 2017 and Koffee was catapulted into the reggae cannon with the likes of other contemporaries like Protoje and Chronixx. 

Koffee’s 2019 album “Rapture” is a fresh take on Jamaican dancehall and reggae. The blend of socially conscious messages and the help of legendary producers like Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire and IzyBeats makes “Rapture” an inspired, lively debut. 

As far as Koffee’s future goals, they’re as lofty and imaginative as her uplifting song lyrics. 

“I’d like to be inspiring the youth in Jamaica,” Koffee told i-D. “I’d really love to build my own school for kids who are creative. I’m trying to give back. Make a movement. I was struggling a bit academically — not failing, but not doing as well as I could be. And in that space I found myself filling that gap creatively, which became a success for me. I turned the failure into success. My talent formed me and found me.”

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