Interview
Afrofusion Artist, DARKUA Is Here and Ready To Go

Afrofusion Artist, DARKUA Is Here and Ready To Go

Photo Credit: As0mani

Ever since I caught her performance for her single ‘’Amalelor’’, I made a mental note to check out the Afrobeats / AfroSoul artiste’s catalogue. What got me interested? Her stagecraft, choosing to perform a live set instead of the normal miming over dj set and her vocals. She does not possess a Whitney Houston or Beyonce-esque vocal abilities, but she can hold a note.

Her answer to my question: ”why she performs a live set when she could do a set backed by a DJ?” was what sparked my interest in her craft and the desire to talk to Darkua.

I notice that I improve with each live performance. It’s what I call “free vocal and stage presence training.” I can tell when I’m on key, I can communicate and connect with the audience better, and I always get to perform my songs how I want it.

Naa Darkua Chinonye Wristberg known professionally as Darkua is a Ghanaian/Nigerian-born musician whose music reflect her African origins with other foreign musical elements to produce distinct sounds. However, Darkua’s abilities are not only limited to the Afropop/afro-soul genres.

Before gaining any notability in the music industry, Darkua has constantly been surrounded by music. The Wristberg house was filled with music from the likes of A.B Crenstil, E.T Mensah, Lagbaja, K.K Fosu, and Weird MC. The musical exposure not only inspired Darkua’s music interest. It also helped define her sound. from an early age. Hearing her mother suggest she becomes a musician when she was just fourteen years old partly inspired her to become a musician. ”I wanted to be an accountant, so I convinced myself that I could do music as a hobby. But, hey, here I am, with music as my main job”. Darkua would tell me in an e-mail interview.

In 2021, Darkua released her debut single “Amalelor” to announce her presence in the Ghanaian Music industry. Which quickly became a fan favourite and was played across FM stations nationwide. After her initial release, she has since released “Go Low” and two videos for both singles. Darkua also was nominated for the 2022 ‘3 Music Awards’ as “Emerging Woman Of The Year”.

My voice is what sets me apart. You may have the ability to sound like me. You can sound better than or similar to Darkua, but not exactly the same. And my skin.. oh my skin.

Photo Credit: As0mani

CulArtBlog caught up with Darkua to talk about her music career, recent media tours and what distinguishes her from other artists. She also opened up about her experiences since turning music from a hobby to a career as well as her ambitions.

Here’s a quick Q&A with the songstress:

How will you describe yourself to a younger niece or nephew?

Your aunty is a real-life Moana; headstrong, bold, daring, playful, takes her responsibilities very seriously, and has an amazing singing voice. The only difference is your aunty makes money with her amazing singing voice.

At what stage did you know you were going to be an artist and when did you decide to pursue it as a career?

When I was about 14 years old, my mother suggested that I consider becoming a professional musician when I grew up. I wanted to be an accountant, so I convinced myself that I could do music as a hobby. But, hey, here I am, with music as my main job.

What genre of music would you call what you do?

Growing up, different genres of music from different cultures were always played at home. That made me love almost every music genre. So, I’ll classify it as afro-fusion. That’s because it’s every other genre plus Afrobeats. 

I have seen you on stage once and you performed a live acoustic set. are live acoustic performances going to be your trademark?

Before I started recording my own songs, I started with live music. I performed other people’s songs at events with either a guitar, a keyboard, or a full band. It’s something that has always been and will be a part of me.

What do you think live performances contribute to your overall artistic growth?

I notice that I improve with each live performance. It’s what I call “free vocal and stage presence training.” I can tell when I’m on key, I can communicate and connect with the audience better, and I always get to perform my songs how I want it.

You have been on a media tour outside of Accra- which is great considering a lot of emerging artists don’t. what motivated you to go that way?

I’m not one for following trends. If I follow trends, it’s just for fun, because if I take it personal, what happens when that trend fades away? Aside from that, my team and I saw that we were getting a lot of streams from Kumasi so we decided to take the trip and the love I got was something I wasn’t expecting. 

What did you learn during your media tours and did the tour meet your expectations?

It exceeded my expectations because, since that trip, my songs have received more airplay in Kumasi than in Accra, and none of this would have been possible without the help of Sabog. Many thanks to him.

You have released three good singles – You, Amalelor, Go Low. Each song has a different sonic feel. How did you approach the writing and recording process of these songs?

Whenever I set my mind to write a song, it has to be about an actual experience that I or someone close to me has had. If it’s something that someone else has gone through, I try to live in that moment so that I can convey the appropriate emotions into the process.

Photo Credit: As0mani

Have you been impressed by the response to the songs? was the song that performed beyond your expectations?

Yes! My debut ‘Amalelor’. I wasn’t expecting such a positive response to my debut song because it didn’t sound like everything else out there. It’s still a fan favourite.

What makes Darkua stand out from her peers?

My voice is what sets me apart. You may have the ability to sound like me. You can sound better than or similar to Darkua, but not exactly the same. And my skin.. oh my skin. *winks*

Despite the strides Ghanaian female artists are making, the female scene is not very competitive. do you agree with that view?

It’s not competitive because it doesn’t have to be competitive between women. We work in a male-dominated industry, and women are accomplishing more than most men. Shout out to Tems, Ayra, Amaarae, Gyakie, MzVee, and others who are doing great things and paving the way for myself, Essilfie, Ginius, Baaba J, and others.

We are nearing the 4th quarter of the year. What plans do you have from now to the end of the year?

Since you inquired, Ginius recently released an EP with me on track 5 of a song called ‘Melody.’ I have a lot in store for you before the end of the year, so take that one-hold body for now.

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