Meet Akosia, the Ghanian-Australian creating beauty with her new song, Better
The Melbourne-based musician's new single sees her strive for new heights, and reach them with a ferocity you can't get enough of.
Akosia seems like the type to strive at everything she puts her mind to. The Melbourne-based musician initially worked as an electrical engineer, while the culture of her Ghanian heritage influenced music's ever-present role in her life. Eventually, that turned into Akosia experimenting with art through her own means; first as a model, then an actress, and eventually as a musician herself - each realm of work being something that Akosia brings her everything to, regardless of how difficult or outside of their comfort zone it is.
It's something you can particularly see within the confines of her musical career, ever since making an entrance with her debut single Don't Say. In everything she's put out (Don't Say, in addition to 2020's Speechless and ISO back in July), Akosia strives for a genre-blending combination of textures indebted to music's past, present and future; splashes of soul, jazz, pop, R&B, indie and hip-hop dancing amongst an assuredness that thrives throughout Akosia's vision, from her music right down to the greater visuals and theming of the entire project.
Her latest single, however - the Friday-arriving Better - shows that more than anything she's ever done before. It's a step-up for someone whose career sees her constantly evolving and growing, pushing her musicality to create an enchanting blend that welcomes new meanings and energies when combined with the greater visual universe she creates - this almost robotic, futuristic display that ties into the forward-thinking prowess of Akosia as a voice of Australia's bright future ahead.
Musically, Better still stands on its own. It's a constantly shifting cut that switches between this alt-R&B/pop-like presence and something a little more ferocious and edgy-ish, with producer Rob Amoruso leading Akosia through this emotional, inwards-facing journey that on Better, is brought to life with a class and talent that's distinctive to Akosia's rise. "Better has a bit of a mean streak to it which I love and personally she feels like a doorway that I've stepped through," she says. "Music is the love of my life, I don't wish to be boxed into a musical genre that I didn't create, I'm here to explore sounds, textures and honesty. Yeah, I am changing, I am bolder and I'm speaking my mind through my music with more clarity."
It's clear that Akosia has her sights on versatility and genre-mixing experimentation, and on Better, it's something that she strives for and reaches with ease, amongst a hot-bed of reflection that proves a highlight of her songwriting. "I was dealing with a challenging relationship; everything just felt like it was 100 all the time, passionate highs, devastating lows and a lot of unnecessary confrontations," she continues. "Internally I was like seriously just chill, take it down a notch for me and slow the f*ck down. I was into it and wanted to please them, figure them out but I was also so close to walking away to soothe myself. Music is how I process my big emotions and shambled thoughts, and writing Better helped me make a choice."
It's an incredible single, pushing Akosia further towards a victorious future as one of Australia's most exciting acts. We're sure that day isn't too far away, but in the meantime, take a listen to Better below, and introduce yourself to Akosia underneath - she's definitely someone you're going to want to keep an eye out for.
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Melbourne surrounded by music, my father would play the tunes of Satchmo, B.B King and Miles Davis in the afternoon and my mother would hum gospel songs all day long. There was something about her, as she sang there was a mood of joy that would start from her face and touch anyone lucky enough to be nearby. My father’s expansive knowledge of music and my mother's internal joy laid down important foundations. Being a songwriter is natural for me, it’s something that I’ve grown up knowing, it is my love, my family, my culture.
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
My music is luscious and immersive, at times I’m the soft voice in your ear providing solace and calm and other times I’m right there beside you egging you on to be the baddest version of yourself, giving you permission to feel that emotion that you’ve tried to suppress or deny.
My songs are a representation of my reality. I write about the themes and moments in my life that have changed me deeply which I just can’t ignore. I'm a very private person, I won’t tell you about what happened to me directly but through the filter of a song, I’ll bare it all.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
When I hear the beginnings of a new song I see colours in my mind. I’m immersed in 3D like experience of sound, emotions, and soft colours. It’s difficult for me to explain exactly how I write, but essentially I do a lot of what I call “open listening”. Listening to the sounds around me, to the sensations in my body, to the ideas in my mind, then I gently tease them out like a silk thread and through a process of repetition and singing, the ideas weave into a song. Somewhere in that process I’ll pick up my guitar, or sit by the piano to let my instruments gently persuade me where to go.
When the moment feels right I’ll have a session with a producer and after we get to know each other and catch a vibe I’ll show them the song that starts to nag at me the most, then I take a step back so that they can fly. Collaboration is such an important part of the creative process, it elevates a song and gives it depth. Listen, the time I spend in the studio with my favourite producers is so sacred, there is nothing better than the moment where all the pieces click into place and we both jump up fist pumping!
Can you tell us about your new single, Better?
Better came out of a place of sheer frustration. I was trying to improve myself and my craft but at the same time, I had to deal with an intense relationship. Everything just felt like it was 100 all the time, passionate highs, devastating lows and a lot of unnecessary confrontations. Music is how I process my big emotions and shambled thoughts, and writing Better was the cure.
Rob Amoruso produced the song, I can not deal with him!! He is an absolute legend and when I first heard it I started yelling in disbelief, I wasn’t ready. Better is a monster, it slaps so hard and has a bit of a mean streak to it, which I love. With Jacob Farah’s intoxicating bass line I am just done with the three of us. It is so energetic and gets me hyped everytime.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2021 and beyond?
Honestly, for the rest of 2021 I’m just holding on to my guitar. As my headlining shows get postponed one by one, writing music keeps me anchored and feeds my soul, well perhaps “soul” isn’t the right term. I have this space inside that only the creation of new music can fill, I’ve learned not to neglect it, it’s my home.
Beyond that? I wish for the music industry to bounce back so that I can share all the beautiful music that I’ve been writing and put on an incredible show with my band. There is an EP in the works and an album after that, that I'm selectively crafting.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
It's my dream for my music to be part of the soundtrack to people's lives, leaving a strong echo that helps people to engage deeply with themselves and navigate through life. I want to provide sensuality, exhilaration, closure, safety and contemplation. I want you to feel with me.
Where can we find more of your music?
Follow me on all the major streaming services and add me to your playlists. I am on all of them, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal you get the drift.