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WPGM Commentary: Adomaa Finds Love For Music Again On Her New EP ‘Becoming Adomaa’

I’m Adomaa. I’m half Ghanaian, half Nigerian and a fulltime creative. My family has always been a very musical one, so music has always been a part of me. I love music. I didn’t have a lot of friends in my formative years and leaned very heavily on music for comfort. Little did I know, it would end up becoming my career.

In late 2014, what started as a very casual hobby changed my life. I used to record a lot of covers on my phone, just for fun. I only ever shared these covers with very close friends.

One of them heard a cover and loved the fact that I would put very creative jazz spins on pop songs and pushed me to do one for any of the Afro-Pop songs that were trending in Ghana at the time.

I did and it blew up and kickstarted my music career. The limelight came very fast and it was very sudden. I was not prepared for it. I struggled to find my bearings and in a short while, I started to fall apart. I left music.

The intro “You Used To Love Me” of my new EP Becoming Adomaa, sees me reminiscing on what one might call my glory days, and how I wish I did music for me at that time, back when there was still a lot of attention and applause. Majority of the support I gathered at the time, I lost. I was not putting out any music, and people understandably moved on to other things.

The creative approach I took to this project was to imagine I could go back in time, rewind the tape back to the beginning, and start over. I asked myself; what would I do differently? My career had started with a cover, but the melody for that cover was original so I decided to turn it into a real song, my own song and the second track “In The Clouds” was born.

If I was to start again with all I know now, I wouldn’t hide behind another person’s art to make mine. After trying different ways to interpret this song to convey the right emotions, my team and I decided to go with a dreamy acapella and it worked perfectly.

Recording was a lot of work, but so much fun. While doing that, I shared the story of what sudden fame was like for me, how giddy it made me feel but also how anxious I’d become because I wasn’t ready.

The anxiety grew into internal conflict as I tried to define myself in the public eye, but it was amid a lot of doubt and uncertainty and I slowly started to fall under. I wished I could stop but I couldn’t afford to be ungrateful. Musicians dream of status like this. I couldn’t help but feel undeserving.

This is the basis on which track 3, “Smoke & Mirrors” was birthed. The music felt best interpreted with just one instrument, the guitar and haunting harmonies. The song was a conversation with myself, so I tried to depict that by singing in two lead voices but differentiating them by singing in different octaves.

“Circus” is the fourth song on the project, and was inspired by a music box. My brother, Tronomie, did a fantastic job depicting that in the music production. I also tried to stay to the circus theme with the writing. The story was basically one of utter chaos.

My mental health had completely deteriorated but I still had to keep up appearances and perform. The music industry felt like a circus to me. I was surrounded by so many other talented musicians clamoring for the listeners’ attention and there I was, not wanting it but completely stuck.

I had gotten into a very bad deal with a record label and it further plunged me into a depressive state (I used to have very violent panic attacks and was sure I was going to die), but like the puppet that I was on that music box, I had to keep performing.

Eventually, I fell apart. The music on “Crash” is characterised by very haunting yet beautiful guitars and percussion to depict this somber mood. I couldn’t do this music thing anymore and quit. Music was killing me, literally.

I couldn’t sing, write or even attempt to perform without inducing a panic attack. To stay alive, I had to stop. This only plunged me further into depression because up until I quit, music was my fulltime job. Quitting meant I needed to figure out what to do with my life and I couldn’t.

I was unable to eat or even function. I stayed locked up in my room for weeks and lost a lot of weight. At one point, I even attempted suicide. Apart from the music, nothing else was going on for me. I wished I could crawl up somewhere far away and just find some peace and solitude since even death wouldn’t have me.

As if by divine workings, and I am completely convinced it was, my wish came true. I found myself suddenly heading to a new country to pursue another passion of mine, acting. It felt like the perfect escape and throwing myself into something else I loved slowly brought me back to life. It literally saved me.

“Utopia” is the sixth track on the EP, and it narrates that story with very soothing acoustic guitar strings. It seeks to transport the listener to that far away place and make them feel everything I felt. This is undoubtedly my favorite song on the EP. It’s one of those songs that just wrote themselves, like a miracle. That’s how it makes me feel.

After returning from my time away to work as an actress, I was in a much better state of mind and it became much easier to reflect and take positive steps to get better. I went through therapy and during that period rediscovered my love for music and decided to come back.

In the beginning music chose me but this time, I had to choose it back, consciously. This time, it was on my own terms and I knew exactly how I wanted to go about things. I wanted my music expression going forward to be a combination of film and the music itself. “Beginning Again” is the final track on the project, and summaries all this.

So, the EP Becoming Adomaa basically narrates my journey from that first viral cover, to the highs and lows of trying to be a musician, and the struggles with finding self – including my battles with mental health which led to me quitting music. It then talks about my rekindling of an old passion (acting) and eventually finding love for music again and deciding to give it another shot.

My story is one of resilience and rebirth. Creating this EP was more than just making music, it has been a way for me to live again. My biggest hope is that it does for people what it did for me. So, no matter where you are in life or what is going on with you, know this – it’s never too late to begin again.

Listen to Becoming Adomaa below and stream it elsewhere here.

Words by Adomaa // Follow her on Instagram + Twitter

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