“Water is life. Water can’t be stopped. Water always carves its own ways. Fela Kuti once addressed this symbolism in his resistance hymn “Water Get No Enemy”. Y’akoto, too, feels a strong bond to water, to the sea and its “boundless and arousing forces.”
Y’akoto, who was brought up in the Ghanaian harbour town Tema and nowadays commutes between her adopted home city Hamburg, Paris, Stockholm, Los Angeles and the African coastal centres Dakar, Accra and Lomé. The soulful and captivating sounds from Y’akoto has attracted many admirers to her unparalleled sound of music. With her ability to caress listeners ears with her voice, and combine her love of culture with her art, Y’akoto has proven to be an artist of depth and charisma. With the release of her new album entitled ‘Mermaid Blues’, we found out more regarding her love for music, the arts and her heritage.
What do you love about music?
Y’AKOTO: I’m a passionate musician, I love sitting at my piano and improvising. As a songwriter I have to trust my guts and own ideas. It mostly all starts with the intention to express myself. I like that music can be created at any time of the day. Sometimes it starts with just a word, or a melody. All in all it is a magical process, finally recording a song in the studio, when two weeks prior it was just a vivid Idea you had whilst washing dishes.
How would you describe your style of music?
The lyrics and the melody are the most important to me. After I have that, I let the song guide me to a certain style of music. I don’t limit myself to a particular style, but if I’d have to, “Soul Seeking Music” Would be the accurate term. I simply live my life and describe the process of being alive, through my own experiences and through observing others. I realised people in general are always looking for something in life: Love, Happiness, purpose…
Your new album is entitled Mermaid Blues, tell us about the artistic direction that you decided to take with this album?
It was about sensuality and freedom. I wanted to create the ultimate “mermaid flow” My very “feminist Producers” in Sweden understood that very well. I mean, if you listen to the bass line in “King of the dark” it just takes you far… Music is also about giving space. I never want my music to sound overloaded.
Read the full article in the March – April issue.
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