Ghanaian popular music has seen a significant rise in popularity in the past couple of years, thanks in part to the emergence of new talents and the use of social media platforms to promote their music.
Some of the most popular genres in Ghana include hiplife, gospel, and highlife. Artists such as Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, and Stonebwoy have gained widespread recognition for their contributions to the Ghanaian music industry. Additionally, the annual Vodafone Ghana Music Awards has helped to promote and celebrate the best in Ghanaian music.
In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of female Ghanaian musicians who are making a significant impact in the music industry. Some of these artists are making waves in various genres.
One notable artist is Efya, a singer-songwriter and actress who has been active in the music industry for over a decade and is known for her soulful voice and powerful performances. Another is Adina, who is known for her blend of R&B, hiplife, and highlife music, and her ability to deliver thought-provoking lyrics.
Amaarae, another female musician who has been gaining recognition with her eclectic sound, blending genres such as R&B, neo-soul, and hip-hop.
Other female musicians in Ghana making an impact in the industry include Sista Afia, MzVee, Wendy Shay and Becca, but today we want to introduce you to the rising star Moliy.
Moliy is the stage name of Molly Ama Montgomery, a Ghanaian-American singer and songwriter who rose to stardom after being featured on Amaarae 2020 successful single “Sad Gurlz Luv Money” remix with Kali Uchis.
Originally from Accra, Ghana, Moliy was brought up in both Accra and Orlando, Florida.
The year 2020 marked the release of her debut EP “Wondergirl” which features popular tracks Ghana Bop and Loud.
On October 19th 2022, she debuted her first album named “Honey Doom” which features some of Moliy’s most vulnerable and raw storytelling to date and also represents her growth as a young woman dealing with love and relationships.
I met with Moliy at a cocktail bar in New York City and had the honor to speak to her about her journey, goals and life inspirations. She has the greatest positive and radiant energy you could ask for, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of our in-depth conversation.
What was the specific moment when you realized you wanted to take music to the next level?
I feel like there were multiple moments that were building up - it was different steps for me:
The first step is when I started doing freestyles on IG for me. And then there was another moment where I decided to create my own record with producers and stuff. It was in 2017, I was dating someone who was in the scene and he was always in the studio and I really felt the urge to be contributing to music and then shifted to wanting to do my own thing in this space.
The official moment is when I finished my EP, I was like “watch out!I’m coming”!
Who are some people that you collaborated with and admire?
I feel like Amaraee was a great one. I knew her from Ghana. She was a rapper for a very long time and then she started doing something new and started singing with the whisper voice and it changed her sound. For me, that was a very unique moment because to see someone from Ghana doing that, was totally different. It made me feel confident in what I was doing. I realized that there’s other people around who are trying to make something new happen that aren't necessarily highlife or afrobeats. The popularity of mainstream sound can almost make you feel like you can’t succeed if you don’t do what everyone else is doing.
Do you follow a process when writing new music?
There’s different moments. Sometimes ideas just come to me on the fly. For example, I could be watching a movie and hear a song and an idea would suddenly come to me and I’d start recording it on my voice notes.
How would you describe your perfect day?
Great food!! (laughs) It has to start with calm. I’m not great at meditation because my mind is always working. But I’d say start with prayers, affirmations.. put my day into God's hands. Then I can feel right about it. So that’s probably everyday for me because that’s how I start everyday!
“My content is not always perfect, I’m not always dressed up - I go online sometimes looking crazy cause I always try to show the most human side of myself. I was like you all along, I told you this! “
If you could shut your eyes and imagine a favorite place, where would you be right now?
I’d be home in Orlando, Florida. I miss my mom. Wherever my family is, that’s where I wanna be.
What’s the greatest fear you had to overcome to get where you are today?
Stage fright. I had a really bad stage fright, and the way I found out it’s when I enrolled into a beauty pageant at school. I wanted to sing a song and it was really bad, I tried 3 times but kept going off beat so I ended up crying and got off the stage. I had a lot of stage fright but now it’s better. Even now talking to people, being free to express myself without overthinking of how I’m perceived, that took along to overcome and now people think I’m a “people person” which is crazy because when I was in high school I was so far from that, it was terrible.
If you could invite 3 people at dinner dead or alive, who would they be?
Michael Jackson, Robin Williams and Jim Carey (I love his energy)!
What is the best piece of advice that another artist ever gave to you?
When I meet successful artists, I like to ask them questions about things I wanna know about. I recently met the Ghanaian dancehall artist Stonebwoy and I asked him about performing because he’s such a great performer. So I was like “how do you do it?”, and he told me that it’s “all in your head”, and that “you hear it before you sing it” . It's supposed to be a natural thing, you’re not supposed to overthink it, and when he said that, I understood it in so many different ways. I feel like a couple years ago it just fly by me but now I take it as a self confidence reassurance - you’re telling yourself that this is gonna go great.
Do you have a specific ritual before going on stage to get rid of performance anxiety?
I just like to be prepared. When I’m not prepared I start to feel anxiety. I used to do shots but soon realized that wasn’t really helping, it just made me not care. I would rather be present, so preparation is everything, even though I still get a little anxious the first couple of minutes when I get on stage, it definitely gets better afterwards because I know I’m prepared. And it’s totally ok and natural to be nervous.
Who’s your all-time favorite artist?
What other music genres are you into?
Drill music and rock music. I love that type of alternative pop rock music that you could probably hear in an anime if you know what I mean.
I recently collaborated with Foushee who’s releasing a rock album and I helped her write one of the songs.
How do you feel like the use of social media like TikTok has impacted the music industry in the past couple of years?
I feel like it’s great that an artist from anywhere in the world can put effort into something and it can blow out literally overnight. But I also feel like things tend to get forgotten very quickly. It’s not lasting anymore, it’s just a moment and then it’s gone. We still listen to music from years ago, but some of the music now does not have that same impact.
Who would you most like to collaborate with if you could?
Doja, Rihanna, WizKid, Burna Boy, Lily Allen and more..
Do you have any advice for aspiring young, black and female songwriters out there?
I think that even if you’re an introvert, you should try to put yourself out there. I was not the most extrovert person but I forced myself to put my stuff out on social media and I would DM people, I’d be so shameless (haha), everyone I told you that I wanna work with, if they go to my DMs right now they gonna see the thirst. It might be embarrassing but at the end of the day it’s worth trying. You should pursue who you wanna work with but don’t go where you’re not wanted. If you’re not getting anything back just leave it and let it come to you. You also have to cut off things that are hurting you mentally, it is essential for your creativity to cut off negativity, it can be relationships or friendships. Even though pain is a great inspiration, at some point you just need to detach so you can focus on yourself and love yourself cause that’s when the best things will Come Out of you.
What else do you like to do outside of music?
I love to cook, I’m a great cook! I have a great relationship with food and spices. I also love to play video games. I play COD mobile obsessively. I also just really like to chill, relax, eat good food and just spend time with the family. Very simple.
Who helped you the most throughout your whole music journey?
For sure my sister Melissa who’s also a singer, and took me under her wing. She was always there for me to figure it out way before I had my management. We also have two features together, one with Amaarae and one with BOJ.