Introducing Empress Naphtali

Empress Naphtali is a poet, scribe, lyricist, performer and recording artist based in Wellington, Western Cape.  The name Naphtali derives from the 12 Tribes of Israel – Naphtali, the tribe of Love. Her mission is to encourage, promote and spread the Love of Jah, self, each other and creation. Her music speaks to those who need healing, inspiration,  believes in love and are seeking peace because it comes from the depths of her soul. She has recently finished work on her debut album – From The Heart – and it will be launched at in an intimate atmosphere on the Terrace of Baran’s Theater Restaurant in Green Market Square, Cape Town. We caught up with her for a quick chat, while she was busy preparing for the launch and putting the final touches for the release of her album and she had this to say.

Who is Empress Naphtali?
Tracey-Leigh Ramplin (neè Kilowan) aka Empress Naphtali is a Roots Reggae singer, songwriter and musician. Born in Paarl, Western Cape, she was raised in Johannesburg and is currently residing in Wellington, Western Cape. Empress Naphtali stands for love and her foundation is firmly built upon her faith in the grace and power of the Most High. She continuously seeks to strengthen her bond with the Most High Creator. For everything that she writes about whether poetry or lyrics is inspired by the Most High. Her strength and humility is gracefully woven into her compassionate and positive nature. Only seeking to spread love, peace and light through her music. She believes in the healing power of Love, for where there is love, the Most High is there and with Him all is possible. Empress Naphtali is a poet, scribe, lyricist, performer and artist. When it comes to creativity she is overjoyed because creating is rooted in a sacred connection with our Creator. It is what she believes should be nurtured for healing and wisdom is within our souls. This being said she is deeply spiritual, she is filled with love and through her music wants to spread that message in a humble and kind way.

How did the name come about?
In choosing the name Empress Naphtali I devoted myself to being graceful, humble, strong, compassionate, faithful and as wise as an Empress. Naphtali derives from the 12 Tribes of Israel being born in January, I am a Naphtali, the tribe of Love. It is my mission to encourage, promote and spread the Love of Jah, self, each other, creation and the healing power of Love.

Empress Naphtali 1

How and when did your journey as a musician begin?
My journey as a musician began at a very early age. When I was in primary school I learned how to play the violin, I was always actively involved in the school choir at primary school and high school. My life would always be filled with music, when I was happy I would sing and in times of tribulation I would sing to try and comfort myself. Music is just a blessing tightly intertwined with my soul. In 2012 I was called to pursue a career in Reggae this all began with my very first single “Trying Times”. The turning point for me was when I started rising in Rastafari in 2011 during that period there was a lot of spiritual battles endured. I was seeking healing, hope and strength. Every poem which then turned into lyrics was a way of expressing how I was truly feeling inside. It dawned upon me how many people may be feeling this way and even worse. For every negative I found I learned how to put a positive spin on it. There is always light regardless of the darkness. Reggae is the genre I felt can best express this, provide the hope, where one can just be real and radiate love.

What type of music would you describe yourself doing and for who, who is your target audience
I would describe my music as roots and culture reggae, Conscious music. I feel it is music for everybody because we are all the Most High’s children. Whoever can identify with my music, who needs healing, inspiration, who finds it positive, who believes in love and are seeking peace. I am reaching out to those who are willing to hear and those who feel the music and lyrics in the depths of their soul.

Tell us about your new album that you are about to launch.  what can we expect from this album
My Debut EP album From The Heart was produced by a talented Zimbabwean producer Bevern “SP” Craine which I co-produced in terms of composing the songs. The bonus track on the EP my single “Righteousness” was produced by Skeleton Da Scientist. The album as the title states is most definitely from the heart. All the songs I have written are songs that I feel will uplift and spread the message of love. The album will express Most High truths for our hearts is His dwelling place. I am really excited, grateful and humbled about this album because it has been a long, hard and fruitful journey to bring it to life.

How has the general response to your previous work been?
The general response to my previous work has been very positive, I give humble thanks to the Most High and those that have been supporting me, encouraging me and believing in my music. It really inspires me to continue with my musical journey. As I continue I will keep growing and learning. What I have learned so far is that you have to nurture humility. Your support structure must be one that will be positive and understanding of your journey. That you should never lose a sense of who you are and what you are meant to do. Above all give thanks and praises and never ever give up.

Are you signed to a label/management?
I am currently not signed to a label. I am independent artist.

What activities are you involved in outside of your work as a musician?
The activities I am busy outside of my music career are gardening I am learning about herbs and their medicinal purposes. I’m also an artist I really love painting and exploring that aspect. My king and I are working on starting our own production company.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on promoting my album, rehearsing for the album launch and new lyrics for an upcoming project.

Which musicians do you draw your inspiration from?
The musicians I draw my inspiration from are Dezarie, Jah9, Queen Omega, Bob Marley, Garnet Silk, Midnite, Burning Spear and The Abyssinians.

Which artist would you like to work/collaborate with and why? Local or international.
The artist I would like to work with and it would come as no surprise is Dezarie. Every single time I listen to her music it really speaks to my soul. Her lyrics are truly powerful and she has an angelic voice. I believe I could learn a lot from her not only a musical level but on a spiritual level as well.

Which do you prefer; live performances or studio work?
I prefer live performances there is a greater kind of energy that I feel performing live.

Catch her Live at Baran’s Theater Restaurant, Green Market Square in Cape Town for the Launch of her Album on the 7th November 2015.  Event Details here.


From The Heart

Empress Naphtali From The HeartTrack List

1. From The Heart
2. Remains The Same
3. Rise Zion Children
4. Higher Ground
5. You Will Overcome
6. Love Strong
7. Bonus Track: Righteousness (Bread Fruit Riddim)

Produced by: Bevern”SP” Craine and Tracey-Leigh “Empress Naphtali” Ramplin
Bonus Track Righteousness produced by Skeleton Da Scientist
Label: Independent Artist
Production: Bevern “SP” Craine, Tracey-Leigh “EmpressNaphtali” Ramplin and Nicolas Ramplin
Release Date: 7 November 2015
Independent Distribution: 0749610822 or email or to order a copy