She Got the Rhythm!: Juliyaa’s Take on Music and Femininity Tuesday 04 October, 2011

Juliyaa-verse-2-grab

Rooted in African rhythms, layered with  soul vocals and the high energy of UK urban music, Juliyaa effortlessly combines different genres in to a sound she calls ‘Rhythmic Soul’. She was raised listening to her mother’s traditional Ghanaian gospel and hi life, and her father’s classic vinyl collection of soul and reggae artists like Bob […]

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Juliyaa

Rooted in African rhythms, layered with  soul vocals and the high energy of UK urban music, Juliyaa effortlessly combines different genres in to a sound she calls ‘Rhythmic Soul’. She was raised listening to her mother’s traditional Ghanaian gospel and hi life, and her father’s classic vinyl collection of soul and reggae artists like Bob Marley, Al Green and The Maytals. With her sultry soul voice, and trademark retro style, Juliyaa is renowned for delivering uptempo and fun-filled live performances. In the run up to her single release, Juliyaa has been performing with her band at some of London’s hottest venues including The Roundhouse, Regal Rooms, Camden Proud and The Troubadour. Here Juliyaa discusses her musical journey, femininity and take on what it means to live unchained.

Can you tell us about yourself? 
Well, I grew up in North London to a Welsh father and a Ghanaian mother.  My name is a combination of my European name ‘Julia’ and Ghanaian name ‘Yaa’ meaning ‘Thursday Born’.  I started singing at a young age in my mother’s church, and wrote my first song at the age of seven.  Music was a part of my life growing up and there were a lot of eclectic influences that have influenced my musical style. Mum was in to Ghanaian gospel and hi-life which meant that every Sunday morning I was awoken to the sound of her cassette player blasting out songs – they were good times.  Growing up music was about family, and about culture and it has always signified something about who I am and what my parents have passed on to me.

 

Is there an overall message to your music? What do you want your fans to take away?

I write songs about the different things that I experience in life.  I sing about love, the London underground, Ghana, dreams, my faith – anything and everything.  I would say that I would like to bring positivity and light through my music, and help people to enjoy the beauty and the fun in life. I want to bring a smile to the faces of the people who listen to my music.  I want to inspire hope if they are in a dark or difficult situation. I want people to listen to my music and understand the emotions that I am expressing, and for the words to resonate with them.

What do you love most about being a woman?

I love having the privilege to express my femininity to the world, and to have the opportunity to have a family one day.  I am proud to call myself an African woman and love to identify myself with the strength, dignity, and gentleness that my mother modeled to me.

Finally, what does living unchained mean to you?
Living unchained for me means enjoying a free, passionate relationship with God.  It means being free to love others, free to forgive others who have wronged me, and free not to care what others think of me.  It means being free to be myself and who I was created to be.

 

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