With a melodic mix of reggae, soul and dancehall roots, Queen Ifrica channels her inner Marcia Griffiths on cuts like Far Away and Lioness On The Rise but brings it hard and harsh on tracks like Streets Are Bloody, Coconut Shell and the pleasant title track for a balanced and ear-pleasing experience. TALLAWAH caught up with the busy woman to hear about staying true to her craft, the biggest lessons she’s learned in the fickle music industry and why she supports Etana.
BY TYRONE S REID
TALLAWAH: Your eagerly-awaited sophomore album,
Queen Ifrica: The album is just an extension of my thoughts. I have a cause where my music is concerned and that’s what I bring with this album. It’s dealing with serious topical issues that people are experiencing right now, but we are having fun while doing it.
TALLAWAH: Listening to a couple of the tracks, I realize that you have taken a more soulful and sensitive direction with this album.
Queen Ifrica: I believe there is always room for improvement and you shouldn’t stay in one place with your music. But sometimes when writing my songs, I try to get a vibe from the rhythm and that helps me in creating the lyrics. I always like to do my love songs in a special way, and on this album there are some sensual songs that I know people will love.
TALLAWAH: What else do you hope listeners take away after hearing the 13 cuts on
Queen Ifrica: I hope I have touched on topics that people can relate to. Songs like
TALLAWAH: I admire your dedication to your message and your craft. What does music do for you?
Queen Ifrica: It gives me meaning and makes me feel like I belong. So with my music I try to give of myself and keep it real and I think that is why people gravitate towards me.
TALLAWAH: Artistes always have interesting on-the-job stories to tell. What has been the most eye-opening thing about the music industry in your experience?
Queen Ifrica: One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is that there are a lot of people in the industry who will go out of their way to sabotage your career. The industry is very disunited but I try to stay on the straight and narrow. What we do is avoid negativity and focus on the positive. But I have to give thanks that the negativity is part of the minority. You have to give thanks for the blessings.
TALLAWAH: On the positive side, what has been the most startling feedback you’ve received from fans and well-wishers?
Queen Ifrica: It’s overwhelming. I’ll be at a radio station overseas and when I come outside there will be people of all different ages with gifts and portraits waiting to talk to you. I love the comments I get, especially at the airport. It makes me feel good about what I do.
TALLAWAH: What are you most proud of about what you’ve accomplished so far in your career?
Queen Ifrica: I am happy that I was willing to learn and understand the biz instead of getting frustrated, discouraged and giving up. I am proud that I am on of those who hold on despite the struggles because at the end of the day, it is worth it and I have to give thanks.
TALLAWAH: Recently, reggae-soul singer and fellow Rastafarian empress Etana got baptized in a Christian church as part of her ongoing personal transformation. As expected, her decision sparked controversy. What are your thoughts on the whole thing?
Queen Ifrica: It’s kind of sad that something like this should become news and controversy. We need to look at stuff like this for the good in it instead of looking at the divisions between Christianity and Rastafarianism. For Etana, the decision was about self-development. So when I see something like this I can only encourage her. She is trying to find out who she is.
TALLAWAH: What makes you angry?
Queen Ifrica: I don’t like when people deliberately fight against people who are succeeding. That makes me angry.
TALLAWAH: What always makes you smile?
Queen Ifrica: I love the fact that I can be friends with other artistes like Ce’Cile and Lady Saw and we can all live in the music industry and be happy and successful.