Rarely do artists arrive as fully formed as AKOSIA. Australia’s new voice in contemporary soul-pop is starting her campaign in music with an intention and assured materiality that most artists spend decades cultivating.
Looking in from the outside, Akosia grew up in what appeared to be the average suburban neighbourhood of Melbourne. Her proudly Ghanaian parents moved to Australia when Akosia was only 2-years-old, finding solace in a close-knit Christian community. Immersed within her residential cocoon, at a young age Akosia began to sing at the local church and won a scholarship at the national children's choir of Australian. As a child, Akosia was made aware of the differences in her origin, complexion and upbringing by her schoolyard peers. In response, her formative years were spent in a world of her own as she retreated into poetry, dance and acting.
As a young adult, Akosia’s curiosity and fascination with the performing arts blossomed into a musical love story when she began collaborating with friends. Unbeknownst at the time, the creative life raft that kept this young artist afloat would go on to become the foundation of the Akosia we now see before us. Eventually Akosia started branching out through different mediums and soon enough, her childhood purpose began materialising as a solo artist. As Akosia so deftly explains it: “I was nursing a voice and a dream within me that I needed to release.”
Today, Akosia’s sonic inspirations seem somewhat limitless, sewn in the writings of Maya Angelou and Billy Chapata plus the music of Sade, Miles Davis and many more. The impact of the eclectic musical patchwork of influences can be felt in her work, which is as dynamic visually as it is sonically. For Akosia, every element of expression is thought-through, finely-tuned and perfected. Her multidimensional approach as an artist is rooted in her long history as a creative shape shifter, a polymath and triple-threat; actress, model, as well as a singer-songwriter.
After teasing audiences with the track ‘Don’t Say’ in 2019, this year Akosia returns with her debut self-titled EP. The lead single from her EP release is the euphoric, heart-swelling ‘Speechless’, a song recorded in a “magical” session with Jerome Farah, known for his work on the Kian hit ‘Waiting’. An unabashed, heart-on-its-sleeve love song, ‘Speechless’ captures the feeling of being so engulfed by love you feel completely untouchable.
Examining the joys and complications of relationships is one of Akosia’s talents as a songwriter and this is delivered in abundance through her work. Across the EP she explores sex, love, trust, self-reflection, connection and separation. But she also digs into the feeling of wrestling with uncertainty and the inability to succumb to love completely. “I was trying to be honest about this aspect of love and life, which isn’t so binary,” Akosia explains. “It’s not about being just happy or just sad, sometimes it’s both. Sometimes it ebbs and sometimes flows and sometimes it’s just confusing. I create music not only to reflect my own experiences but to reflect the complexities of the human heart, mind and spirit. I dream for my music to become somewhat of a love language.”
The remainder of the EP was produced with Grammy-nominated super producer Willie Taffa, who has also worked with the likes of Ariana Grande and Ella Mai. Together, the sound the pair have crafted is bright, smooth and sensual, with each track buoyed by Akosia’s soulful vocals. Alongside writing and recording her EP, Akosia’s passion lives in live performance and already her work is turning the right heads. This year Akosia was chosen to perform as part of Mushroom’s The State of Music series, where she was introduced by Tones & I.
Akosia has set her intent; creating musical waves with a far reach and a distinct echo. “It's my dream for my music to be part of the soundtrack to people's lives by leaving a strong impact that will help people to engage deeply with themselves,” she says. “I want to help people navigate through life and provide joy, happiness and contemplation.”
Within this vision, Akosia acknowledges the importance of representation and fluidity. “I am so much more than what meets the eye, we all are, and I have a deep desire to communicate this fluidity, this freedom, through my art,” she says. “I want to bring diversity to the music industry; not only in the most literal sense but figuratively speaking.” Akosia’s soulful connection mirrors her nuanced experience growing up in Australia. She continues: “I am neither here nor there, I am a culmination of both explored in context through the different dimensions of love and reality. My music is strong, soft and ever evolving.”
So to meet the next big voice in Australian music, step into the intoxicating world of Akosia.