ACE catches up with the multi-talented Rebekah Buffong to see what she’s been up to!
Rebekah, you’ve not featured on ACE before, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I haven’t no, about to change all that now though! Well, my name’s Rebekah Selena Buffong. I’m currently 20 years young, I’m CaribbAsian- half Montserratian and half Pakistani- and for those of you that are into your star signs, I’m a Virgo.
How did you initially get into music?
I’ve always been involved in music, from birth and it would appear even before birth. My parents tell me that they used to play me gospel music through cassette tapes while I was in my Mum’s belly and I used to apparently settle down when the music was on but as soon as it would stop I used to kick as if to say “Turn it back on I was listening to that!” I grew up in the church so as you can imagine music has always played a major role in my life.
You’re a woman of many talents including music, dancing, media, business and even voicing the opinions of young people, so what made you choose music as your focus?
It was a no-brainer really, music has always been my first love, I enjoy doing the other things, but I only do them to aid in my musical development and so that I can rely 100% on myself rather than other people.
You’ve had quite a musical journey over the past few years, how did you get to where you are now?
It’s been crazy! Okay well where do I start? I started off as a singer in the church, and then I decided that I didn’t want to limit myself to just singing in church so I became a singer/rapper/MC going by my middle name Selena. At this time I had also started a duo with my younger brother and we were called STAR. Eventually, I got to a point where I didn’t want to pursue a secular music career anymore and then re-branded myself as a gospel music artist called Righteous, but as the story goes I got pulled back into the secular music industry and decided to pick up where I left off with the brands of Selena and STAR. At this time I was studying a Level 3 Freelance Music Apprenticeship at Access To Music in Birmingham, whilst on this course I had a lot of big opportunities, including performing at an Island Records Showcase, performing at Latitude Festival and doing a Birmingham School Tour. Once I’d finished at ATM Birmingham I went on to study on a Level 4 Artist Development Program at The British Academy Of New Music in London. I am still studying on this course now and since being here we’ve had the opportunity to open the final night of The Schools Proms at The Royal Albert Hall and gaining a short performance review from Margherita Taylor. However, amongst all of this craziness I felt as though I was losing myself, so I have now decided to re-brand again. This time I will be using my first and last name Rebekah Buffong and the music, lyrics and image will be 100% ME!
Do you think you would be at the same stage as you are now without studying music related courses?
Definitely not! I already knew a lot for myself but being on various music related courses over the past couple of years has helped me to understand what I thought I knew and really give me a direction and a ridiculous amount of opportunities, but then you need to make sure you find the right establishment and course for you otherwise it could be more of a hindrance than a help.
What made you decide to stop using the name Selena?
I explained this a little bit before, but as I’m taking a new musical direction I feel like my name needs to be changed. Although Selena is my middle name, I always associated Selena with more of a diva mentality and I think my audience does too. However, me as Rebekah is much more humane, so I feel like a name change is necessary.
In 2012 you released your first single Baby Come Back (along with some great visuals), what was the inspiration behind that?
Baby Come Back was based on my last relationship, which was a painful experience for me. I tried to channel all of that pain and emotion into the song and video so that I didn’t have to feel that myself anymore. I tried to turn a negative situation into something that I was happy with. In terms of the video, a lot of people don’t realise this but the actual video was made to represent the future, past and then present. It actually starts where it ends and tells a story about how it got to that point. Project Baby Come Back is definitely my proudest piece of material to-date, which might shock a lot of people, but as it was the first project that I did myself and saw through to the end I am so proud of it and I feel it’s given me a very strong base to build on.
What are you doing at the moment? What are your plans for the rest of 2013?
I’m still studying on the AD4 at BANM. I plan to re-build myself throughout 2013; I want to create music that I am proud to show people because it has depth and meaning. I’ve been writing catchy pop songs for a while and although they’ve always got me the support and big opportunities I’m not happy with doing that anymore. I want to push a positive message, a positive image and a sound that hits the heart and educates the mind. So, throughout 2013 I will be working on a lot of new material and getting a lot of new visuals together. Watch this space!
Do you have any advice to give aspiring artists?
Yes! First and foremost, BE YOURSELF- it’s taken me too long to work this out, but better late than never! Do not change because you think that people won’t like or relate to who you are. Secondly, you’ve got to love doing what you do. If you don’t love it, with the amount of setbacks and hate you’re going to encounter along the way, you will just end up being miserable and probably hating everything about music. I would also advise aspiring artists to learn how to do things for yourself, so that you don’t have to rely on anyone else to do things for you and so that people can’t take you for a mug. There are a lot of people like that out there- believe me! Finally, I would advise aspiring artists to research and understand the beast that is the music industry- it’s not all that it’s made out to be- once you do this you may just find that it’s not the music industry that you want to be involved in, but rather, just making music.
Random Question: Favourite film?
Has to be My Name Is Khan. I love films that have a deep message behind them and that film definitely hits home hard! Plus it’s the reunion of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol since Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, what more do you want from a film?
I have no doubts that Rebekah is going to go far in this industry- this girl knows her stuff. If you need more convincing check out the video to her first single, Baby Come Back:
You can buy Baby Come Back off of iTunes here.