She leverages her inspiration for different performance styles to make the stage her home and here is where she taps into her innate taste for glamor to give viewers a modern Afrocentric spin on the old Hollywood aesthetic.
AGYAKOMAH : The Ghanaian Fusion Artist
By Rashida Ashley
For artist Agyakomah, identity is so important. As a first-generation Ghanaian woman, Agyakomah tells her story through her AfroClassic music, a fusion of R&B/Soul and Afrobeats.Her powerful voice is felt in her EP “A Diva’s Manifesto”(September
2021), where she releases her aspirations, desires and motivation behind her drive for success as an artist of her time. Agyakomah’s multi-dimensional nature is amplified within the title
of her six-song album. With the word ‘diva.’ Which she considers to be a play on what people naturally perceive the word to be and the thoughtfulness behind creating a ‘manifesto,’ a statement of intent,
You have been honing your writing since high school and have been driven to showcase a world different yet reminiscent of the previous generation, filled with the fusions and nuisances that can all live inside one person. Can you speak on what has led you to incorporate this mission into your craft? Growing up, I always liked multiple things. I was interested in fashion at one point and I like a lot of different styles of music: I like pop music, I like the boy groups, girl groups and music on the Disney Channel. I love listening to R&B and old- school music like the 90s, 80s pop music and 70s soul. I even started listening to more of my parent’s music from Ghana.
When I started going to college, I began thinking about what I wanted to do, always knowing I wanted to do music. But as I got older, looking back on my life and all the different facets that make me up as a person, I realized I’m not a one size fits all type or one who just likes one thing. I’m also not a person who just likes one style of music, there are so many different sides to me. That’s why I always say I’m multi-faceted.
Sometimes people might think if you’re from a certain background or live in a certain area, or whatever, you’re supposed to be a certain way. I think in 2022 we’re realizing that we may look a certain way on the outside, but we might have completely different interests and different experiences that make us unique. So, I just want to amplify that. You recently released your debut EP titled “A Diva’s Manifesto.”As you worked on your EP what were your intentions for yourself, your craft, and your audience as you designed each piece? I’m pretty methodical when I create. I know every artist is different. I know some artists who just do it when the inspiration hits them, but I knew for this project, I had to sit down. I wrote all the different topics, talked about what I like.
I just wrote a big list, and I would just cross it out by the process of elimination, and I realized okay, these are the 567 topics I want to talk about. From those points, I kind of just started creating from there.
The EP is like an intro for people to really get an idea of my sound – my voice, how I approach music and what they can expect in the future. I felt like it was a really good intro because when listening to it people will hear an afrobeat. When I sing, it’s R&B and soul inspired. So, I approach it differently. For people who like storytelling, I like to incorporate my writing background. So, listeners are hearing different kinds of real stories, not something that’s random and meaningless. Everything has an intentional meaning to it.
So, I felt like it was my first project to give people an idea of who I am and what I’m trying to do. It was also for me in a way. I didn’t care how many people listened to it. I didn’t care where it was going to reach. I just want to do it for myself. So that’s why I have a song called ‘Go Girl,’ because I feel it’s literally an ode to myself. It’s like, Girl you’ve been working so hard. You went to school and even college to pursue your dreams. You’re investing in your craft and you’re trying to set the light for yourself. ‘Go girl,’ you’re doing it! We don’t always get time to congratulate ourselves. So, the song is like a pat on the back. Why is it so important to showcase the multidimensional nature of the new era, a young first-generation African woman? What do you believe this means for the next generation?
I think it’s so important because I feel like we’re not just one thing. When I’m talking about a topic or when I’m talking about music or anything, I’ll use a bunch of different styles of music. I feel like I’m posting a lot of my favorite singers like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston on my Instagram stories.
But I might also post a Fiona Apple song. I might post a song by a Ghanaian artist that I really love. I feel like we’re not all one thing. I don’t want to feel like I have to stick to one thing. And I feel like it’s important to showcase that. Especially to young girls like myself. I feel like we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Right? Familial-wise, my parents have achieved a lot. Sometimes I’m intimidated, like, ‘oh my gosh,’ I have to live up to that and then some. So when I think about the next generation, I think they’re gonna have an easier time pursuing their dreams and pursuing their path.
What or who keeps you motivated and driven as an artist? I would say my peers. I think of seeing someone like you on my journey. We went to the same school, and now I’m seeing you along my path and we’re like, both elevating and we don’t even know it. Something like that really keeps me motivated because it shows that I am really going somewhere. I am moving up. I am progressing. So seeing my peers succeed kind of showcases that it’s possible and that I can keep going as long as I just keep doing it. Whether it’s one small step or whether it’s a huge accomplishment I can do it, too. I think seeing people that I love and look up to still doing their thing like Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Brandy too. All of the legends in music. It’s like, if they can do it, why not any of us? You know? I think seeing other people’s breakthroughs keeps me motivated because everyone has a dream and some of us are putting in the work.
You have spent the latter part of 2021 performing your music at colleges, universities and even for the 6th Annual Black Women in Media Conference & Awards in front of legendary figures in both media and entertainment. How has this journey of producing your music and then performing impacted your identity for yourself, and your craft? Wow, yes performing on that stage at the 6th Black Women in Media Conference & Awards, that for me personally was like one the most important performances thus far. It felt like a culmination of all the years of work I put together could be on a stage like that because more than anything, I love performing. I love writing and I love recording but performing has this certain space in my heart. It’s just something that’s so magical to me. I was overwhelming in the greatest possible way. It made me realize that if God brought me to be in a room with all these amazing women who are achieving great things, I am meant to be an amazing woman achieving great things as well, period. That performance opportunity was like a new standard of what I could achieve.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
New EP coming this year ♫ Sign up to the mailing list to be the first to know the deets!