KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday January 28, 2020 – It was her first Grammy nomination. And at 19 years old, Koffee created history by becoming the first solo female and youngest reggae act to ever win a Grammy for Best Reggae Album.
The Jamaican teenager, Mikayla Simpson, won the award for her Reggae EP ‘Rapture’, which was released last year.
And now she is the toast of her home country, with Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange singing her praises, describing her as “an outstanding, gifted, talented daughter of the soil”.
“Koffee is an outstanding Ambassador of the Reggae music of Jamaica, despite her young age, and is thoroughly deserving of the Reggae Grammy for her well-produced album,” she said of the ‘Toast’ singer.
“Koffee’s achievement is inspiration for us all, especially emerging artistes and women artistes who continue to beat against the glass ceiling as they build lasting careers.”
Cocoa Tea, the man credited with giving Koffee her big break, told the Jamaica Observer that he had no doubt Koffee would have taken home the Grammy.
“From the moment she was nominated, I said to myself: ‘This girl is going to win it.’ I feel very elated and vindicated because two years ago when I just started to post her on my Instagram, I said that she would be one of the best artistes out of Jamaica; many people called me an idiot. However, you have to take criticism with a smile like how you take positive comments with a smile,” he told the newspaper.
In her acceptance speech at the 62nd annual Grammy award ceremony in California on Sunday, Koffee said: “I just want to say that this one is for all of us. This one is for reggae…This one is for Jamaica.”
She also expressed gratitude to her producers, as well as veteran reggae artistes, including Julian Marley, Steel Pulse, and Sly and Robbie who were also nominated for Best Reggae Album.
“I would first like to thank all the producers and everyone who helped to make Rapture what it is today. I would like to pay my respects to Julian Marley, Steel Pulse, Sly and Robbie, Morgan Heritage for all the input that they have made in the reggae industry. I’ve learnt a lot from them and from other older people in the industry and that’s why I’m here; that’s what brought us all here,” she said.
Koffee’s fanbase includes former US President Barack Obama who named ‘Toast’ as one of his favorite tracks of 2019, and his wife, Michelle, who has it on workout playlist.
She told Billboard on the Grammy red carpet before her win that hearing that was “super dope”.