PHOTO CREDIT: Bibian Bingen  

Nana Adjoa


MY final piece (until tomorrow) is a chat with Nana Adjoa


  PHOTO CREDIT: Bibian Bingen

as she tells me about her new single, Sometimes Love Is Evil, and filming its video. I ask when music came into her life and which artists/albums are important to her – Adjoa reveals whether there will be new material coming along next year.

The Amsterdam-based songwriter talks about her touring plans and what it feels like being on stage; which rising artists we need to get involved with; whether she will come to the U.K. at any point – she offers some useful advice for musicians coming through.


Hi, Nana. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi! A good week it was. Been on the road a lot, which I like, and we played two gigs with the band. Also enjoying the strange summer weather in October we’re having here.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m a musician and singer. I write, record and produce music that’s floating somewhere between the genres of Alternative-Rock and Dream-Pop (with Urban influences). Lyrically poetic-ish but analytic. 

Sometimes Love Is Evil is your new track. Is there a personal story behind the song?

There isn’t one story behind it: it’s more story and analysis of my failed attempts in love combined. Never having had a ‘successful romantic relationship’ (because of reasons I’m still trying to figure out) and feeling the need, and also some pressure by yourself and others, to pursue it again and again.  

I really like the video for the track. Was it cool being involved in it?

Very cool! Kay, the director, and I first had conversations on the subject and I didn’t need to explain myself that much because he felt the vibe quite instantly. We talked about some movies on the subject (Like the Lobster and Under the Skin).

We agreed we didn’t want the video to be a portrayal of your typical couple of a man and a woman with just one storyline. Instead, we were looking to put more emphasis on different symbolics or even absurd features of people interacting without a narrative - more a collection of stories, happening in this incredible haunted-looking house. He and the rest of the team all perfectly filled it in and it was a fun and pretty natural experience! 

Might we see more material in 2019? How far ahead are you looking?

Well. We’re releasing more material this year: my third E.P., A Tale So Familiar, which also features Sometimes Love Is Evil. I’ve started writing and thinking on a concept for a new album. Still in the very early stages. But, I hope to release it in 2019, yes. 


 PHOTO CREDIT: Bibian Bingen

Give me a sense of when music came into your life. Did you grow up around a lot of different sounds?

My parents are both music lovers. My mother also plays the bass (which is my primary instrument as well). So, we always had music playing - mostly black music, ’70 Funk/Soul; Reggae and ’90s R&B. I had some trial and error with keyboard and guitar lessons before landing at my 'first love', the bass guitar. We had a basement in our house with a drum kit (belonging to my nephew); a bass amp and a guitar amp. So, we rehearsed there with my first bands. 

What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?

Reaching and meeting some new people/audiences in territories outside the Netherlands.


Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

The Eureka! moments in the studio after noodling around for hours are still the best moments on all accounts - and then the tour (in the Netherlands) with my band I’m playing with right now. I love being on the road; especially with them. Four very special people that inspire me. 

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)? 

That changes over time. So, for now, I’d say:

Grace - Jeff Buckley

It is (probably) always be high up my list. When first hearing this (in high-school), I felt like I found a new kind of spirit in music - a sound, approach and feeling I had never experienced before. Still, I can’t point out exactly what it is.

Channel Orange - Frank Ocean

This is one of my favorite records of the last ten years. I feel everything he does is real and exciting and just damn good. 

The Information - Beck

…or any other Beck record. Every time I listen to a Beck record, I still hear things in there I didn’t hear before. 


If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

The living artists of the above questions…but it would maybe be a bit of a strange match. Haha. Our rider is pretty basic: beer, fruit; chips and ginger beer for our tour manager. I’d maybe add a dartboard or a table tennis table if possible. 

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Find and invest in the people you work with. They need to be good at what they do, obviously. Preferably, you also like them on a personal level but, most importantly, they understand you and/or your music. 

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

World tour dates:

Oct 7th - Communion Presents @ Notting Hill Arts Club, London

Oct 11th - Effenaar, Eindhoven

Oct 14th - Bitterzoet, Amsterdam

Oct 18th - Luxor, Arnhem

Oct 24th - Paard, Den Haag 

Nov 6th - Communion Presents @ Rockwood, NYC 

Nov 8th - The catalyst Atrium, Santa Cruz* 

Nov 9th - The Independent, San Fran* 

Nov 10th - The Moroccan, LA* 

Nov 11th - Voodoo Room @ House of Blues, San Diego* 

Nov 12th - School Night LA 

*supporting City of the Sun


Do you think you’ll come to the U.K. and play next year?

I definitely want to, hope to and do everything I can to make it happen. 

How important is it being on the stage and playing your music to the people?

It’s very, very important because it’s an aspect in my life that gives me purpose. It’s a very different creative process than writing and (for me) it’s also a challenge every time and I like challenges. Each time is different, or should feel that way. And, it’s a shared experience, with your band, crew and the audience. Sharing is good. 


 IN THIS PHOTO: LUWTEN/PHOTO CREDIT: Eddo Hartmann Photography

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Here are some Dutch acts you need to check out: LUWTEN, Sofie Winterson, Felbm and Jo Goes Hunting


 IN THIS PHOTO: Sofie Winterson/PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Bellaart

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Surfing. I’m not good at all but I enjoy it every time. We have a (relatively) big coastline in the Netherlands, but the best waves are in the winter. So, when it’s flat, I like to just go out and have drink with people or stay in and watch football (soccer). Simple. 

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Deep WaterPortishead


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