Dutch-Ghanaian singer-songwriter Nana Adjoa creates a fully-integrated sound, mixing soulful vocals that float and surge with power. In her In Residence Session, recorded exclusively for KCRW, she delivers an energetic set, capped with a cover of Wilco’s “Love Is Everywhere (Beware).”
KCRW caught up with Adjoa who shared some of her favorite artists, and what instrument she would take to a desert island.
You are a trained jazz musician.... who are some of your favorites?
Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter and Cannonball Adderley.
You're also a multiinstrumentalist... tell us which instruments you play.... if you could only take one instrument to a desert island, which one would it be?
Electric bass is my main instrument, and I play upright, as well. I also play keys, drums and guitar. If I could choose one instrument to take to a desert island, it would be an upright piano (it would be great if it could miraculously stay kind of in tune).
When you are not making music, what do you do to sooth your soul? Especially during this difficult time.
Playing or watching football (soccer) can really take my mind out of the musical realm, and in that regard, it's a great way to relax. It’s only been a couple of months since both watching and playing have been made possible again on this side of the ocean, and I’m very happy about it.
Did you record this album at home? Are you writing during the pandemic?
I recorded this album in my studio (which I share with two other musician friends). Back in 2019 when I was recording this album, it was a 10-minute bike ride from my house, so it sort of became my second home. I haven’t written much that I’m fond of so far. I hope my mind can wander more easily into that creative space again, once this album is released on the 24th of September.
“She's Stronger” has been on repeat... the pandemic has me listening to lyrics in a different way.... can you tell us the story behind the song?
It’s not just one story, but encountering different women who made me realize that I’m not quite yet the person I would like to be. It took at least three women like this, that were kind of similar but better versions of myself, for me to realise that point, and for it to become a song. All of these women in their own right have inspired me, because they were more forgiving in a relationship, more adventurous or more independent. Qualities I thought I had myself, but once you meet someone who is really that which you believe yourself to be, it’s humbling and inspiring at the same time. And once that finally started to dawn on me, it translated into a song.
Check out more In Residence sessions: