Mikayla Simpson (born 16 February 2000), popularly known as Koffee, is a Jamaican singer, rapper/DJ, and guitarist from Spanish Town, Jamaica. She has released five singles. She’s also a former student of Ardenne High School.
Raised in the Eltham View neighborhood by her mother, an occasional actor and a Ministry of Health employee, she sang in her church choir, taught herself guitar at age 12 on an instrument borrowed from a friend, and began writing lyrics inspired by listening to reggae singer Protoje.
In 2016, she won her school talent show without realizing that the informal show at which she performed in her school cafeteria had been an audition. She went on to learn music theory and vocal technique in her high school choir.
“Koffee” is a nickname friends gave her when she ordered hot coffee instead of soda on a hot day.
In 2017 she released her first single, “Legend”, with just her voice and acoustic guitar. A tribute to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the song became a viral Instagram hit. Awareness of the violence and social problems she witnessed growing up has influenced her lyrics, and besides Protoje and Chronixx she has cited Super Cat and Giggs among her musical inspirations.
“Burning”, her take on Upsetta Records’ Ouji Riddim (which had been made popular by Jamaican artists Busy Signal and Luciano), followed. “Burning” grew out of her desire to inspire herself to push forward despite disappointment at not getting into post-secondary Sixth Form after she graduated from Ardenne High School. In June it spent three weeks at number one on The Foundation Radio Network’s Top 30 Reggae Chart covering New York City and South Florida.
In 2018, Jamaican reggae/dancehall singer, songwriter, and DJ Cocoa Tea brought her on stage at Rebel Salute. Protoje asked her to perform with him. Chronixx invited her to join him a BBC Radio 1Xtra broadcast from Tuff Gong Studios, and she went on to tour with him in the UK at venues such as Bush Hall and at Alexandra Palace. Koffee and Chronixx appeared on BBC Music Introducing…LIVE on November 10.
Her December 2018 single “Raggamuffin” called out gun violence and governmental neglect of the youth. BBC Radio 1Xtra named Koffee one of its “Hot for 2019” artists. Her next single, “Toast”, was produced by Walshy Fire of Major Lazer. Both Chronixx and Proteje appear in the video.
Also in 2018, she signed with Columbia Records UK, and Rapture, her debut EP on the label, is upcoming in 2019. Her “Throne” video, which takes viewers on a tour through her home town of Spanish Town, debuted on The Fader on 22 January 2019