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Daily Inspiration: Meet Safa Elzbir

Today we’d like to introduce you to Safa Elzbir.

Hi Safa, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
It was actually my older sister who got me interested in music, so shout out to her for changing the whole course of my life in the best way I could’ve imagined.

I’ve been singing and performing since I was in the third grade, but I never realized music was truly my passion until I started songwriting in middle school. I was writing to cope with a lot of familial, financial, and personal issues.

My parents are first-generation immigrants from Sudan and are extremely religious, so they never really supported my music hustle as much as I would hope. But I still kept at it and eventually, when I graduated high school and began attending NYU for pre-med, I realized it was time to stop wasting my energy on something I wasn’t truly passionate about. I knew that music was what I wanted to do full time and I knew that it was attainable while also pursuing a higher education like I had always wanted to. Moving to NYC sparked my creativity like I never would’ve imagined, and I applied to transfer into the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU.

I’m now currently a sophomore at the institute, studying all different kinds of things related to music, such as: the industry and the business, audio engineering, songwriting and performing. I’m eternally grateful for my complicated trajectory because it led me to exactly where I am today, and I don’t think I would want to be anywhere else.

At the same time, I’m also now balancing regular gigs and performances, writing and releasing music, and collaborating with people I never even dreamed of meeting.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road pursuing music, but if it wasn’t difficult, I’m not sure I would’ve ended up where I am now.

I moved back and forth throughout my childhood between Doha, Qatar and Northern Virginia very, very often. However moving frequently and dealing with mental health, love and friendship, and financial instability all led me to songwriting as a coping mechanism.

I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety throughout both my childhood and adult life because of my constantly changing environment. But I’ve been working really hard to persevere and use it to create something so beautiful… which is music that can help others who experience the same things. Mental health is really important to me, and I hope to raise awareness to it with everything that I do. I genuinely believe that my true purpose is to create and give people something they can feel and not just hear.

Also, due to my traditional upbringing, my pursuit of music isn’t supported by everyone closest me. However, I feel myself proving those people wrong more and more every day. I’m truly so excited to see what my future in music holds.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m an artist, but I’m also a storyteller and songwriter. I’ve been songwriting for seven years and performing for 13. When I was younger, I used to create BOOKS telling imaginative and intricate stories of people that honestly don’t even really exist… It’s no wonder I love songwriting so much! If you listen hard enough, you can really learn more about my life and my experiences through my lyrics.

I honestly don’t like genres because I feel like they can be a little constricting, but I’d say that my music tends to generally lean towards R&B and neo-soul. I do believe in versatility though, and I genuinely listen to and take inspiration from all genres of music.

I’m most proud of my recent debut release, ‘Video Game’. I’ve also been uploading covers and demos of my music on my SoundCloud for years, so if you want a glimpse into my older stuff, that’s the place to check it out!

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I feel that the most apparent and important quality attributed to my success is that I am an empath. I truly feel as though I can embody the emotions of others and to a certain extent, emulate them through my music. I want my music to make people feel as though what they’re experiencing isn’t a lonely experience, and that life goes on after the struggle. I want my music to make people feel as though they’re not crazy for acting or reacting naturally. I want my music to make people comfortable feeling and experiencing the uncomfortable. I want people to find community through my music.

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Image Credits

All photos by Sheldon Lewis

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