For some of us, we’re at the prime of our careers when we perform in the showers, or when we walk about our homes engaging in our daily routine. But not everyone is brought up with musical juice in and around them. At some point, it’s only right that genius grows on you. Adomaa is a classic act in this scenario.
I stand in wait at the Adjeman residence. A young woman gets out of her friend’s car heading straight for the front gate almost seemingly unnoticing me till I yelled her name. Frankly, I went in blind. I had heard her music over and over again and had a vague idea of how she looked like. She can’t be blamed for “almost seemingly un-noticing” me. Or I her. You decide. My first impression was a knockout. I recall joking about how she could legit pass for one of my friends. Do not be mistaken. You might think she walks around with a bodyguard. Her down to earth nature is something she embraces very well.
To prove her regular idiosyncrasy even further, I found it amusing just how she grumbled for not getting her fair share of waakye when we walked into the crib. You know it’s real when after a long day in town, you come back home to find your team face deep in their waakye dishes just to discover you weren’t in their plans when they went out buying. But then again, people of her status need no asking.
Creatives are usually not the norm. They don’t practice the norm and do not believe in the norm of things. With all this in mind, an unusual setting was premeditated for our hour-long Q&A session. Trust me when I tell you this; the power of an AUX cord should never be underestimated. It was calming how light the mood got when sounds of Lianne La Havas hit the speakers.
Until recently, music of the new age didn’t tickle her fancy. It truly is uncommon to come across any one from the 80s-90s era that isn’t amused by today’s trap world and electronic music. In Adomaa’s own words, “I vibe heavily with the old folks. My influence is drawn from the likes of Michael Buble, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Corinne Bailey Rae and Amy Winehouse.” That’s an outstanding catalogue of musical gurus to draw inspiration from. Out of the lot she mentioned, I was surprised she passed up on Sade. You’d think Ms. Adu would make the cut for reasons such as her ethnicity and style of music. But no.
On to some more music.
Miles Davis once said “If you sacrifice your art because of some woman, or some man, or some colour, or for some wealth, you can’t be trusted.” There’s this general conclusion that artists sell themselves short in terms of family values and principles to attain their desired end. With that said, do you think that along the line you’ll have to bend to serve a more mainstream crowd?
Adomaa’s answer was – “No, not at all. I started out as a simpleton making the music I loved. Most of them covers by the way, but people got on with it as time passed, and I’ve slowly carved out a niche for myself. Thankfully, that crowd has increased day in day out.” (laughs)
I’ve always wondered what the true meanings of value and appreciation are. Obviously, there should be a general understanding of what these words mean. But to artists, I reckon it’s heartfelt. Be it on stage or in the DMs. For Adomaa, being an artist goes beyond life as an entertainer. It’s a position she has and one with which she intends on making positive impacts on the lives of her listeners. Adomaa was kind enough to share with me, what she referred to as “one of her most proud moments as an artist.” If you’re reading this, you probably have heard or will hear her 2015 single – Traffic Jam. It’s not too late.
Personally, I wish man never had to be in traffic. The honking of horns and amount of time spent in them makes it overly frustrating. That didn’t stop this creative. The song came about by literally being stuck in a traffic flow. No witty metaphor. No nifty business. A fan sent her a message of how puffed up he was when he found himself in the same setting only to have Adomaa’s Traffic Jam hit the radio. In his message, she could picture his hyped up self and instant reaction. In her own words, “knowing someone was vibing to my music for the intent behind it, brought me great joy.” There truly has to be a silver lining in every situation. Instead of complaining and looking side-eye at the world, she saw an opening for something everyone could relate to.
On behalf of all the fans who are enthusiastic about news on new music, I asked the question you’d probably want to ask.
‘Do you have plans for an album or project any time soon?’
She answered saying – “Yes, I do. The team and I are working on it. So God willing, this year. I won’t let you talk me into giving away any details apart from that.” (laughs)
“Afraba – The EP” was released earlier last year. It featured a number of artists and was what she described as a personal message concerning what was going on in her life and one she wanted to share with everyone. Adomaa might pull a Beyoncé on us but for now, visit her SoundCloud as the go-to spot for her songs.
It’s hard to imagine any celebrity as unsuccessful. In her own words, “she’s that fine line between blow-out star and underground artist.” She defined success as the point where she never has to introduce herself to anyone. I recall joking about how I had to explain and describe to my mum who and what Adomaa was. In agreement to our little joke, she nodded saying, “Yup! that’s how you know I haven’t reached the top yet” and let out a smile when ending that statement with “I’m comfortable.”
Now don’t get me wrong. This feature could’ve been titled differently – The story of the journalist turned professional singer or YouTube sensation turned blow-out songstress. She knew she could sing. Her family knew it. Her friends knew it. The difficult part was whether she’d be warmly received by others if she was to step out and make that doubt a career. There was journalism – the ongoing job at the time and the sure money maker. And there was the singing – plainly put as the not so sure one. Believe you me, it’s hard to decide on what to pick when you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Going into this interview, I was told we might end up talking about her household more than her. This almost came to pass. Never had I seen anyone speak so admirably about their family and with so much cheer while at it. Truth be told, there’s nothing like home support. Be it in sports or mere banter among some friends. It’s always a good muse for success. You’ll frequently find Adomaa refer to her family as “her backbone,” with her father being the most supportive. The Adjemans are affectionately known by close ones as the Ghanaian rendition of the von Trapp family. If you grew up with the Sound of Music, you’d understand their opinion.
Just in case you were wondering how she developed her sound, you’ll be interested to know that she had no training. When I brought it up, she laughed saying “I have a Professional Bathroom Singing Degree in music.” With all the strides Adomaa has been making, it’s clear she hasn’t regretted her choice to follow the musical path. She however, opened up about how the music calling has come with its ups and downs just like any career option and how the fans and her passion are the muses behind her growth. Ultimately, she’s found solace in doing what she loves and does best. She transparently admitted that she still needed practice and does have plans of taking courses in vocal training and development but for now, will rely on her Professional Bathroom Singing Degree.
Denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind.
Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.
Consider these two words. Take them, mix them with a touch of youthful exuberance and bottle them up in the body of a 20-something, 5’7” Ghanaian-Nigerian woman. You’ll be sure to come across Joy Onyinyechukwu Adomaa Serwaa Adjeman in your findings. It’s unconventional to stumble upon a youth from this era with the heart and soul of Adomaa. She’s an afro-jazz musician in Ghana, and the first of her kind. A definite pioneer in that regard. It’s incredible the progress she’s made and how far she has come for someone who started out just a year ago.