RELEASES “DUMB FLEX” SINGLE
FEATURING ABRA CADABRA
One of the UK’s most exciting new female artists, Miss LaFamilia, has dropped her first Island single “Dumb Flex” featuring Tottenham rapper Abra Cadabra. The video which premiered on GRM Daily on Thursday features cameos from Headie One and AJ Tracey.
The rapper, singer from Birmingham delivers her single “Dumb Flex” with Abra Cadabra, a perfect introduction to what Miss LaFamilia stands for. She is about breaking the boundaries and keeping her fans on their toes as she raps her self-possessed bars over the urgent, industrial drill beat backed up by her harmonious R&B vocals as she sings her infectious hook. Miss LaFamilia says about the track: “The meaning of dumb flex is to flex as much as possible, like a stupid flex or crazy flex. Dumb flex is being lit in all your might!! Whether it be clothing, cars, jewellery or even just your aura, flex what you can 🤪. When making Dumb Flex I knew Abra Cadabra would fit perfect on the track with his natural deep voice complementing my sound on the song, I knew he had the energy and the vibes to complete the track!”
Although Miss LaFamilia had a tough time growing up in inner city Birmingham, she was surrounded by inspiring black women, on the Jamaican side of her family, who had powerful voices which helped her find her passion and ability to make music. Her family heritage, hailing from Jamaica, Spain, India and Malta, is extremely important to her, and is reflected not only in her stage name, but both on and off screen.
At 9 years old, Miss LaFamilia, realised she could sing but it wasn’t until much later in life, after taking part in the Zeze challenge phenomenon of 2019 and gaining over 100,000 views, that she knew she had something special.
It’s been a long time coming for Miss LaFamilia but with great support from the likes of BBC Radio 1Xtra and BBC Asian Network, now that she has arrived she’s determined to do it right. 2021 is going to be about owning and sharing what is real and authentic to her, in every aspect of her life, Miss LaFamilia says: “The music that I’ve put out so far is nothing compared to what they’re going to hear. I’m so excited to give people the real me.” In short, “2021 is all systems go.”
About Miss LaFamilia:
Meeting Miss LaFamilia for the first time virtually is not what you’d expect. The straight-talking, unapologetic singer and rapper who is usually glammed up and iced out to the nines greets me softly and kindly over Zoom with a frustratingly flawless bare face and an all-natural get up. It’s instantly clear that there are a multitude of different sides to Miss LaFamilia.
Even in her music, La Familia strives to be what you least expect: “If I’m rapping on drill beat, I’ll put melodies in the background to make it different. If I’m doing a R&B song, I’ll throw a rap verse in the middle of it, just throw people off.” The urgent, industrial production in some of her music ushers La Familia from self-possessed bars that rival her peers in the drill scene into an infectious, rhythmic hook also sung by her. She’s a one-stop shop for vibes provided. “I think people in the UK can be kind of scared to be themselves, everyone will kind of stay in their lane because it’s safer. And that’s not something I want to do.” Whether it’s a concern about streams or views or clout, Miss LaFamilia is determined not to get carried away with any of that: “I have to feel it myself.”
Raised in Winson Green, Birmingham, La Familia had a rough time as a teenager growing up in the inner city. “Growing up for me was quite hard… I was always getting myself into some sort of situation. Sometimes it wasn’t even my fault.” Though she was popular and charismatic, she would find herself clashing with other girls too and at the age of 16 those conflicts reached breaking point. “My mum had to move me out of the area and that’s when I started to tap into myself and, you know, focus on what matters.” Even as she recounts the stories now, La Familia is very grounded and thoughtful when she remembers that time in her life: “I wouldn’t change anything because this is why I’m so strong. Without Birmingham, I wouldn’t be who I am.”
It’s that same perspective and patience that carried her to where she is today. “Most important lesson I’ve learnt is patience. I’m a person that struggled with that over the years and you know, as I believe now, everything happens in God’s timing, and when the time is right. Sometimes you have to breath, wait. Everything that’s meant for you is gonna hit you, you know, anything that isn’t is not gonna happen.” Her own career is testament to that philosophy. When she was 15, she actually featured on a funky house record ‘Kiss Me’ and had the beginnings of a burgeoning career in the music industry. The song was doing well, she was getting booked for club appearances and she even started taking label meetings. Unfortunately, with the commercial success converging at the same time as she was struggling behaviourally, things didn’t end up going her way and for a while she quit music. Reflecting now, she says “I just thought to myself, I know I can sing, I know I can do this, but maybe it’s not the right time. So I just left it. Thinking one day, I will pick this up. So I started to move on, focus on myself, rebuild friendships and stuff like that. And then a good 10 years later, here I am.”
Between the name ‘Miss LaFamilia’ and her heritage hailing from Jamaica, India, Spain and Malta – each of her grandparents is from a different country – it’s obvious that the concept of family is at the core of everything she does. In fact, before her signing to Island Records, she had started a modelling agency under the same name. After dancing professionally in the States for five years, she felt ready to take a step back from the career, “I was just like I need to do something that’s for the women but without me being on the front line.” Using her contacts and experience, an agency felt like the most natural step, and so La Familia was born. She explains, “A lot of agencies at the time were run by men. And obviously, women probably feel more comfortable with someone that they feel like they can trust, hence the whole the family name. So I just wanted to be that person for everyone: someone trustworthy, make money together, be happy and just be safe.” The business went really well, took off and is still running to this day. Music, however, still held her heart: “Music keeps me sane, it keeps me focused.”
From an early age, her musical passions stemmed from her own familial surroundings. Immersed in a world of inspiring, talented Black women both on and off the screen, she’s been bolstered to be sure of her own abilities and secure within her place in the world. “On my dad’s side, I have like seven aunties who are all sisters and they’re all very powerful singers with amazing voices. And I grew up just listening and listening and listening. And then one day when I was like nine, I realised I can do this too.”
Her musical diet during adolescence consisted of equally empowering black, female vocalists: from Alicia Keys to Mariah Carey, Aaliyah to Whitney Houston. Which contributed heavily to singing as her first passion. Though it’s hard to believe, and despite being a total natural, La Familia is still continuously working on building up her confidence with rapping. “Do you know what, I literally only started rapping last year, I was like let me try a ting,” she laughs as she remembers her friends gassing up her take on the Zeze challenge in 2019 that kicked it all off. The video filmed in her living room now sits on over 100,000 views on Instagram.
Rap has however provided her a perfect outlet to tell her story in a very genuine way: “If I’m rapping it, I’m talking the truth.” What she wants people to take away from her music is “a sense of realness, it’s coming from a truthful place.” Coming from a mother, a businesswoman, an artist, but also someone who has been lost and hurt before, her lyrics allow her to weave the narrative of the things she’s lived through and provide lessons and inspiration for those who listen. And Miss LaFamilia is completely aware of the position that places her in, of someone who overcame. She wants to advocate for young women and the things they go through, be “someone that is standing up for female empowerment” she states decisively. It’s something she’s even been thinking about aesthetically: “there’s a pressure for women to always have a long weave and a full face of makeup and big lips and fillers and this and that, and what it does is it kind of makes you unrelatable. Because not all young girls growing up can afford to do that or even achieve that.” Going forward she wants to push herself to embrace herself naturally as often as she does when she’s in glam, to show people that you can be both, that they are equally valid and beautiful: “I want to give [young girls] something to look up to but also I want to be realistic.”
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