“Likkle but Tallawah”, this is the description used by many Jamaicans to describe the talented, Mikayla “Koffee” Simpson who has not allowed her 5’0 height nor her modesty to stop her from devouring as much as she possibly can in the music industry. She describes herself as a “sing-jay guitarist”. She explained that she was raised in Spanish town single -handed by her mother following her father’s travel to the United States. “Mummy struggled so I didn’t have to,” said Koffee. Her mother was an occasion actress who also worked for the Ministry of Health and often gives sex education and body positivity talks to young people. She was given the name “Koffee” after ordering coffee on a very hot day whilst everybody else was ordering soda. Her musical life initially started after joining a church choir at the age of 12. She was later inspired by artist Protoje and began writing her lyrics starting with shorter ones.
Koffee’s followers started growing in 2016 after entering an audition for her school’s talent show – and won.
“They had a show in the cafeteria one day and people were going up to perform poems and songs. My friends encouraged me to go up and perform so I did and the place loved it. I had no idea it was an audition until my name got called over the intercom.”
Her followers grew even more after releasing “Burning” in 2017 – a version of Upsetta Records’ Ouji Riddim made popular by Jamaican legends Busy Signal and Luciano. The track features a hypnotic chorus and today remains one of Jamaicans favourite.
“Burning came from a disappointing experience,” remembers Koffee. “I applied for 6th Form but I didn’t get in and I felt really disappointed by that. So Burning was an inspiration to myself, to push myself forward to say, ‘You can’t let this out your flame’. Literally it was me parking a fire within myself to go forward and excel in something else, because education didn’t look like it was working out. I say ‘Me have a burning sound, me a burn the city down’; I meant, like, lighting a fire in Kingston, bringing that energy.”
Her talent has been recognized by many popular and talented musicians such as Coco Tea who brought her onstage at Rebel Salute; her mentor Protoje who has allowed her to perform with him on many occasions, Chronixx, one of the world’s most popular superstar who invited her to join him on Seani B and Mistajam’s recent 1Xtra shows broadcast from Big Yard. Today, the young artist continues producing hit songs which includes “Toast”, “Throne”, and “Raggamuffin”, one of her most popular songs, “Paradise”, “Pass By” and many more.