Adomaa, born Joy Onyinyechukwu Adomaa Serwaa Adjeman in Kaduna to a Ghanaian father and Nigerian mother, is a sensational singer who has used her unique voice and genre to take the nation of Ghana by storm.
Her venture into music started in 2015 with two mashups (a cover of a combination of songs), “The Evolution of GH Music” – which is a musical history lesson where she covered a wide array of classic songs in Ghanaian music, and a mashup of Stonebwoy’s “Baafira” and Sarkodie’s “Adonai”. Both mashups happened to go viral, launching her into the public eye, and she hasn’t looked back ever since.
Since then, she released her debut EP called AFRABA the EP and went on to do a string of singles and features that have kept her in the hearts and minds of the fans of her unique sound.
Adomaa and her art fronts a fresh and unique take on artistry in the Ghanaian music scene that is only encountered once in a blue moon, and it’s evident in every song. Her unique blend of jazz, soul, and afrobeat/afro-pop (in combination, afro-jazz) sets her apart from every other, and add to it her light but sultry voice, you get this vintage yet urban vibe that takes you to places you thought never existed.
Here is a recent interview she gave of the blogs in Nigeria…
NJO: So, who is Adomaa?
Adomaa: Adomaa the artist is an afro-jazz singer. Adomaa the person is a very carefree, fun loving, sometimes emotional, down to earth baby girl (laughs).
NJO: When did you start making music?
A: Professionally, almost 3 years. February 25th, 2015, that’s the exact date.
NJO: What happened that day?
A: That’s the day I uploaded my very first mashup, the “Baafira” mashup. But aside that, I used to sing at church. And my bathroom is where I started my career, singing in the shower. Evans (the CEO of her current record label Vision Inspired Music) had this YouTube show, like a magazine that had a music segment. So basically that’s the only experience I had.
NJO: During your upbringing, was the environment nurturing to your creative abilities?
A: My family was very supportive. I grew up in a music family. Everybody in my family sings, from my dad to my little brother. All seven of us. We used to joke around and call ourselves the “Adjeman Von Trapp” family (laughs) because of we all sing. Art is very in the family. Everybody has been allowed to express themselves. I mean, of course still go to school and get a proper education, but you’re still allowed to express yourself. So I’ve been fortunate.
NJO: So who are your musical influences?
A: I used to listen to music generally, just because it was very comforting. When I had issues I would listen and I get better. When I properly started listening to music is when the jazz genre caught me. It was through a movie. So since then, I started listening heavily to Michael Buble, he was the first voice I ever heard that got me started. Then I went into Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Anna Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong. So I used to listen to a lot of that. Then I came down to the modern people like Erykah Badu, and Corinne. It was quite recently that I opened up to other music.
NJO: What’s your favourite song right now?
A: The new voice I’m hooked on right now is Billie Eilish. The title of the song is “My Boy”, I’ve listened to it like 20 times today.
NJO: Your unique selling point as an artist is the genre of music that you make, afro-jazz. So why afro-jazz?
A: Well, I didn’t pick it. It’s more or less who I am. Since I decided to do music, the best way to go is by being me. For me, it was more an expression of my art as opposed to doing it to make money. That’s not why I started, to be very honest. The profitable aspect of it came when I got into it a little bit more. So it’s an expression of who I am. When I was about 7 or 8 was when I first started listening to jazz. So from 7 until last two years, that’s a whole lot of influence. So if the music came and said “Okay now you’re going to do music”, the only natural way for me to go is in that direction.
NJO: What would you consider your biggest song? Which of your songs had the most impact?
A: It’s hard to tell. I’m torn between my song “Traffic Jam”, and my more emotional pieces. Because I started getting very emotional this year, and people really really liked it. So there’s “Gone”, and there’s “Traffic Jam”. It’s between those two. I think it depends on your mood. People who want to jam are into “Traffic Jam”, and people who are very much into their feels like “Gone”.
NJO: Are there any Nigerian artists you would like to work with?
A: Oh yes yes yes. I was fortunate enough to meet Simi when she came to Ghana, so hopefully, something materializes in the coming months. Aside from her, I’m a huge fan of Omawumi, like a huge fan, so I’d definitely be thrilled to pieces if I get to work with her. And Asa of course. And in terms of rap, because recently I’ve gotten very into rap, I love M.I and Falz. And I also love Timi Dakolo and Waje.
NJO: You went to GIJ (Ghana Institute of Journalism), and you were also a practising journalist. At what point did it occur to you that you want to be a full-time musician?
A: So I was working as a journalist, I didn’t think for a million years that I would be in music at all. Because I went to school for journalism, I was working as a business and entertainment researcher at Viasat 1, so I was cool. Things were going well. And then all of a sudden music happened because honestly, that’s how it happened. It just happened, I didn’t plan for it. And then I started getting a lot of buzzes and it was quite interesting for me because I realized that even though I really liked my job as a journalist, this was something I connected more with. So there was a bit of conflict because I had to be at work, but then I was getting gigs. So at a point, it started to affect work. So they told me “You know what, we can see you on TV, and you’re here as well. But it’s not going to work, the way things are you have to pick one. Either you have to stick to this, or that”. So I talked to my dad because he and I are very close. So we talked about it, and I was like at the end of the day I want to do something that makes me very happy.
NJO: So they were the ones who gave you the ultimatum?
A: Yes. I mean, I was slowly going there, but it wasn’t a decision that was going to be made at that particular time. But it was uncomfortable. I was trying to look for a way to make both of them work, but it was affecting my job.
NJO: So what about international artists? Is there any you would like to work with?
A: One of my biggest influences, Erykah Badu. I don’t know if she still makes music though, it’s a long time I heard from her. So Erykah, Corinne, I’m a huge fan of Adele, I’d throw in Beyonce because I really like her, and Michael Buble definitely.
NJO: You quitting your job to pursue music full time, did it put any pressure on you to succeed in music?
A: A lot. Because I’m the first born of my family, the first child. So everybody is looking up to me. So now I’ve gotten this very cool job, Viasat is so prestigious, even when my dad is talking it’s like “Yeah, my daughter works at Viasat” (laughs). It’s very prestigious, “And now she’s stopped, to follow music”. So it’s like, there are so many people behind you, this has to work. The way my parents are, I consider myself very blessed, because they’re extremely supportive. So they don’t pile on the pressure like that, but you know it’s there. So as for the pressure to succeed, it’s there.
NJO: In your own words, what do you think sets yourself apart from other musicians?
A: I think my voice and my personality. And my voice is a huge one for me because I probably would have gone into music a lot earlier if I was confident about my voice. I knew from listening to the kinds of people that I listen to, I think it just generally shaped my voice in a certain way. So I didn’t want to start to sing because I realized I didn’t sound like everybody else. So if I did, people are like “Who is this, her voice is so…”. So I know that my voice is extremely different from everyone else’s. And I think my personality is just yeah. I’m a very very personable person (laughs).
NJO: What do you plan to achieve with your music?
A: For me, I want my music to be what music is to me. Music started off being like my comfort blanket, like times when I was going through a lot of stuff. So I have that at the back of my mind anytime I’m making something. Because I want it to be that for people. Because it’s the most fulfilling thing in the world when I get DMs about “Oh my God I was listening to Traffic Jam and oh my God, I was able to…”. Like it’s huge, it’s huge. That for me is bigger than any award, I won’t lie to you. Because I feel like I’ve been able to touch someone’s life, and that’s serious. So for me, that’s what I plan to achieve, that’s what makes me happy.
NJO: So if the whole world had to listen to just one of your songs, like everyone in the world would hear that particular song, what would it be?
A: Hmm… The ones that are out or the ones that are yet to be released? (laughs) Okay, I’d say “Hollow Spaces”.
NJO: Why “Hollow Spaces”?
A: “Hollow Spaces” because I feel the message of the song for one, is something a lot of people can relate to, and the music is just brilliant. The production and everything is brilliant. It’s the kind of song everybody would hear and have an experience. It’s not just listening to good vibes, there’s a whole experience that comes with the song. And I would want the whole world to have an experience when listening to my music, so I’d say “Hollow Spaces”.
NJO: So what does the future hold in store for Adomaa? Are there any upcoming projects?
A: Yeah, I’m currently working on an album. I don’t know when it will come out yet, but it’s in the works. And I’m being very particular about everything, that’s why I don’t know when it will come out because everything has to be perfect. But aside that, there are tiny projects in the works, like EPs. I don’t want to be too specific. There are a few minor things I’m working on, and hopefully, they come out very soon.