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NextGen Spotlight: Sharifa

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sharifa wears a warm hat and rests his head on his fist

Youth Music NextGen Fund artist Sharifa makes music that is in his words, "dark, thought-provoking and atmospheric". Raised in the East Midlands but now based in London, the young artist is already achieving great things - and he's just 19 years old.

Since making his debut in 2020 with the single 'Disrespect', Sharifa added to his repertoire with the EP '15 AND INSANE' the same year, before taking a break to work on more music.

Returning in 2022, Sharifa has since dropped five singles, melding hip-hop and alternative to formulate his individual sound. Most recently, he shared the introspective single 'BEDROOM LIGHT', supported by the Youth Music NextGen Fund. Released independently, the single received coverage in Clash, Wordplay and Atwood Magazine. 

It's not the first time that the young creative has received press support; Sharifa has already been interviewed by the likes of Noctis magazine and BONDED. He's also building a reputation on stage too. This year, he performed at The Great Escape and took part in a sold out showcase at KOKO.

We caught up with the artist on the rise to hear more about his recent release, creative process, and what's next.

Congratulations on your recent track ‘BEDROOM LIGHT’. Can you dive into the meaning behind the track and how it came to be?

I made [BEDROOM LIGHT] late last year. It was 2am and I found the beat and connected with it straight away. I was going through a difficult time emotionally and everything felt out of the norm. I wanted to make a track that expressed that feeling for people to connect with me.

It’s your third single release this year. How do you choose which tracks to put out into the world?

I've noticed it's always the ones I get really attached to. I make a lot of tracks but only a few of them will I properly build a relationship with. Like I'll be a ride or die for the track and love it to pieces. Those are the ones I like to release and share. 

What is your creative process like? What inspires you and what is your way of processing that into a song?

Normally, I'll write to something really simple, like a loop or one track as it gives me the most freedom. I'll listen to it and write down what it makes me feel and what part of my life I want to connect it with the most. I also make notes of the type of stuff that I see when I listen to it. From there I'll do some freestyling and melody takes and begin writing. I usually get inspired by everyday things and whatever's going through my head.

You took part in a music residency with HQI this year, through which you received mentoring. What was the residency experience like, and how did you come across the programme?

It was honestly life changing. I would be doing what I'm doing now and in the position I'm in without it. It's made my music and perspective on life a whole lot different and just overall better. I've done things I couldn't have ever expected and met people that I'll never forget or stop talking to because of it. 

What did you gain as a result of the experience?

Maturity and much better music [laughs].

You’re currently in talks with record labels and managers and have a music lawyer at Clintons. What does the next stage look like for you?

Just working on making the best version of myself and making the best music possible. And the people behind the scenes are loving it. Can't wait to share.

What has been the most important contributor to your artistic growth this year?

Working with HQI and having to come to terms with things I don't want to.

Lastly, you’re working towards an EP release – what can we expect from the project?

The best music you've ever heard.


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