Interview

Voodoo Pussy: Meet Azizaa, the Ghanaian Artist Challenging Western Religion

We talk voodoo, Yoruba spirituality and Beyoncé's 'Lemonade' with Ghanaian singer Azizaa.

Ghanaian artist Azizaa first bewitched us with her unique brand of "Voodoo Music" last year when she dropped the song and video for her single "Black Magic Woman." The singer vehemently criticized Western religion and what she believes is its toxic hold on Ghanaians. Her delivery was clever and assertive, and she had the stylistic prowess to match.


Not much has changed since then. The singer's conscious decision to embrace more traditional forms of African spirituality continues to guide her artistic endeavors and we continue to be intrigued. The singer says that her upcoming album Vodua will give listeners a deeper look into her complex spiritual world.

We got a glimpse ahead of time by checking in with the anomalous artist. We talk voodoo (of course), Yoruba spirituality by way of Beyoncé's Lemonade, and the creation of her aptly named new single, "Voodoo Pussy," which the singer describes as "an ode to women everywhere who know the power of their magic box."

Read the conversation below featuring photography by Dexter R. Jones.

Azizaa. Photography by Dex R. Jones.

Can you give us some background about yourself and how you got started?

I come from a family that sings, almost everyone is a musician in my family. It also stems from our culture. In the Ewe culture, there's a song for almost everything.

Can you tell us how voodoo has influenced your art?

I think voodoo is what I call art, because I am unable to find an English word for it.

Is there a difference between voodoo and religions like santeria?

I believe they're the same thing. Santeria is heavily influenced by the Orishas system from Yoruba culture whereas Voodoo is the ancestral way of worship from the Dahomey culture. It's technically the same or a similar form of spiritual practice from two different cultures.

What do you think of Beyoncé’s Orisha symbolism in her recent Lemonade release, does it make you feel better to have people more aware of the culture?

Absolutely! I was happy to see Lemonade. For me its an introduction of the African deities/Orisha to the masses.

Let's talk about "Voodoo Pussy" and the rest of the album. Tell us about this new release.

I recorded #VoodooPussy at Villain sounds in Ghana. It was produced by Kuvie, the same producer who produced "Black Magic Woman," then I brought it up to Brooklyn to RadianLab and got it mixed and mastered by Moni Delgado who also added some sick background vocals. Some songs on the album are produced by other producers. I like to experiment with how I create my sound and art, but I like to stick to the people I work with for the simple fact that my voice requires a sound engineer who gets it, besides, I don' t like special effects on my voice.

Azizaa. Photography by Dex R. Jones.

Your previous single "Black Magic Woman" denounced Christianity, will the rest of the album follow that theme?

Yeah, pretty much. The album is called VODUA which means "The Deity" so the album has a bit of a trap, where you get a peep into the demented mind of a "Black Magic Woman" and you get to see how I interact with the spirits I see and dance with.

What other projects are you working on right now?

I have a jewelry line called KORGA Pieces. 'Korga' means something beautiful to adorn the neck with, and as part of our culture the size of your neck piece speaks volumes about your elegance so it takes weeks and sometimes months to create a Korga piece. The black piece I had on my neck in the black magic woman video took 6 months to create and required 8 hours a day of work. I just introduced my intimate jewelry collection to the website

Keep up with Azizaa on Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram  and via her website.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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