In a vast field of unbelievably similar looking, boring and lusterless music, it is every miner’s dream to strike gold or better, diamonds. Given a certain dearth of original and challenging artists on the Ghana music scene, WORLASI, the baritone “AY3 ADZ3” crooner is a diamond in the rough.
ACCRA [dot] ALT team member, KADI, got chatty with the artist over SMS to understand what he and his craft are all about, and generally, gather his thoughts on a number of related and random subjects.
ADA: Who is Worlasi?
Whoa! That’s a packed question. Let’s see. I’m Worlasi. I make music, I paint. I’m just another kid expressing his emotions and experiences the best way he knows how. Truthfully though, I’m yet to discover myself completely. I can’t lie to you, I don’t know myself.
ADA: Why do you make music?
I make music because it brings me untold pleasure. I feel I can do better, so I work more to explore my talent. Besides the pleasure I derive from enjoying myself and my sound, I get high off other people singing along to my music.
ADA: What does music mean to you?
Music is a mystery to me. I admire it and how it works. It’s like a hidden treasure. I want to find every last piece and this has birthed an addiction to always create. So I keep making music no matter how long I stay away. That’s what music means to me.
ADA: What inspires you to make music?
What inspires me the most is to make a difference – to show (the world what) I have to offer and contribute to humanity. I like to give back to the community what I enjoy from listening to others.
The other thing that inspires me is fear! The fear of failure keeps me on my toes and pushes me to boundaries I didn’t know before existed. I’m from a family where everyone is doing just fine or better and I surely want to be successful.
ADA: What influences you and your music? How have these influences made an impression on you and how have they manifested in your work?
My experiences. Some tunes I listen to. Of course, what I feel – my emotions. What I feel – how I feel – inspires me to write better. Cause it’s true and real and when this happens, it’s so easy to make music out of it. The outcome is in all my songs, and sometimes, “E dey amaze me sef.”
ADA: What does music signify to you?
Music represents my creativity and my creativity is my pride. My music is the only thing I can boast of and proudly list as an accomplishment by myself – just like any medical doctor. That’s what music signifies to me.
ADA: What does your music express and what ideas or emotions are you trying to convey?
This might sound cliché but my music is an outlet to pour out my emotions, and very personal emotions, too. Personal emotions about society, my angst, love, appreciation about any and everything that’s happened or is happening around me. These are things I try to convey. My music also expresses my personal relationships with people and other experiences I feel should be shared. The goal of my music is to assure people that anything is possible once you put your mind to it and work towards it. Hope and hard work are the themes I most want to convey. So yeah, it comes with a lot of emotions.
ADA: What then is the message you send in your music?
The message is that, we can achieve anything once we put our mind to it. That’s the most important part of my message. Another dwells on the way we think. We shouldn’t look down on ourselves. We should keep working hard. It will pay eventually. And then also – what is happening around me – my community, the nation, my thoughts and perception about these things. I share my perceptions through the music, like what I think about sex, politics, religion..
ADA: What’s unique about your music?
I play beats with my heart – how I feel. Be it love or hatred, compassion or anger. A lot of my emotions, are pumped into what I do. That’s what I feel when I listen to stuff I’ve made. But the best persons to tell what’s special about my music are those who love my songs because, honestly, I’m still learning my craft and mastering my style.
ADA: What does it feel like when you’re in creation mode?
When I’m in creation mood, I am oblivious to everything but the process. I don’t pay attention to any other thing. I feel like I’ve been drugged with a very potent thing like I’ve taken something too strong and dangerous. I just keep going, never stopping.
ADA: How do you juggle beat making, rapping, singing, and painting?
I definitely don’t work by a schedule. I just do what I feel like doing when I feel like it. If I’m out of the mood, I don’t do it. It’s not as complicated as it seems. Sometimes it gets really stressful but I enjoy all of it and when I get bored with one, I move on to the other, cause I’ve missed it. It’s like having three girlfriends.
ADA: How do you deal with the “What If…” thoughts?
I don’t really understand you. If you’re asking if I have doubts about my chances of success, I’ll be honest and say I don’t really mind. Actually, I don’t mind if I’m the most popular or successful. Once I’m fulfilled, I’m good. Even better if I have true fans. It’s about what I feel.
I play what I feel, I write what I feel. If my fans are the same way, I’m cool! Being successful is different from being the most successful, like the number one. You bab? I want to be successful in other things as well. I want to make ends meet, maybe through other disciplines. I get a lot more than money from making music. It this wasn’t true, I would have stopped long ago. I’m not making any money from it at the moment.
ADA: What challenges do you face in your career as a musician and how are you overcoming them?
Challenges? I believe if I knew how to play at least one musical instrument, I would be better so I work with people who do, like Maximus (Reggie Beats), Six Strings and Nii Quaye (Musical Lunatics). Take Sarkodie and Kwame Yeboah for example. Sark is popular and known as the most successful but Kwame too be some genius for in own corner.
ADA: What humbling experiences in your musical journey would you wanna share?
I respect my management – Supreme Rights – that is what’s gotten me this far. They respect me and my ideas, always listening to my suggestions and correcting me where necessary. They respect my style and vision and that’s a great feeling. People with the same love for music, with different skills working together, that’s beautiful. I dunno if I’ve answered you properly, but the sense of respect I get from all these people humbles me.
ADA: What has been your most embarrassing moment in so far?
I’ll have to say my first performance at Takoradi Poly with Juelz Tintin. It was insane! I was nervous – my first time and we got booed off the stage. That was just discouraging. In retrospect, it was good we got booed off stage. It challenged me and has helped build my confidence. But still, it is the most embarrassing moment.
ADA: How have you grown since you first started down this road?
From my first verses, hooks, complete songs up to now, it’s been such a learning experience. I have come to understand some elements in my style, learning from my mistakes and forcing me to think outside the box. I am more confident now when facing crowds. I can now speak boldly without fumbling. Maybe it’s because they now understand my music and language and we connect so I don’t feel shy or unwanted around them.
ADA: Where did you grow up and how has it impacted your music?
I grew up in Nyamekye, Official Town here in Accra. I don’t think the area has affected my music in any way. Mostly because I hardly go out and rarely mingle with those in my hood. I was usually always travelling for school. But in my house, I’m given all the privacy and my craft is highly respected. That has given me more space to develop my skill.
ADA: What food is the best in the world to you?
Banku and okro soup with fresh fish and crabs. Some beef to beef things up (inserts smiley). The okro should be sliced not blended, and there shouldn’t be too much pepper.
ADA: I always pegged you for a rapper but then you suddenly started singing. Will there be another rap song or will you be solely singing from now on?
I still rap, I’ve just been on a little hiatus, honing my skills and improving myself overall as an artist. There’ll be a lot of rap on my next project.
ADA: What is that “Rude boys in the building” anthem you tend to sing in all your songs?
It’s actually ROOD Boiz, ROOD standing for Realistic Obsession Over Dreams. Our dreams are our guide. It sounds like rude, but we’re not rude – far from it. We may look or sound rude but…let’s just say, people will walk over you when you draw that line.
ADA: What then is ROOD Boiz?
ROOD Boiz is a group of creative people who are joining forces to create something bigger than our imaginations can perceive, to give hope to the next generation and for them to also realize that dreams, no matter how big or small, can be achieved.
*All photos in this post by Socialite Photography