Individualist, women’s advocate, artist, and trendsetter Noella Wiyaala is making a name for herself by going her own way; standing at the forefront of a new generation looking to take Ghanaian music onto the international scene.
The odds of this were still pretty steep, regardless of the fact that she sang regularly in church. But she was tireless, continuing, “I also used to organize the children in the village to put on shows for the my grandfather who was the village chief. We had a generator in the village and occasionally we would get to watch TV. I saw a video of Madonna in her song “Take A Bow” and that inspired me to dress up and imitate her. I instinctively knew I could do what she was doing.”
Decamping from the small environs of Funsi to the larger town of Wa was where she got her first start, joining the local music scene that centered around Echo Soundz recording studios, hanging around to get studio time and getting her voice heard as a mostly unpaid session singer. From this she managed to record her first record, Tuma (Work), which she sang in Sissala and which gave her some local exposure. The Northern region though, can be quite a remote and isolated place and she knew that she would have to venture south if she wanted to fulfil her dreams of reaching a wider audience, so she made the big decision to head to the capital, Accra, to audition for Ghana’s Stars of the Future. No overnight success story, it took her three attempts before she was able to reach the finals. A brief spell in the group Black ‘n’ Peach paved the way for her to establish herself as a solo artist and sign with Djimba World Records. And she hasn’t looked back since.
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