Written by Alessa Frenkel
Meet Boadi, a 24-year-old from Southwest London whose music will make you fall in love with him instantly – I know I did. His EP AwoMaa is a combination of the best of soul, jazz and reggae with a touch of individuality that will take you by surprise.
I had the opportunity to interview the aspiring musician and if his music shows anything of his vibrancy for life, his personality does even more so. Boadi came across as a down-to-earth kid striving to make his stance on the music industry with a heart to connect to his listeners. And his music certainly can make you feel some type of way.
A: Tell me about yourself. Where are you from?
B: Originally from Ghana. I was actually born and raised in Southwest London.
A: How did you get into music?
B: It was always just kind of a thing in my household; we’ve always sang. My mom would always sing stupid stuff to get me to do things like she would sing to get me awake. We would always just sing together but I never really took it seriously. I used to sing at choir in school and then just remember one day thinking do you know what? Why not try and take this seriously?
A: And then you also picked up the guitar?
B: Yeah, I used to have lessons when I was really young but I never took it seriously. I felt like I was pushed to do it so I never took it serious and then when I decided to do music again I was like do you know what? Let me just try and incorporate it. So, I can play a bit of it. I play a bit of keys, play a bit of bass, play the guitar.
A: When was it that you said I’m serious about this? Was there any specific moment?
B: I used to do sports. I was actually really fast! So, it was always either athletics or music. I was like 18 or 19. I don’t know, I guess I just geared more towards the music side of things.
A: I think it’s really interesting because your sound is so jazzy and there’s so many different influences. I was not expecting the drop in Only You, that reggae vibe in there!
B: [Laughs] Yeah, I think that’s just one of my influences man.
A: What would you say are your influences?
B: Loads! From the African perspective, there’s Fela Kuti, Ebo Taylor and then I have D’Angelo, Badu that kind of vibe. Jazzy stuff like Roy Hargrove. Reggae, I’m a big Dennis Brown fan, Bob Marley of course. Big John Mayer as well. I feel like my sound is a mixture of a bit of everything.
A: If you had to classify yourself, where would you put yourself?
B: I would say soul. What would you say?
A: That’s what I would have said too. I would have said soul/jazz. I’m huge on Chance The Rapper and it kinda reminded me of very souly early jazzy stage of his album Surf. I feel like that could be a great collab one day.
[Laughs] You never know!
B: So, tell me about your EP AwoMaa. What does it mean?
My grandma’s name is Awo and “Maa” in Twi, a local dialect in Ghana, means “child”. So, it basically means I’m a child of my grandma.
A: I love that! Do you produce yourself or is it someone else who produces for you?
B: 90% is all me. It just takes time you know. My first stuff was shit, excuse my language. It just took a lot of time. I feel like when I first started out, I was working with a lot of people but they weren’t understanding what I was trying to get to. So, it took me like 2 years to literally take a break to learn production and to get what was in my head out if that makes sense.
A: When you sit down and write your music what does your songwriting process look like? Is it more like you go out and see something and you say, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to go back and write a song?’ or is it more like ‘I’m gonna sit down right now and think of something’?
B: It literally depends from track to track. For me there isn’t one defined thing. Normally it’s always like there’s one thing I think about and I’m like cool, let’s build on that, that makes sense. So, for example Only You I literally only had the intro done, the bass line and just built on stuff. Or sometimes I have the words down already but I have to build the track around the words. For The Feeling I had the instrumental down but I had to build the words so it just depends.
A: And what about the music video for Only You? I love the black and white theme!
B: I always go for an old school vibe really. What I pictured when I was writing it was what you can see in the visuals.
A: When you write a song, do you picture the music video that goes with it automatically? Do you see the whole picture as a piece of art or is it more like ‘this kind of fits’?
B: [Laughs] I feel like it comes after when I can see the full big picture and say ‘This would make sense’. But I wouldn’t say that it’s the initial phase of ‘Can this go with a video?’. It’s more once I’ve built it then I get an image of what I’m creating.
A: Where do you see yourself in the future ideally as a picture of you creatively?
B: Ideally just to be able to be independent, touring worldwide. Just to be able to financially live off of my music fulltime. That for me is the dream!
A: I’d love to see more of the live session of Seasons. It’s probably my favorite song off of the EP.
B: I did that purposefully! [Laughs] Come to the live show, I’ve given you a little taster. That [song] was a funny one you know. I started growing vegetables in my bedroom and then from the process of seeing it grow I kind of related to a relationship.
A: Now that’s an artist through and through – when you can take vegetables and they inspire you to write a really good song. So are you touring more around London?
B: That’s what I’m trying to do now. I wanna be gigging regularly through London and try to get a European thing going.
A: Who would you like to collaborate with?
B: Mate, I would love to sit in a session with anyone that was involved with making the Voodoo album for D’Angelo just to pick their brains and gain some knowledge.
A: One last question I have for you – what is your message to your listeners?
B: I feel like my main thing is that I want to evoke emotions. I want people to hear the music and make you feel some type of way if that makes sense. That’s the main thing. I want to get the message across and touch you. As long as I can touch you and make you feel a certain way, I feel like I’ve done the job that I’m trying to do.
A: That’s the purpose of music, isn’t it? We all want to connect to something and see ourselves in it.
B: Exactly! When people can listen and appreciate it, that’s amazing to me. For me, everything I record is from my bedroom. So, when I come from my bedroom and people are singing my songs, I’m like woah!
A: I’ve been reading so much more about bedroom artist and the reach people have these days is incredible.
B: I feel like with your bedroom you have so much more creative freedom cause there’s certain environments where you’re pressured to make something a certain way. But because you’re there in your own room there’s no limits. So, I’m definitely bedroom gang.
You heard it here first – bedroom gang for the win. Listen to AwoMaa below!