Whether an artiste lives in Kingston, New York or London, breaking into the competitive dancehall/reggae market is tough. A longtime resident of the British capital, Rafeelya knows one way to get that break is being on a hot 'riddim'.
The singer's latest song is The Early Warm which is done on a beat of the same name, produced by British label, ZigeDub Productions. It is one of eight songs on the Early Warm Vol 2 compilation album released last week.
“The biggest benefit to recording on riddims is people can watch your journey and you can test your versatility because the riddim can be anything; your style and how you want to deliver on a riddim is usually your choice,” said Rafeelya, who was born in Boston to a Jamaican father and American mother.
Winner of the Britain's Got Reggae talent show in 2017, she has lived in the United Kingdom for the past 16 years. The last five years has seen her record a number of singles including All in my Head, done with Shamir on ZigeDub Productions' You Should Have Known riddim.
Give Thanks For Life, Crazy and a cover of Brandy's Have You Ever are some of Rafeelya's other songs. She also recorded an EP, Life & Times, for Stingray Records.
While living in Boston, her admiration for dancehall acts like Beenie Man and Bounty Killer led to similar appreciation for roots-reggae. It is one of the reasons Rafeelya moved to the UK where that sound has a stronger presence.
The Early Warm beat also has songs like Jamelody's Moving it On, Tenna Star with Heaven, My Room by Jah Lil and Always There For You by Ray Darwin.
— Howard Campbell