The sultry voice of Habaka Kfj has made her a fan favorite entertainer on stages in Las Vegas and across Europe. And now she has brought her sultry stylings to international radio with her Habaka's Beehive: Music, Sweet As Tupelo Honey.
The radio show has become this writer's favorite mix of music offerings to listen to as the singer plays music from artists around the world. Habaka describes the show as "Jazzy, Brazzy, Bluesy Soulful Sounds, honeylicious music, just for you".
If you are a fan of Jazz and Blues music, then you will delight in listening to Habaka, tuning into her radio show, and seeing her live performances.
A product of a rich musical history with a mother and father who were standout musicians in their own right, Habaka's voice is reminiscent of such music legends as Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, and Nina Simone, and she uses those influences along with R&B, Funk and Soul fusions for some very easy listening remake covers and originals.
I caught up with Habaka at her bee hive in Las Vegas to talk about her career and what's next for the singer.
Q&A with Habaka
Thanks for taking the time to allow our readers to learn a little more about your artistry and career Habaka.
Q) Now I know in many cultures, names are very important besides the obvious reasons, and I have always been curious about your name, Habaka Kfj. I assume it is your stage name, but does it have a special meaning for you and how did you get it?
HKfj) You are absolutely correct, Habaka Kfj is my stage name. There was a brief period where I had fallen into a deep depression and while in that dark place, I stumbled upon the bible verse Habakkuk 3:19. This verse spoke volumes to me at that very moment and I was able to see a glimpse of light. I then, wrote that verse down on about 50 sticky notes so I could read it no matter where I was in my home. By doing so, I was able to come out of that dark place victorious. After that experience, I decided that I never wanted to forget how I came out of that dark place and so I (added) on the name Habaka to Kfj (Kay Foster Jackson).
Later, after doing even more research on the name, I discovered that not only was Habakkuk a Prophet, but he was also the Chief Director of Music. Why is that so significant to me; well, because I too directed a choir for ten years. The name Habaka means = to embrace, to encourage. I exude both of those attributes.
Q) Many people know your artistry as a Jazz & Blues singer, but from our recent chat, singing came much later for you in your career. At one point did you decide to sing professionally, and why do you feel it came to you later on?
HKfj) I’m also known as a Gospel singer too, and when I was younger; I was so very shy that I didn’t feel like I could ever be a lead singer. All throughout my school years I sang in the school choir and I really liked singing with a group of people. My actual first experience of singing as a lead singer, came when I entered the Black Ebony Beauty Pageant in Hartford, CT and I chose to sing as my talent. My mother was so annoyed with me, because I studied dancing, and I was very good at it, if I must say so myself. LOL Unknowingly to my Mom that I even sang, and she told me that I was not a vocalist, but a dancer. None the less, I decided to give it a go anyway, and I won the Beauty Pageant. I was so afraid that I even got sick while waiting for the announcement to be made. At that point I decided that singing was not for me as a lead singer, and I joined a couple of groups and sang background.
Q) What did you do early on in your career before singing?
HKfj) I worked as a Assistant Manager of an Apartment Complex and then to becoming a front office Manager for the Marriott Marque
Q) Of course, music runs in your family. Please tell our readers about who your dad was and his amazing music journey professionally.
HKfj) Sure, my father Melvin Jackson started out playing the trumpet with Johnnie Taylor, then on to bandleader and still playing the trumpet with Bobby Blue Bland, and then he went on to be with the Legendary B.B. King, where he played the saxophone and MC to bring B.B. King to the stage.
Q) Was your mother also a musician, and who were some of your influences musically as a kid coming up?
HKfj) My mother was a jazz vocalist and a dancer. I was influenced by an array of musical artist such as Chaka Khan, Isaac Hayes, from Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, Sade, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Bootsy Collins, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Barry White, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone. Lord my list is way too broad to name them all here. Lol But there’s a few.
Q) Who are some of the singers you like out there now?
HKfj) Wow, that’s not an easy question. Carmen Lundy, Cassandra Wilson, Jill Scott, Lala Hathaway, Ledesi, Erykah Badu, Mina, Gregory Porter, Esperanza Spalding · Robert Glasper, and the Classic Jazz artists like Nicole Henry, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Diane Reeves, Rachelle Ferrell, and so many more…….
Q) I know that your career has taken you internationally to places that most of us dream about. And we met for the first time in person in Las Vegas where you had your residency show. Since the pandemic hit, I know many artists had to reinvent themselves in ways to maintain their artistry and income. You have a very lively and awesome international radio show that you host. Please tell our readers the name of the show, and how did you come up with the title?
HKfj) I’m excited to say that I’m hosting my radio show Habaka’s Bee Hive, ‘Music Sweet As Tupelo Honey’ on Teerex Radio. I call anyone that follows me for my music my Honey Bees, and in order to stay in alignment with that Habaka’s Bee Hive was born.
Q) Where can our readers find your radio show and the times you broadcast?
HKfj) Habaka’s Bee Hive on www.teerexradioteerex.com Tuesdays 10PM EST/7PM PST and also on the following radio APPS: TUNEIN, RADIONOMY
Q) I understand you have a new single out. What’s the song, and where can our readers find it on social media, and find you?
HKfj) Yes! released on Expansion Records my new single is “Love Is Never Lost” made the Top 60 for new singles released in 2021 and climbed to #4 in Canada. My new Single is available wherever digital music is sold. (ITUNES, SPOTIFY, DEEZER, AMAZON, GOOGLE PLAY, TIDAL ETC…)
I can be followed on:
IG, FB, YouTube - @habakamusic
LinkTree: linktr.ee/habaka website: www.habakakfj.com
Q) What’s next for your artistry Habaka? Any new music coming soon, and what do you hope this year will bring for 2022?
HKfj) Well, I guess you can say I’m on a hiatus. Lol However, I am working on some new music. So stay tuned, a new single will be coming soon. I write a monthly article on vocal health tips in The Promoter Magazine.
I’m hoping that in 2022, we can all come together as a whole. I’ll be looking forward to the return on the stage and tour over seas. I’m also campaigning in 2022 for all of us to think about the importance of taking care of your health. If anyone is wondering how they can help their favorite artist, all you have to do is… purchase their merchandise.
Q) I never like to close out these kinds of interviews without asking: if you were asked to give the commencement speech for a music school graduating class, what would your words of encouragement be for those students?
HKfj) I’d say: Follow your dreams, believe in yourself, and never give up. Be sure to learn the music business, so you can make wise decisions to protect you. Trust and believe, you must put the work in to get what you want out of it. In order to make music a lifestyle, you must really love what you do. Lastly, Always be the unique rare diamond that you are, and let’s continue to spread the love through our music.
Thank you Habaka. We look forward to tuning into your radio show and looking forward to all of the great music still yet to come from you, I know it will be honeylicious.
Thank you Robert for allowing me the opportunity to share some insights on Habaka. And thank you so much, for your continued support.
Bonus Q&A with Habaka!
Q) I would be remiss to not ask you about your trademark signature "Cat" glasses Habaka. Were you just a fan of that style of glasses, or is that like your superhero mask or Michael Jackson sequin glove as part of your stage persona?
HKfj) LOL - I love how you ask if this style is my superhero mask or Michael Jackson sequin glove as part of my stage persona. In fact, I would have to say that over the years since I started wearing the "Cat" glasses, my eyewear have become a part of my on-stage and off-stage persona.
Q) And how did your own eyewear line of glasses come about for you?
HKfj) So Barbara of (Occhiali Di Barbara), my optometrist in Italy for many years, called me up to say that while flipping through a magazine, there was a photograph of Billie Holiday wearing a pair of "Cat" studded sunglasses, and I immediately came to her mind. She said that this was something that she felt could become a signature for me and that she also had the perfect pair of glasses for me to wear. Surprisingly, since I wore prescription eyewear anyway, it seemed to be a wonderful idea that started in 2013. Anyone that has followed my career, also knows that I'm also a lover of cheetah print anything and it made perfect sense to start this quirky side of Habaka. After the release in Europe of an EP entitled "Just Say I Love Him" I'm wearing the "Cat" eyewear on the CD Cover. They were an instant hit and my own personal Habka KFJ eyewear line was born.
Q) The glasses are not the only brand wear for you, I understand you also have a perfume you have developed. How did that come about? And how important a role do these brands play in giving you visibility as a singer in a world filled with some pretty awesome singers, don't you think?
HKfj) Yes, I do have a perfume called Heritage Blue-The Fragrance. I've been a natural girl for many years, and after owning my own natural store in Italy I am in love with aromatherapy. For over 20 years I've only worn natural fragrances. I met an incredible fragrance designer in Italy by the name of Eliana Bolzoni. I had purchased fragrances from her several times and it just came to my mind one evening over dinner, how different it would be to have a fragrance formulated by her from the vibrations of my voice along with the frequencies of the instruments, timbers, and colors of each song from the CD, and the Heritage Blue fragrance became a reality.
So if anyone is wondering how they can be a part of an independent artist's career, they can be of huge help by supporting their favorite artist by purchasing their merchandise, spreading the word through their social media pages, taking photos of themselves wearing their gear, sharing their favorite artist's content, and sharing their music. Just a suggestion. Lol, I'd like to also be clear that I'm eternally grateful to all of my Honey Bees that continue to support Habaka Music, and if you aren't a Honey Bee then it's time for you to feel the sting. Hugs
Check Out Habaka's Photo Gallery
- HABAKA - GALLERY
HABAKA photos. "Music Straight From The Heart", "Music Straight From The Heart", HABAKA
Tune-in to Habaka's Radio Show!
- Home - TEEREX RADIO TEEREX
The biting soul radio station // La station radio soul qui a du mordant
Follow your dreams, believe in yourself, and never give up. Be sure to learn the music business, so you can make wise decisions to protect you. Trust and believe, you must put the work in to get what you want out of it. In order to make music a lifestyle, you must really love what you do. Lastly, Always be the unique rare diamond that you are, and let’s continue to spread the love through our music."
— Habaka Kfj