Efya Discusses Her Nocturnal
Tendencies & Up Coming Virtual Tour
Releasing her second single of the year ‘The One’ featuring Tiwa Savage and albeit a global pandemic. We spoke to four-time Ghana awards winner, singer and songwriter Efya.
Recognisable for her vocals on Eazi’s ‘Skintight’ and Sarkodie’s ‘Saara’ the rising Ghanaian artist is making waves on the African continent with her originality and consistent collaborations, being acknowledged as one of the singers today who is contributing to the growth of African music on the global stage.
We spoke on her musical education, nocturnal creativity, her up and coming album and what can expect from her in 2020 and the importance of being business minded as a young black woman in the music industry.
Thank you so much for joining us on new wave magazine Efya, we have been very excited to have you here, I know how busy you have been. However, first of all, I wanted to ask, how are you?
I am doing well, thank you for having me it’s such a pleasure, even though it’s been going crazy, you know we have been doing the work we have been needing to do with the promo and everything’ Even though I am still a bit paranoid about everything that is going on but we are staying positive. And you know just spread the message as much as possible.
It being the second single of the year, what has it been like from a creative perspective, when did you create this (song) because obviously, lockdown. It has been very restrictive, did you make it during the night or did you just make it randomly with Tiwa.
Honestly we made it way before the virus, around December time when she was around doing some shows and we were all at the same studio, and all staying at the same place. So basically we were working at night and she just woke up and she heard the song we were doing, and I said this is our new song, she liked it, she liked the vibe we were creating and she hopped on it.
We are glad you are finally getting the recognition that you deserve. That attention that has been coming with that, what has it been like for you over these last few years?
“It has been great the journey, as we say has not been easy but we are grateful to have an amazing team behind us. That propping us up, everywhere we go worldwide, and we have gained so much attention, as time has gone on and especially with this new song, many of the Nigerian people all over the world, who love Tiwa. Are also recognizing our sound and I think it is a beautiful thing, because the collaboration has definitely done a lot”
I believe the more and more we collaborate with different artists all over Africa. It will show the whole world what it is that we exactly have
You have collaborated with Maleek Berry, so many people, would you say this what has allowed the African scene to become so global, the collaborations?
Yes, the collaborations definitely do help because I believe that is the way we will come together, as a whole union, and I believe the more and more we collaborate with different artists all over Africa. It will show the whole world what it is that we exactly have, because I believe that joining our music is definitely the way forward and break boundaries as we see that it is doing right now.
Definitely, this track would have been played if the night clubs were open, it would have been getting played all over the place. What was it like working with Tiwa Savage, she has been rising up for the last few years, what was that like for you?
It was definitely, an experience, I have been in sessions with Tiwa before and this one was very calm, you know. We were both in the same space and place, it was really just a chilled vibe, two people creating music that they love. It was different from the music we both normally do because she doe mainly Afro-beats, so she was excited to do something different and I was excited to bring her into my world. So for both of us, I think we really got something out of it, something magical.
It is nice to see that have brought such an amazing love song that can inspire people and share their love between each other. I have realised throughout your music that has been your speciality. Why have you gone that story line of love, has that been a strong part of your life would you say?
I would say definitely that has been a big part of my life, I get and give a lot of love. I believe that it is a power that brings us together in so many different ways, so I like to sing about it because people can connect with it when I sing about it, and so they feel the energy that I put into the music which also encourages them, during tough times, during happy times, during sad times. It applies to a lot of different situations and I feel like that is one way that I also connect with my fans.
Yeah of course, and the thing with your music is that you keep it original, what I mean by original is that you use ‘Twi’ in your music as well.
A lot of artists would sometimes just stick to English, to expand their appeal, what encourages you to keep on doing that (using ‘Twi)?
“I love my language, I love singing in ‘Twi’ it makes me happy it makes people recognise where I’m coming from. I make it a point, and to make it part of what it is I do. My culture, my language, the way I dress sometimes, you can definitely see that I am coming from the Ashanti region (Ghana). That is something that I want to very much instill in whomever I work with, I like them to come with their culture so that we can mix the cultures and see what comes out from it, which is always fun for me”
“But yes, I love singing in ‘Twi’ because I believe that it makes me connect to my people and that is something that I value very, very much”
I love that consistently, the fact that you keep it original and let the world know, and it encourages people to learn about ‘Twi’ as well and about Ghana, which is so powerful. It does not surprise, everyone has to learn a little.
“A little bit of something”
And you are the queen of the Ghana awards, you won it about seven times?
“A couple of times yes, I think about five times, four, no five yes!”
That’s amazing, and of course, you have been around the scene for a long time, you studied music as well didn’t you?
“Yes I went to university and majored in theatre directing”
Do you think studying music helped you set a foundation rather than going straight into music which a lot of people try and do today?
I think for me I came from my family that was very musical so I had training from a very young age even though I did not have voice training, I played piano, I played keyboard and then I was singing in the choir.
When you are singing in a choir do you have to train, because you have like rehearsals days?
So I had the opportunity to have people that would train me as I was growing up, and in university, I was in the mass choir, which also required a lot of dedication
So all the things that I did, it really did set me up for when I decided to become a professional musician. So I am grateful for all those lessons because I still use them today.
But you are nocturnal Efya? How were you doing all of that at the same time, what’s going on?
I probably did not sleep through any of those, but I do sleep, but I did not sleep much during university because I was being a student and being an artist at the same time. I had fun doing it because I was doing something that I love and was doing things that I could use for my stage performances and things like that. So all those things, it was tough but it had the good sides.
I can imagine it being tough, multitasking so much, but from a musical perspective, who were your main influences, and who continues to influence your music today?
“I would definitely say Kojo Antwi is one of the top influences that I have, I listened to his music a lot growing up, Pat Thomas, high life music. The high life music that was there when at the time when I was young.Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin a lot of soulful music, Jazz R&B and so on, that was my basis of sound. When I sing you hear it”
It is not easy, but it can be done, you really need to be determined and know what it is you want from this thing you are doing. You need a team that is strong and can direct you
You have done so many features, what features should we potentially be looking out for? We are 6 months into the year, what can we be expecting from you in the next 6 months?
I’m going to be dropping a few more singles and we are going to drop the album, we are going to do as much to help our fans, through this whole pandemic
We are definitely looking to do a virtual show and then keep on going as much as possible. The whole time we have been working on the album and its coming together, hopefully, by the end of the year we will drop it, because I know the fans have been waiting for an album, for a while
You mentioned a virtual tour, what is that going to be like?
We are trying to do it so we can watch it live, maybe like on YouTube with good sound, so you can watch so you can feel the presence and performance even though you are not there because we can’t meet. So we are trying to put it together with a band and see how well we can do it, so our fans can get a feel of us at least. As they don’t get to see me as much as they used to at shows, so we are putting something together, maybe like a one hour set, so we can actually have some fun with them
I will definitely be tuning in to that, I am sure it will be very interesting, of course, we don't know when people can go back on tour, when people will be able to do concerts. What has the vibe been in the industry so far?
I think everyone is trying to wrap their head around the next move, you know it's going to be tough because a lot of shows got canceled that I was supposed to do this year. Especially for the summer but we have to be careful so we can stay alive, we are praying that hopefully that something happens soon. But if it does not I think especially during lockdown a lot of people were doing shows on Instagram and stuff like that, it helped people stay reassured that change will definitely come, we are just praying that something definitely does happen to switch it up!
People that would like to get into the industry now, how do women, for especially young black women like yourself, what advice would you give to some of your fans?
I would definitely say that it is not easy, but it can be done, you really need to be determined and know what it is you want from this thing you are doing. You need a team that is strong and can direct you because even though you have the time, you still need to know the business part a little bit. That is a very important thing that many people realise until later on.
So I would advise that as you are getting involved, the talent part is helpful but get yourself involved in doing the business part of the whole industry so that you understand that there are different parts to the whole thing and that there are different parts to play. You need to know which part you are playing, which part your team is playing. Get the right kind of guidance, because it is not easy but it can be done.
I’m going to ask you some questions your fans might ask, when it comes to Ghanaian food, what your favourite food? There Banku there is Fufu?
Ok ok ok, do you make it yourself?
No, not most of the time, it depends on where I am, when I’m in the states, I have to make it myself. I don’t have anyone that makes it for me. But when I'm at home I have someone that makes it for me, my mum would make it for me as she makes it the best. So when I want some good food, I got to my mum's house.
Yeah, of course, mums always make it the best. After lockdown can we expect you to come to the UK?
I am supposed to be there now with all of you! I was supposed to come and even be in lockdown in the UK. As soon as the borders open it will be the first place I will be coming to, yes, asap!
We would love to have you here!
“I have not done a show in the UK before so it would be very exciting”
We are really glad that you are looking forward to doing that, but that is all from us here at New Wave magazine. Efya thank you so much for your time.
Thank you for having me it’s been so exciting
We wish you all the best with this absolutely amazing single “The One”, thank you so much Efya
“Thank you so much, hopefully, we will get things going soon when I get to the UK”