Award winner Juliyaa (in yellow dress) and a friend

We caught up with the gorgeous, talented and hardworking Juliyaa, last year’s GUBA rising star winner to get some insight into her life as an artist. She speaks to GUBA interviewer – Claudia Andrews, about her experiences so far and the impact the GUBA award has had on her music so far.

As a GUBA Rising Star winner, what impact has it had on your life?

I think it’s had a massive impact.  Winning the award last year gave me the backing and the faith to believe that the music I’m making is relevant and it’s really appreciated by those who voted for the awards. It’s a really big honour to win something like that and has gained me a significant Ghanaian following. It has also shaped my musical style, and impacted my song writing for my debut EP ‘Stars & Dragons’ which represents a fusion of my Ghanaian and Welsh culture.  It’s out this summer, and I’m so excited about showing people what I’ve created!

Why did you do the 10 days of smile?

The story came out when I was walking down the street a year and a half ago. There were a lot of crazy people walking around and I was in my zone and not really aware of your surroundings. One of them came up to me and said ‘you alright love? Smile!’  A smile just came on my face and it made my day so much better. Something as simple as a smile can make your whole day a lot brighter and you can start to think about others, and it takes you out of your zone and thinking about yourself. So smile was inspired by a crazy man down the road who told me to smile; it really made me change the way I think about life and how much a smile means to a person and it’s also free.

What would you say the inspiration behind your music is?

Well the biggest inspiration is my culture, being of mixed heritage it is a massive inspiration to be listening to a fusion of music growing up and it’s been the backbone of my musical identity. I have been inspired by a wide range of artists from people like Billie Holiday and Miriam Makeba to Alicia Keys and Janelle Monae.  I have also listened to a lot of hi life and hip life at home growing up, and the rhythmic elements of African music have impacted my song writing.

What would you like to achieve with your music in the next 5 to 10 years?

I would like to achieve a really good reputation for writing and producing good music. To have a big fan base where people can easily access my music. If my music can be accessed on a computer in Peru, a village in Takoradi or any town in Ghana, it will be amazing and to have my music listened to across the world will be a fantastic treat.

What advice would you give to upcoming musicians?

The advice I will give is stay strong, humble and hardworking. Stay strong in what you want to do and what you believe in and make sure you are promoting positivity and love. Stay humble because there will be a lot of people that will try and hype you up and say certain things. Stay hardworking because been and gone are the times when people come and find you , you have to really promote yourself and put yourself out there and once you have the right team around you, you can go far. What you sow you shall reap, that’s what I believe.

What are your expectations for GUBA 2012 awards?

I think it’s going to be bigger! Even better, even more amazing and it’s going to be a show stopper. I think Dentaa and the team are absolutely amazing.  I think it’s going to grow from strength to strength so I expect fireworks, literally.

 GUBA wishes Juliyaa all the best as she works her way to the top, we can’t wait to see her music in the charts!!!

Story by Claudia Andrews

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