Meet Christine Quarcoopome – a young woman in her 20s, a Ghanaian songstress and a lady out here doing the most. You might know her as “Cina Soul or simply “Cina” if you’re well acquainted.
There’s a lot of chatter that goes around when it comes to the correlation between music and food. The most popular one is “music being the food to your soul.” Our guest here made some very incriminating statements when she said she’d pick food over music any given day. Mind you, she claimed music is her life and that almost everything around her is centred on it but when it comes to food, she’s a complete sell-out.
This journey seeks to unravel the mind of our ever rising talent and if possible, bring out stuff you undoubtedly didn’t know about her.
Envisage being stuck on an island forever with a music player that had an undying battery. Think you can hit us with your top 5 artists or albums that you’d have on there? We asked Cina this and she coughed up names like Jon Bellion, Sia and Alina Baraz as her top 3 go-to guys for eternal music. The remaining two had her torn between the likes of Beyoncé, Kanye, Rihanna and every other top artist out there. To be put on the spot just like that can take anyone aback so yeah, you can imagine her hesitation.
It’s only fair to assume most singers and songwriters would somehow find affection for choral material and group singing. If you happened to place Cina in this supposition, sorry to burst your bubble. In her own words, “I really don’t like choirs.” We shared a little joke on how that may come off as being “selfish with the music.” However, it might interest you to know that a while back she found herself in her Junior High choir where she sang bass. Let that sink in. Truth be told, her reason for disliking it centred around the pettiness that came with being in a choir.
From fashion designer to bank manager to lawyer, Cina just like many of us as kids, had a plethora of things she wanted to be. Quite frankly, these ambitions and desires were usually fuelled by our parents, aunties and uncles, TV and the internet.
Before it all started, as most at times is the case, a brain full of ideas with no clear-cut direction was what Cina had to deal with. Her music journey took flight during the 2014 Vodafone Icons where she dazzled audiences across the country with her talent. She never would’ve considered the thought of competing vocally if not for her manager’s constant encouragement and persuasion. Up to this day, she owes it up to him for what she has become now. The manner in which she carried herself and went about performing had a lot of people expecting bigger things from her thereafter. The pressures from fans and music critics for her to release original music in the form of singles, features or EPs, became an issue because she still didn’t feel ready. Added to this fact was a little management battle that also derailed progress.
During our discussion she shared some very powerful insights into how the mentality of always trying to make hits is gradually corrupting the industry if it hasn’t eaten it up halfway already. Before she stepped into the scene, a lot of people offered help in the form of caution saying she won’t last long and that she won’t make a killing if she were to go about things her own way. Many “helpers” advised her to study the game and take the “azonto” route like some artists and that by doing so, she’d please the masses and gather a decent following while she plots an entrance into the more refined and alternative scene.
All she wanted was to calm the situation down and relax while setting her sights on what type of music or genre she’d be doing. She yearned for serenity – “some peace and quite, maybe some feedback on these raps.” as J. Cole once said.
The stars did align amidst all the challenges and thankfully, she came into contact with the right producers, engineers and the ideal management who understood her sound and shared her vision.
“Art is about the soul. Art in itself is the soul’s attempt to reach out to the world at large.” – Cina.
In every sense of the word “creative”, Cina sees herself as such. She identifies with the task of creation and all the elements that come together to form a body of work. The process is one she holds very dear.
It’s always been a wonder how musicians go about making music. Do they need a beat or producer before or do they constantly write lyrics in hope of a sound that matches the words they pen down? According to her, she’s easily inspired. An inquisitive me shyly asked what exactly her inspirations usually are and I got jabbed. “By every DAMN. thing,” she said. She touched on how problematic being overly inspired can be, saying that a flood of ideas could effortlessly make their way into her mind only for her to deal with piecing them all together by categorising and apportioning what goes where.
“Music isn’t a joke oh”, she carelessly admitted.
She described art as “unspeakable stuff” and went on to say “it’s that part of you that can’t be explained. It’s that part of you that’s hard to pinpoint. It is to be appreciated nonetheless because varied opinions come together to make up the full story of an art-piece or concept. Art is all about the heart and what it feels.”
You might agree there’s a certain feeling of entrapment that comes with working within a defined space. As Cina went on to express her pet peeves, she made mention of how creating in a studio is such a limitation for her and that if it was in her power, she’d pick performing live over having to do music in a booth. I found this interesting because how does an artist perform live without having to record the performed songs first? Unless the songs are made from scratch while playing live but that’s a conversation for another day.
On the flip side of things, Cina feels her best work is yet to come. She’s her worst critic when it comes to it and from her point of view, she hasn’t reached the vocal heights she thinks she can attain. You’d think for a blossomed EP like Metanoia, songs like “Awo”, “Lolonye” and even fan-favourite, “Julor” would be examples of vocal standouts but when asked she was like “nah, not even.”
Being a creative herself and even more so, a creative in Africa, Cina shared some interesting thoughts on the current splurge of modern Ghana artists and entrepreneurs. “I’m honestly very much impressed with the current state of things and the mindset of the youth today. I feel like our generation will definitely run the world in a few years to come. The older guys want us to be 35, 40 before we can say we’ve fully reached our peak and are properly established. HELL NO! We don’t want to do that!” is what she said as she went on to express her feelings about the older generation and their mindset for the youth of today.
“We want to make the money right now!” she said laughing.
“I crave a Ghana that has its youth depending on one another and fending for themselves while at it.” If it were up to her, she’d legit run for president but don’t tell anybody.
Cina expressed a great desire for the youth to create a separate world for themselves – a world that is run and organised solely by the youth. According to her, majority of the negative feedbacks she and other artists and entrepreneurs in Ghana get are from the older guys in the industry. Their so-called “help” is characterized by envy, lack of excitement and respect for what the younger generation is doing.
At a young age, she finds herself part of some pretty inspiring philanthropic business. One of which is Poetra Asantewaa’s “Black Girls Glow” – an initiative that includes the likes of Adomaa, Dziedzorm, Efya and Fu.
“I think our generation is slowly changing things up. We’re doing our own concerts, hosting shows and doing album launches. These are things guys from back in the day weren’t exposed to and as a result, can’t see why we’re doing things differently.
The good folks at Rain say that “when life gives you lemons, make some bombass lemonade.” Cina goes through a similar sweet and sour affair with her university education and music career. It’s understandable to think that the pressures of having such a lifestyle can be overly demanding and heavily cumbersome. Thankfully yet again, she has somehow managed to make both work in great synergy. In her opinion, “there’s an audience for every single artist so it’s all about finding the right group that can grow with you and you too, grow with.”
Her music career has blossomed over the years she’s been there. It has given her a chance to perform, interact and live freely with like-minded individuals who have become her core fans.
Living a double life takes time and involves a lot of sacrifice. It comes with having to disappoint people and people disappointing you on the go. It’s during these phases of life that real ones stick and grind with you while the fakes judge and despise. Most people in such spaces say they just go about things like regular people and that they block everything and act like they’re in their own world. Agreed to a point but truth is, they’re not really regular. So I asked what the fine line is between life as a student and life as an entertainer.
“I think the best way I deal with it is to really just be myself. When you’re in the public eye, people tend place demands on you and if you’re not strong in character and principle, you’ll just crumble.” She made reference to an instance where a colleague suggested she put on make up and heels instead of going flat to class. She laughed it off but took a step back to realise that was/is probably the way other people perceived her.
Cina is forever grateful to have a select group of friends who help her along every step of the way. She finds comfort in having them watch her back because they don’t judge and are rather supportive of her craft and the workload that comes with it.
Although her journey as a musician has been an uprising one with no regrets, her love for people in general has formed a deep-rooted desire in her to be a psychologist. Cina’s greatest motivation is the act of preaching love. The one thing that will have her get up to do a show knowing well that she’s drained to the core is her personal mantra, “preach love or nothing else.”
In as much as Cina has become a celebrity, she wants to go about life in a very simplistic manner. She genuinely dislikes cameras, flashy lights and high heels. She would rather dance and perform barefooted than be dandy and all about the place. The little survey we run showed that Cina is a people person. She backed our findings up by saying that’s one of the main reasons she read Psychology in university. The very essence of human beings and what makes them think and act the way they do has always been fascinating to her.
Listen to Cina Soul here: