Jane Awindor, better known by her stage name Efya, is a Ghanaian singer, songwriter, and actress from Kumasi. She is the daughter of Nana Adwoa Awindor, a filmmaker and celebrity host of the late television show Greetings From Abroad. We caught up with her to find out more about her life, journey, musical thoughts and plans for the future. Enjoy!
1. What are your fondest musical memories?
Wow! A lot has happened! As the years have gone by, I’ll say performing at Barclays Center in New York City was awesome, the One Africa Music Fest at the Toyota Center. I’ll say almost every time I’m on stage, it’s a great memory because we get to impact so much on the people that listen to us. Also, during my childhood, when I used to sing in church. Those were some pretty good memories I can take into account because I think it structured my growth.
2. How did you get started in music and what gave you the motivation to stay with it?
I had always been singing since I was younger. I’ve been singing from church to secondary school and I did a little singing in the choir in the university. I think it became much more serious when we did the competition. Stars Of The Future was basically my entry into the industry. When it comes to singing, I have been singing since I was a child. After Stars Of the Future, I realized it was something I could actually do for a living so through Irene & Jane and all the other stuff that we did during that transition from Stars Of The Future.
I just had this feeling that I had found what my purpose was and that was to make music and I just kept going even though it wasn’t easy. When we started, there was a lot of difference with the music that we were doing and the music that was accepted in the country and I think that is one of the reasons why we are still here today.
3. If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?
Well, there’s a lot to remember when it comes to the fans- they’ve been awesome, they’ve been supportive, they’ve been here riding with us. It’s been 8 strong years of Gingam Massiveness. I will just want them to remember me for my music. That’s the only thing that lives on. For the music that I’ve done, for those I’m about to do. There’s a lot more that we are about to do so I think they’ll have more to remember as time goes on as long as we stay alive, stay strong and stay determined, I definitely know that there a lot more memories to make for the fans.
Shout outs to all the young girls and the women who come for Girl Talk. Those women are amazing! Their support is mind-blowing! I’ll definitely say that even though we’ve done a lot, there’s a lot more to do. The fans should just keep on loving and supporting us and we will give them so many more memories.
4. What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while working on a song?
I think there was a time I had to go record with Stonebwoy and it was in Ashaiman. It wasn’t weird but it was quite interesting, for me, because I had never been to Ashaiman. We went to this part of Ashaiman and it was like a ‘ghetto‘- you take all these turns and out of nowhere, you just appear in front of this big ass house in the middle of the ‘ghetto’ with a big ass studio. I was so blown and excited at the same time because I hadn’t seen anything like that and I had an amazing experience. I think it was when we were recording for my album when we did Hele Mi. It wasn’t weird. I wouldn’t say weird, I wouldn’t say I’ve had any weird studio experiences but it’s been great!
5. How do you feel about the way people interpret your songs?
Everybody takes the message in a different way. You might be talking about love and somebody who has been heartbroken will not understand why you’re talking about love in such a way because they’ve never experienced it. You might be talking about helping people and somebody will understand because they are always helping people. I believe the point is to put the message out there and let everybody take what they will take out of it. If it’s taken the wrong way, I can’t really correct everybody because there’s a lot of people but I normally do hope that they do get the message the way I wanted to imply so it’s not mistaken to be something else and I don’t think that has happened on a large scale but I try as much as possible to be clear with my point. Most of the songs I do are love songs or empowering songs so it’s basically straightforward like “Love each other” or “Let’s help each other to get to where it is that we all want to get to” because Together, we are better.
6. What do you think about the new generation of Ghanaian artists and how are they different from those of your generation?
We are grateful for the new generation. It’s great to see young artists coming up and doing their own thing. When I started making music, people used to tell me my music is weird and that it’s not for Ghana. I think the difference is not that much because we also maintained our ground and stuck to what we believed in and didn’t stop fighting for what is that we believed that we were capable of. It’s also grateful to see that they are strong and the thing is we have supported them with their growth and helped them put their music out there. Most of the artists that have already been here are very very very excited about the new generation of Ghanaian artists that are coming up and I think that with the push between us and them, there is no way that Ghanaian music is not going to another level right now because we definitely have all the things that we need, right here when it comes to all types of genres of music and it’s amazing to see that bridge is being gapped and I’m really excited about it and I can’t wait to see what’s gonna happen next. Everybody is pushing, everybody is making moves and I think that’s beautiful especially for Ghana because even though we are small, we have very very powerful music and every time you see Ghanaian music gone somewhere, it’s because we all supported it and pushed it. I’m very grateful for the new generation. It’s magical and I can’t wait to see where we go from here. For all of us.
7. What do you think your listeners will get out of your music?
When people listen to my music, I believe that they feel what I feel. I’ve always felt that way about my music. I put a lot of soul in it so I see me putting out this energy into the world where people feed on that energy and that’s basically my point, to put music that one is affected by in a positive way, in a way that if you were feeling what I was feeling in that moment when you listened to my music you would understand or that it would calm you down in a situation of stress. I like to make comforting music to be able to access what it is I was feeling at that moment and to be able to correspond it to what it is that you are feeling.
8. What are your thoughts on the current state of music in Ghana?
We don’t have anywhere to go but up. We have so much magic and so much music all around. From the North to the south. Considering people like Fancy Gadam, King Ayisoba, Wiyaala..all the Kumasi rappers and singers… I’ve met some amazing musicians who some people do not even know about. I believe as time goes on, we can only go up and higher with the type of development that we have established with the labels and knowing that there’s much more structure in the industry is very comforting to know because now everybody knows about royalties, everybody knows how to get their serial numbers, everybody knows the right way to get into a contract or a deal with a label and I think putting that out there, as sometimes you guys do, educating musicians on the right moves to make and how to actually put their music out there in the right way where they make money from. It’s beautiful for us because the more structure we get with the music industry, the better it’ll be for the musicians because it’s not easy especially if you’re not signed to a label. Knowing all of these things is helping the musicians individually to learn more about the business part of the music and how to actually structure your music in order to reach the right audience. It’s only a matter of time. With people like Kwesi Arthur gone for BET, it’s all the way up and I believe we will do so much more especially as we work together. I think we are doing great for ourselves and we should support each other more and keep our heads up and keep it going. We are really small yet so powerful. When I travel abroad and I’m on stage singing and they are like ‘Where’s that girl coming from?’ and they respond with ‘she’s from Ghana‘ and they’re like ‘Wow‘. That’s that thing that we have, nobody will ever see us and not say ‘Wow!‘ because we are amazing.
9. What’s the weirdest and funniest thing you’ve been asked in an interview?
People ask me a lotta weird questions. It’s crazy! I’m sure you already know this- I’m a spirit, I believe, I’m a spirit and I’m a very flowing spirit. My energy is boundless. Errrm… I was doing this interview with Yvonne Okoro and she asked some questions about the Prime Minister of Switzerland or something. That was funny because I kept answering like I knew what it was but I didn’t. lol. Then she asked me something else and I was like bruh, Imma just faint this out so I just proceeded to faint. I think that was funny. People were saying I should go into acting because I think that was a good scene for me. Funny questions are always asked, I think it’s about how you answer them.
10. What is next for Efya?
I believe we are moving International! We’re moving international now. A lot has been done in Africa for me personally and I think it’s time I take my music to other borders. We’re gonna be doing a tour, we’re working on a Project, putting out singles, Mamee is the first and it’s probably going to be on the Album. We’re tryna put out some summer hits for the Banta. We’re just working, trynna put out content. We got some shows in London, the States, it’s summertime so we’re moving. Every move we make takes us to the next level. I believe it’s been an amazing journey but I’m also looking forward to everything that’s about to happen for Efya the brand, Efya the musician and I can’t wait. I’m excited about the new things that are happening. I believe there’s a reason and a time for everything and I think it’s a great time to spread my wings, do more and achieve more. As a person, it’s your fulfilments that keeps you going. I love being fulfilled, I love setting goals and achieving them so that’s basically what we are on now. Gingam to the world!