The Mixtape Vol. 151

'Psychedelic Gqom' with New York-based Ghanaian multi-disciplinarian artist, singer, songwriter, producer and fashionista Jojo Abot

New York-based Ghanaian multi-disciplinarian artist, singer, songwriter, producer and fashion icon Jojo Abot has just dropped her highly anticipated, brand new single Alime into the South African territory.

Already a star with the more outspoken musical audiences, Jojo Abot's strong sense of self and constant desire to probe the norm in terms of everything from politics to fashion has garnered her the respect of her peers and the musical, socio-political and fashion savvy youth in a very short space of time.  

Still relatively new to South African commercial audiences, her performances are wildly aesthetically driven, with a sonic prowess that can only be described as jaw-dropping and highly inspired, so much so that she has effortlessly shared stages touring with the likes of Lauryn Hill, been on the bill of the esteemed Afro Punk line up and held successful performances in the city of Brooklyn.

Exploring a sound Jojo Abot calls 'psychedelic Gqom' on Alime, the self-penned and produced track and video is what she personally describes as "a nod of appreciation for the spiritual trance that is South African Gqom, expressed by what a marriage between myself and this sound could create."  

"Alime which means 'waist' or 'in the waist' is a song designed to celebrate our colourful resilience as a people while serving as a call to exist in one's power, authenticity and expression - an exercise of personal liberty, will and freedom", she cites.

What's your relationship with fashion, and how does it work together with your music? 

I come from a space where fashion and art, which are both western terms, is a way of life. As indigenous and undiluted Africans we naturally exist in spaces of creativity. I’m not doing anything new, simply journeying back and forward to my truest SELF. 

How long have you been in the game and how has your sound changed over the years? 

The game? What game? I don’t interact much with the industry if that is your question. FYFYA WOTO as the title and philosophy of my work and existence means NEW BIRTH, NEW DISCOVERY which celebrates evolution and rebirth as a constant and necessary part of life. The purpose of my existence is growth and evolution. Travel, experience and personal reflection among other things always causes a shift in my creative alchemy. I am a summation of all that I’ve seen and been over many lifetimes. Change cannot be described, only experienced. I would say I’ve revolved more than I’ve “changed.” My path is ongoing.

What have been some of the standout performances in your career so far?

According to hype: Times Square New Year’s Eve, touring with Ms Lauryn Hill And AfroPunk experiences, but nothing beats the spirit I’ve felt at much smaller shows such as Abantu book fair (Free education live), The Orbit or Glory. It’s much more about the quality of the experience than it is the quantity. I’m grateful for it all.

Which artists changed your life?

I wouldn’t say changed my life as much as influenced and reaffirmed my path as a possibility. Artists like Thandiswa Mazwai, Simphiwe Dana and Lucky Dube were my first listed heroes simply because what they do is  more than just music. They understand the human condition, the spirit being and the power music has to heal, empower, unite and mobilize the people. These artist and many like them made me realize that there is room for work like mine. They  fought to create space for voices like mine to thrive.

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