Since 2015, Ghanaian/Nigerian artist and performer Joy Onyinyechukwu Adomaa Serwaa Adjeman, better known simply as Adomaa, has been impressing listeners with her instinctual fusion of Afro-jazz, highlife, neo-soul and experimental sounds. Her first long-form release, the impressive "Afraba" EP, arrived in 2016 and highlighted Adomaa's interest in a wide spectrum of music, from pop and rock to classical. She also made waves on the big screen, taking a significant role in 2017's "Bad Luck Joe". But after winning awards in Ghana and achieving international acclaim, she realized she needed to take a step back and reconsider her priorities. After a three-year struggle with depression, she returned to the spotlight in 2020 with "Barely Adomaa", a compilation of older unreleased songs that made up the first part of a proposed trilogy of releases that deals with her struggles and passions head-on. Simultaneously, Adomaa also re-emerged as an actor, taking the titular lead role in popular TV show "Dede".
Now, Adomaa is ready to reveal the ambitious second installment in her triptych: an audiovisual, theatrical selection of heartfelt tracks that waves cinematic smoke around Adomaa's delicate, vulnerable and soulful lyrics. Imagined as not just an album, but a short film, a documentary and a three-hour music that fully explores Adomaa's complex journey, "Becoming Adomaa" is an expressive, emotional narrative from an artist who refuses to wall herself in to just one mode of expression. Just as her earliest music nudged into different genres and styles, "Becoming Adomaa" uses Adomaa's wide-ranging talents to tell a multi-faceted story of rebirth and perseverance in the face of challenge. It begins with the minimal and unsettling 'You Used To Love Me', a widescreen, scene-setting track that brings listeners up to date with Adomaa's mindset and journey. After explaining how she wishes she'd made music just for herself instead of to please others, Adomaa introduces a tight chronological mashup of her back-catalogue, plunging us into her creative universe while concurrently cleansing herself of her past.
Led by an evocative and subtly joyful vocal rhythm, 'In the Clouds' is indicative of the level of magic is capable of creating. Both unashamed operatic pop and coolly experimental soul, the track showcases Adomaa's range and is as memorable as any glittering movie theme; 'Circus' is even more poised, decorating Adomaa's characteristic voice with carnivalesque instrumentation and downtempo jazz groans. It's her light touch that's most impressive: on 'Crash' she signals to highlife history with the most delicate whisper, using a gossamer woodblock beat and joyful acoustic guitar riffs to carry her soaring vocals. Saving orchestral flourishes until the song's final act, she recounts the period of her life when she gave up on music and was looking for something different. Adomaa found her salvation when she was cast in a Nigerian TV series, and she explains this in 'Utopia', before bringing us right up to the present moment on the jazzy closing track 'Beginning Again'.
Motivated by her own desires and making music on her own terms, Adomaa has never been more driven in her creative odyssey. "Becoming Adomaa" is a fresh start that doesn't seek to erase the past, but build on it towards a future that's completely unwritten.