Despite being the daughter of legendary highlife musician Ernest “Owoahene” Nana Acheampong (one-half of the Lumba Brothers duo), it took a chance meeting with a producer for Ghanaian singer-songwriter Gyakie to consider a musical career of her own. “I didn’t have it in mind I wanted to do music as a profession at all, although my dad was a music legend,” she tells Apple Music. Back in 2019, she was studying international business at the University of Science and Technology in Ghana when she met Sosa. ”He offered to send me some beats,” she says, ”and the lyrics just started flowing.”
“When my first song, ‘Love Is Pretty,’ came out, the responses that I got from people...I was mind-blown,” Gyakie confesses. “Then I realized that, no, this is looking like something I need to keep doing.” She followed that up with hits like “Never Like This,” which largely featured Twi lyrics and endeared her to audiences in Ghana, while the Afrobeats single “Forever”—and the remix collab with Nigerian hitmaker Omah Lay—quickly went viral, inspiring a wave of dance challenges.
While she credits artists like Nigerian singer-songwriter Aṣa and Ghanaian singer Efya for inspiring her versatile, genre-straddling Afro-fusion sound—which incorporates elements of highlife, hip-hop, reggae, and soul—she considers her father her greatest influence. As she explains, “My dad was always playing highlife music around me. Highlife is very special to me, and to everybody especially from Ghana, because this is one sound that all the legends were doing. Highlife music gives you that traditional African feel. I’m really praying that most of the artists, even the new ones that come, will try and also jump on highlife sounds—and then be able to push it to the rest of the world.”
MY DIARY, the follow-up to her debut EP, 2020’s Seed, reveals more sides to her personality. “I’m talking about things that I’ve been experiencing—things that I might not say out loud,” she says. “I talk about so many things, how my journey has been and how things are going now. It’s like the inside part of my life, and my fans get to experience that with me.” Below, Gyakie takes us through the EP, track by track.
“AUDIENCE” (feat. Song Bird)
“‘AUDIENCE’ has this African jazz feel. I was super excited when I was recording this song because it was very different from the normal genre that [contemporary] artists would do, especially from Africa. One thing about me is I love jazz music so much. I listen to jazz every day—if I’m about to sleep, if I’m cleaning, if I’m in the shower, all of that. This is me thanking God for how my journey has been.”
“It’s a blend of heartbreak and good vibes when it comes to love—it talks about the sad parts of life, and this song is very innovative. When you’re listening to it, and you’re actually going through something, it’s going to hit you because I was talking about how one person could risk it all for somebody that they love, and then the person ends up not appreciating it. The fact that you might go to the ends of the earth to make sure the person you love is actually OK, but they never do appreciate it is what this song is mainly about. I love the production [by iPappi]; it’s very uplifting.”
“FOR MY BABY”
“This is a very laidback, chilled love story. It’s the song that you would hear and then you would want to do a little bop with a loved one, or with a friend. It’s just chilled vibes. It’s a happy love song, and it’s very easy to learn—very easy to lean into.”
“FLAMES” (feat. Davido)
“I’m so honored to have Davido on my project. I know for a fact that him being on this song, in particular, is going to spark so many things up. ‘FLAMES’ is a love song as well. This is like the girl or the guy telling the lover they are not going to leave their side—they’re going to stay with them. The initial song didn’t have Davido on it. I got the chance to actually meet him, and then I played a couple of unreleased songs for him. That was his favorite of it. Straight up, when he was starting to record, I literally went to the bathroom to cry. I couldn’t believe that I was in the same space with him. I was like, ‘This has to be a dream. If it’s a dream, I don’t want to get out.’”
“This is a song that you can really dance to in the club or parties, shows, all of that. It’s a love song as well, but this one is not really detailed. I got the inspiration of this song from the beat, which was produced by P.Priime. The song is a straight freestyle beginning to the end. It was one take. I literally just got in front of the mic, and I just started putting out the bars. I think that happens most of the time, especially if I love the beat so, so much. If I do, the lyrics are quite easy to come.”
“So, ‘WAKA WAKA’ is the statement song. ‘WAKA WAKA’ is actually the head of the diary because, in this song, I spoke about so many things happening around the music industry in my perspective, so many things that I experience, so many things that I’m going to be doing. There was a different attitude of Gyakie here. This is not a love song. It’s very vibrant, very wild, very rude. Rude but classy. I was getting everything off my chest, and it’s a different type of Gyakie in this song. You might be like, ‘What? Who got Gyakie pissed?’ You did.”