Nana Fofie

Interview: Nana Fofie Talks About Her Cool Afro R&B Sound

Dutch Ghanaian Afro R&B singer-songwriter Nana Fofie recently released the music video for “Yeno Ntem,” a track from her forthcoming EP.

“Yeno Ntem” is a delicious summer jam, chock-full of smooth Afro-pop flavors and the scrumptious voice of Nana Fofie, whose sound is vaguely reminiscent of Sade’s voluptuous sophisti-pop.

The video, directed by Nana Fofie and Seretse Fulani, takes viewers into a vibrant house party, where party-goers are immersed in good music, dancing, and exhilarating fun.

Because of her skyrocketing popularity, including opening for Nicki Minaj in Amsterdam last year, as well as more than 10 million streams on Spotify and 15 million hits on YouTube, CelebMix sat down with Nana to find out more about how she got started in music, her influences, and what she’s listening to right now.

What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?

I love “Roll Some Mo” by Lucky Daye. It’s been out for some time now, but I just can’t get enough of it.

What artists are you listening to right now?

I love to listen to R&B artists such as Lucky Daye and Jhene Aiko. They are currently on high rotation in my own playlists. Lately, I’ve been listening to Notorious BIG for no particular reason. He’s just an all-time vibe and a legend.

What singers/musicians influenced you the most?

Lauryn Hill, Jazmine Sullivan, and Celine Dion are definitely amongst the artists that have influenced me when I grew up. I listened to a lot of songs by Jazmine Sullivan at the end of my teens. My parents played music from an incredibly wide range of artists such as Lauryn Hill and Celine Dion in the house. During my upbringing, they were very keen on exposing us to different kinds of music.

How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?

My family is talented. My dad was the best singer. I and my siblings definitely got that from him. My mom was the only one who couldn’t sing, but she was the best audience we could wish for. When I was 12, I performed in high school for the first time. The chills and energy that I got from performing on stage were amazing. Right then and there I decided it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What is your songwriting process?  Do the lyrics come first, or the music?

It all starts with the music. I prefer to work with a producer on a song from scratch. So I want him or her to make the beat whilst I tell them what kind of vibe I’m feeling at the moment. After that, I’ll think of a melody to add to the music. And lastly, I’ll write the lyrics.

Why do you make music?

Music is my passion. It is what I do and part of who I am. It’s a way that I can express myself and bring some positivity to the world. If I’m able to inspire and empower other female artists and women, in general, to go out there and believe that everything is possible, I’ve done my job. 

What was the inspiration for your new single “Yeno Ntem?”

There was no big inspiration. I made the song during my writing camp last year in the summer. The vibes were good and it was hot. We were in the studio with a lot of people. So I really wanted to make a fun positive song that people could dance and have fun to.

You have a new EP coming out soon. What can listeners expect?

The EP will be my signature sound, Afropé. It’s filled with a mixture of Afro and R&B summer jams. “Undeniable” and “Yeno Ntem” are the first singles off the EP, so that will be the predominant vibe to expect.

How are you handling the coronavirus situation?

It was actually a really good time for me. I had the opportunity to really take a step back and reset my priorities. I was able to redecorate my house, invest in a home studio, and spend lots of time with my son. So it was a much-needed break for me to focus on some other things before I go into full album mode.

Looking to the future, what’s next for you musically?

For the short term, I’m really focused on finishing up my EP, which I want to release this summer. The follow-up single of “Yeno Ntem” will be out soon.  After that, the focus will be on the album.

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Let us know what you think of “Yeno Ntem” @CelebMix.

Written by Randy

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.