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And The Nominees Are; Multiple Grammy-Winning Angelique Kidjo and Ghanaian songwriter Amaarae

By Editor | Jul 17, 2022

In the ongoing series, Document Women touches on the illustrious women who have been nominated for the annual event. This week, we have the Queen of Afrobeats, Angelique Kidjo and Trust fund baby, Ghana's Amaarae.

 

AMAARAE

Contrary to popular assumption because of her stage name, Ama Serwah Genti is a Ghanaian singer and songwriter. 

Amaarae was born in New York in 1994 to Ghanaian parents. She started writing music at the age of 13, making mixtapes in high school, interned at a music studio at 17, went through voice training while getting skilled in the art of songwriting through her English Literature degree she was studying at the time. 

In 2017, Amaarae returned to Ghana where she released her album in which one of the featured song was accompanied by a critically acclaimed music video. 

She is known as an alté genre singer, popular for her soft sensual vocals, lyrics, and adrogeneous fashion style which earned her a mention as one of Vogue’s online Top 100 Style Influencers of 2018 and a nomination as Artiste of the Year at the Glitz Style Awards in Ghana. 

The The Angel You Don’t Know album maker garnered over 10 million monthly listeners on Spotify and over 116 million streams for her Sad Girlz Luv Money remix alone.

With this viral hit, which features Kali Uchis and Moliy and which debuted at #80 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in November 2021, Amaarae became the second Ghanaian to break into the Billboard charts – 50 years after Ghanaian-English Afro rock band Osibisa first paved the way.

Amaarae was one of the first artistes to perform at the first ever Boiler Room event when it launched in Accra Ghana. Her nomination in this year’s The Headies for Best West African Artiste of the Year is a well deserved one. 

 

ANGELIQUE KIDJO

Angelique Kidjo, dubbed “Mama Africa” by many because of her music, fashion style and activism across African countries, is a singer, songwriter, actress, activist and author. 

Kidjo was born in 1960 in Ouida to a family of performing artistes. Her father was a musician, her mother a choreographer and theatre director. Her music was influenced by Afro pop, Congolese rumba, Jazz, Gospel, Caribbean Zouk and Latin styles. Fluent in five languages - Yoruba, French, English, Fon and Gen (Mina) - Angelique Kidjo incorporates all in her songs including her own language, Batonga. 

After leaving Benin in 1983 due to political conflicts, moved to Paris and enrolled in CIM, a reputable Jazz school. In 1991 she was discovered and signed by Island Records, then later in 2000 signed by Columbia Records. 

Kidjo with Rachel Wenrick wrote a memoir titled Spirit Rising which was published in 2014 by Harper Collins. In her work as an activist she has been named UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, founded The Batonga Foundation to equip vulnerable girls and women with skills, campaigned for in the “Africa for Women’s Rights'' launched by International Federation of Human Rights, appointed Peace Ambassador by the Commission of the African Union (AU), and named Times’ 100 Most Influential People in the World. 

Nominated in different categories at the Grammy’s six times since 2008, Angelique Kidjo has bagged four of those awards. This year she is being honored by The Headies with the Hall of Fame award and nominated in the Best West African Artiste of the Year category. 

In our last episode, Document Women featured "Maradona" singer Niniola and Singer-songwriter Simi.