Born on February 14, 2000 in Philadelphia, PA, pop and R&B singer Zakikyah Whitfield is the baby of her family who they affectionately call Za. She grew up listening to music and watching videos of artists such as Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige and Chris Brown. She has always had a natural ear for music and raw talent filled with soul.
As a toddler Zakkiyah remembers her mom singing Musiq Soulchild’s “Love” and her singing along. She was always quick to learn lyrics to songs after only hearing it once. “I realized I wanted to sing when my sister heard me singing Mary J. Blige “Can’t Be Without You.” I was only six so she asked who was singing,” says Zakkiyah. At the age of 9, Zakkiyah heard of Justin Bieber’s story from struggle to super stardom. His story propelled Zakkiyah to work harder and follow her dreams.
Zakkiyah began performing at school and talent shows. “I was nervous but when I got on stage my nerves went away. I felt like I was home,” says Zakkiyah. Following her first performance, her friends and family gave her a hug and encouraged her to keep up the good work. Although Zakkiyah’s peers applauded and seemed to love her first performance, she began being bullied at school for being Muslim and appearing different from the other girls. Her mother encouraged her to come out of her shell and share her voice with other girls who have experienced bullying.
The teen wishes to inspire girls with low self-esteem to feel confident and pretty. Zakkiyah will release her first single “Pretty Girl” on iTunes Summer 2014. Zakkiyah will perform at schools and anti-bullying events to continue to spread her message of low self-esteem amongst girls. She also plans to launch a foundation for girls and record a fun pinktastic video for “Pretty Girl.”
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