Nana Adjoa’s Music Grows Towards the Abstract

Sometimes art is obvious in its intentions. Sometimes it’s up to interpretation. Indie artist Nana Adjoa may have started out with a more stern form of music, but is now blossoming into a musical world of the abstract.

Born and raised in Amsterdam by a Dutch mother and Ghanaian father, Adjoa found herself using English to escape the harshness of reality. She would lock herself away with English-language films and music and let her creativity grow.

As a teenager she started as a bassist in a cover band, playing songs by English-speaking bands like Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine. But it wasn’t until she was older and more confident in herself that she started experimenting with her own sound. Now, she has several EPs and a debut full-length, Big Dreaming Ants, slated to come out Sept. 24.

“In the past, I was searching more for what I wanted to do,” Adjoa tells BTRtoday. “[Now] it’s more of allowing yourself to go with your gut feeling instead of totally being insecure.”

Big Dreaming Ants is a beautiful hodgepodge of creativity, featuring sounds that shoot beyond the binds of any genre to create its own musical dimension. From indie rock to pop, soul to grunge—the intricate instrumentation hits all kinds of different musical tastes, but never lingers for too long. Adjoa’s angelic vocals describe vague encounters that evoke a range of emotions, from melancholic to empowered, making it relatable for any listener.

Nana Adjoa – “No Room”

Though she sticks with English, her main tool for escapism, that doesn’t mean Adjoa avoids her heritage. Take for example, the music video for “No Room,” a single from the upcoming album. The song, about stagnating in small talk, is paired with a picturesque video set in a dream-like scenario that’s completely submerged in Ghanaian culture.

“My mind has grown towards this abstract feel which also runs creativity and I always lean towards English for some reason,” she says. “[For me] the things that are more abstract, like music and film, were always in English and the daily stuff was in Dutch—it’s really funny when I start writing or singing in Dutch, [because] it feels really strange, it’s too direct.”

Hear the entire interview with Nana Adjoa along with tracks from past EPs and from the upcoming album Big Dreaming Ants (out 9/24 on Bloomer Records) on this week’s episode of The Music Meetup.