With her honeyed voice and sporty-chic style, Safia Mafia isn't the first person you'd peg as a Metallica fan.
But over scrambled eggs at an old-school breakfast spot near Oakland's Lake Merritt, she geeks out over the fact that she recorded her new album, Love Kills, at 17 Hertz, the studio where the Bay Area rock stars laid down "Enter Sandman" and other famous tracks.
Scooping a forkful of avocado, she chatters excitedly about recording in the 17 Hertz's prestigious Studio A room. "You can feel the energy like, f-ck, Metallica was here, in the same space, making the Black Album in this very room," she says, beaming.
If Safia Mafia isn't on your radar yet, it's likely she will be soon. The Oakland-raised R&B singer and Berkeley High graduate has put a long, steady grind into her music career over for over 10 years, and it's starting to finally pay off. Her live show debuted this summer at the BET Experience music festival, where chart-toppers like SZA, Ella Mai and Teyana Taylor also performed—not bad for her first time singing in front of an audience.
Now working with manager Francois Wiley, who helped take the East Bay's Kamaiyah from local mixtape star to Interscope signee, Safia hopes her music will take her even further. Love Kills is out today via Rockit Music. The album's lead single, "Weed & Wine," features Guapdad 4000, the scamtastic Oakland rapper who's having a big year himself, including a collaboration with J. Cole at his Dreamville recording sessions in Atlanta.