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Music catches Afyah - Painter turns to music for artistic release

Published:Friday | November 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer

Whether painting a beautiful landscape, doing the choreography for a dance, or writing the lyrics for the next hit single, a career in the creative industry is emotionally driven and time-consuming.

For painter Afyah Prendergast, being able to create puts her in high spirits and has helped her to overcome many hurdles. Though she is known for tutoring small groups of persons at 'paint and sip' classes with the Artify Jamaica team, she plans to challenge the frames of music and join the throng as another one of Jamaica's admired and highly acclaimed singer-songwriters.

"Music really helps to bring out my emotions - even songs that aren't mine. It is definitely an artistic release, for me especially as I learn more and spend more time around people who are versed in the art of music," Afyah told The Gleaner.

She was initially attracted to acting as her father is actor Patrick Prendergast from the popular Lime Tree Lane. Being bit by the bug, the young Prendergast even appeared on a few episodes of Evening Time. However, this penchant for the arts developed into an interest in visual art, poetry, dance and music. "Despite being exposed to a creative background, I embarked on a traditional path which put a strain on my creative expression."

She acquired a degree in architecture and ventured into a related profession and she decided to seriously pursue her goal to become a recording artiste. The idea of songwriting and performing is more a means of self-expression for Afyah. "I am not in it for the competitive nature, which is the reason I have stayed away from platforms like Digicel Rising Stars. I believe there is a niche and space for every artiste - all it takes is the utilisation of various stages to gain recognition."

She describes her musical style and painting as "experimental, a mash-up between girlie and punk-rock culture", which will possibly be her selling point for her debut single Feel Alive, which is set to be released later this month.

The song embodies some of the painter-turned-singer's experiences of shedding the mould she was cast in to become the best version of herself. The rhythm that it is recorded on is a unique dancehall and electronic dance music (EDM) mix produced by local disc jockey DJ Blizzard.

With musical influences ranging from international recording artistes like Rihanna and Daft Punk, to top names on the Jamaican scene like Bob Marley, Shabba Ranks, Beres Hammond, Sean Paul, Baby Cham and Beenie Man, there's no predicting the direction she will take for her follow-up project.

"My only regret is failing to pursue this goal earlier. I like to be creative because it's just in me, but I don't usually think about what I could do as a career," she said. "I don't think I will ever stop painting, even if I teach less, because I am able to paint and make music as I transition into music."