Ama Serwah Genfi (born July 4, 1994), known professionally as Amaarae, is a Ghanaian-American singer-songwriter. She is known for her fusion of pop, R&B, afrobeats, and alté, as well as her fluid representation of gender and sexuality.[1][2] After collaborating with local artists and putting out a few non-album singles, she released her debut EP, Passionfruit Summers,[3] in 2017.

Amaarae
Background information
Birth nameAma Serwah Genfi
Born (1994-07-04) July 4, 1994 (age 29)
Bronx, New York, U.S.
OriginAccra, Ghana
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2010–present
Labels
  • Sad Saints Angry Angels
  • Golden Child
  • Platoon
  • 0207
  • Interscope
  • Golden Angel
Websiteamaaraemusic.com

In 2020, Amaarae released her debut album The Angel You Don't Know to critical acclaim. The song "Sad Girlz Luv Money" featuring Moliy gained popularity on TikTok.[4] In 2021 the song was remixed with a feature from Kali Uchis and charted globally.[5] Pitchfork labeled the album "Best New Music" and named it the 19th best album of 2020.

On June 9, 2023, she released her highly anticipated second album Fountain Baby to rave reviews.[6]

Early life

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Amaarae was born in Bronx, New York to Ama Bawuah and Kwadwo Boateng Genfi and was raised between Atlanta, United States and Accra, Ghana.[7] She is the eldest of two children. Amaarae wrote her first song at the age of 13.[8] During her teenage years, she enjoyed watching music videos and said that one of her most vivid memories was watching the music video for the Kelis song "Young, Fresh n' New". She recalls Kelis' unique expression being an inspiration for her.[9]

During high school, she started making mixtapes. By the age of 17, she took up an internship at a music studio. At a tertiary institution, she undertook voice training and honed her songwriting skills while studying English literature. She returned to Ghana in June 2017.[7]

Career

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Amaarae released her debut project Passionfruit Summers[3][10][11] in 2017. The album features the song "Fluid", which was complemented by a music video.[12]

Amaarae was named one of Apple Music Africa's Favourite New Artists in April 2018[7][13][14][15] and later that year became an Apple Music Beats 1 featured artist[16] for her debut project Passionfruit Summers which she released through her independent record label, Golden Child LLC on November 30, 2017.[17] In November 2018 she performed with Teni, BOJ and Odunsi (The Engine) at ART X Lagos, an art fair in Lagos, Nigeria.[18]

Amaarae has also been acknowledged for her style and fashion sense.[19][20] In 2018, she was featured in Vogue online in an article on four women across the globe with buzz haircuts[21][22] and was mentioned as one of Vogue online's Top 100 Style Influencers of 2018. She was nominated as Artist of the Year at the Glitz Style Awards in Ghana.[23][24][25] She has also patronized Ghanaian fashion brand Free The Youth.[26]

On March 23, 2019, Amaarae was chosen to perform at the first Boiler Room event in Accra alongside La Meme Gang (A Collective comprising Nxwrth, RJZ, KwakuBS, Darkovibes, Kiddblack and $pacely) and rapper Kwesi Arthur.[27][28][29][30]

Amaarae has since collaborated with Stonebwoy, Kojey Radical, M3NSA, Santi, Blaqbonez, Buju, Odunsi, B4bonah.[10] In 2019, she collaborated with the Nigerian singer-songwriter Wande Coal.[31]

On November 12, 2020, Amaarae released her debut studio album, The Angel You Don't Know. Owen Myers of Pitchfork wrote that it "crackles with innovation, a pacesetter at a time when industry bigwigs are waking up to the long-held truth that Africa is setting the global tempo for pop music."[32]

In May 2022, Amaarae, together with Black Sherif, Stonebwoy and Smallgod met Kendrick Lamar when he visited Ghana and held a private album listening party in Accra for his new album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.[33]

On June 9, 2023, she released her sophomore album Fountain Baby via Interscope Records. The release also came with the news that she'd become the first Ghanaian to appear on NPR Tiny Desk.[34]

Musical style and themes

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Amaarae sings in what music critic Robert Christgau describes as a unique style of rapping, "a breathy soprano that mixes chants, trills, and murmurs", and a voice that is "simultaneously fragile and self-possessed". Her songs are overtly sexual, with lyrics ranging from sex positive to erotic and pornographic, exploring infatuations, seductions, and trysts, particularly in the context of Amaarae's identity as a famous queer musician.[35]

Discography

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Studio albums

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List of studio albums, with selected details
Title Details
The Angel You Don't Know
  • Released: November 12, 2020
  • Label: Golden Child
Fountain Baby
  • Released: June 9, 2023
  • Label: Golden Child / Interscope Records
List of EPs, with selected details
Title Details
Passionfruit Summers[36]
  • Released: November 30, 2017
  • Label: Golden Child
  • Formats: Digital download

Singles

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List of singles
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US
[37]
US
Afro.

[38]
CAN
[39]
IRE
[40]
NZ
[41]
SWI
[42]
UK
[43]
UK
Afro.

[44]
WW
[45]
"Spend Some Time"
(featuring Wande Coal)[46]
2019 Non-album singles
"Like It"[47]
"Leave Me Alone"[48] 2020 The Angel You Don't Know
"Fancy"[49]
"Sad Girlz Luv Money"
(with Moliy featuring Kali Uchis)
2021 80 48 28 29 18 29 26
"Reckless & Sweet" 2023 26 10 Fountain Baby
"Co-Star" 47 19
"Wasted Eyes"
"Angels in Tibet" 2024 5 10
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Year Title Album
2017 "Whoa!" (AYLØ featuring Amaarae) Insert Project Name
"On Me" (Dex Kwasi featuring Amaarae) Non-album single
2018 "Pepper Dem" (Stonebwoy featuring Amaarae) Epistles of Mama
"Rapid Fire" (Santi featuring Amaarae) Mandy & the Jungle
"Hectic" (Odunsi featuring Amaarae) rare.
"SDI" (M3NSA featuring Amaarae) Non-album single
2019 "Platinum Sex" (Mina featuring Amaarae) Flight Paths
"Like Water" (Gafacci featuring Amaarae) Tash BNM
"Settle Down" (Santi featuring Amaarae) Mandy & the Jungle
"Shame" (B4bonah featuring Amaarae) B4Beginning
"Sugar" (Kojey Radical featuring Amaarae) Cashmere Tear
"Mewu" (Ground Up Chale featuring Twitch & Amaarae) We Outside (Y3 Wo Abonten) Vol. 1
"Too Bad" (featuring Show Dem Camp and TEMS) The Palmwine Express
2020 "Still Dey Inside" (OIEE & M3NSA featuring Amaarae) Non-album singles
"Follow My Lead" (FRIDAY NIGHT CRU featuring Tessellated and Amaarae)
"Count On Me" (Blessed featuring Amaarae) Music Is the Medicine
2021 "Bling" (Blaqbonez featuring Amaarae & Buju) Sex Over Love
2023 "Get It" (Bree Runway featuring Amaarae) Eat
"Sossaup" (Kaytraminé featuring Amaarae) Kaytraminé
"The Rush" (Janelle Monáe featuring Nia Long & Amaarae) The Age of Pleasure
"KUBOLOR" (ODUMODUBLVCK featuring Amaarae) EZIOKWU

Other charted songs

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List of other charted songs
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US
Afro.
[38]
"Princess Going Digital" 2023 12 Fountain Baby

Nominations

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Year Event Category Recipient/Nominated Work Result Ref
2021 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards Record of the Year Amaarae – Fancy Nominated [52]
Best Music Video of the Year Nominated
2022 The Headies Awards Best West African Artiste of the Year Amaarae Nominated [53]

References

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  1. ^ "Gay sex is banned – so Ghanaians dance against homophobia". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  2. ^ "The interview we forgot to document – CRTL+ ALT+DEL Amaarae". Harmattan Rain. January 3, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Passionfruit Summers". Genius. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  4. ^ "Sad Girlz Luv Money - Amaarae". songfacts.com.
  5. ^ "Amaarae Dazzles Fans With Much-Anticipated Video For Hit 'SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY'". okayafricasite. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  6. ^ AB, Musicboard. "Musicboard - Share your love for music with friends". musicboard.app. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
  7. ^ a b c "Amaarae". nataal.com. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  8. ^ "Discover: Amaarae, The Sex-Positive Ghanaian Neo-Soul Star". Konbini. Archived from the original on October 27, 2019. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "Ghanaian pop star Amaarae: 'I'm presenting black women as deities'". The Guardian. January 1, 2021. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Amaarae". nataal.com. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  11. ^ "Amaarae's New Music Video for 'Fluid' Is a Beautiful Masterpiece". OkayAfrica. June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  12. ^ "I just want people to have sex with my music". Globe Trotter Mag. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  13. ^ "Amaa Rae releases new song titled 'Fluid'". Ghana Web. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  14. ^ "Amaarae: a refreshing Afro Fusion voice". B&FT Online. Archived from the original on October 28, 2019. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  15. ^ "AMAARAE". BlankPaperz. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  16. ^ "APPLE MUSIC'S "BEATS 1" STREAMS HOUR-LONG SPECIAL ON AFRICAN MUSIC". Native Mag. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  17. ^ "Amaarae's New Music Video for 'Fluid' Is a Beautiful Masterpiece". OkayAfrica. June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  18. ^ "ODUNSI, TENI THE ENTERTAINER, AMAA RAE FOR ART X LIVE! 2018". Native mag. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  19. ^ "The variant colours of Amaarae". Pan African Music. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  20. ^ "#PodcastsOnLive: Amaarae premieres Wande Coal-featured song on Live 91.9 FM". Live FM. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  21. ^ "4 Women Around the Globe Prove Why the Buzz Cut Is Bold and Beautiful". VOGUE. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  22. ^ "#Emergers2019: The Bio of the Warrior Princess, Amaarae". Kuulpeeps. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  23. ^ "FULL LIST OF WINNERS: 2018 Glitz Style Awards [+ event images]". EnewsGh. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  24. ^ "2018 Glitz Style Awards: Becca Beats KiDi & Amaarae To Emerge Artiste Of The Year". GH Gossip. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  25. ^ "Glitz Awards 2018: Becca flaunts wedding ring in Shatta Michy's face". GH Page. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  26. ^ "Ghana is now". The FADER. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  27. ^ "TRUE MUSIC AFRICA: GHANA". Boiler Room. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  28. ^ "DJ Mic SMith, Vision DJ, Kwesi Arthur, Amaarae to headline Boiler Room and Ballantine's TRUE MUSIC AFRICA". YFM Ghana. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  29. ^ "Boiler Room is coming to Ghana". Music in Africa. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  30. ^ "DIASPORA DISTINS: ANTONIA ODUNLAMI WITH AMAARAE". Worldwide FM. Archived from the original on October 28, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  31. ^ ""Spend Some Time" Amaarae ft. Wande Coal". Notion. May 22, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  32. ^ "Amaarae: The Angel You Don't Know". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  33. ^ "Stonebwoy displeased with reactions to meeting with Kendrick Lamar - MyJoyOnline.com". www.myjoyonline.com. May 17, 2022. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
  34. ^ Citi, Newsroom (June 9, 2023). "Amaarae releases highly-anticipated album 'Fountain Baby'; set to become first Ghanaian to perform on NPR Tiny Desk".
  35. ^ Christgau, Robert (August 11, 2023). "Consumer Guide: August, 2023". And It Don't Stop. Retrieved August 11, 2023.
  36. ^ "Essentials: Amaarae's Debut, 'Passionfruit Summer', Is a Plush Dreamy-Eyed Project". Native Mag. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  37. ^ "Kali Uchis Chart History: Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  38. ^ a b U.S. Afrobeats peak chart positions for:
  39. ^ "Kali Uchis Chart History: Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  40. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  41. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. November 15, 2021. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  42. ^ "Amaarae & Moliy feat. Kali Uchis – Sad Girls Luv Money Remix". hitparade.ch (in Swiss High German). Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  43. ^ "Amaaarae featuring Moliy chart history | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". officialcharts.com. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  44. ^ "Amaarae songs and albums". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 22, 2024.
  45. ^ "Kali Uchis Chart History: Billboard Global 200". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  46. ^ "You Should Really Listen to Amaarae's New Single 'Spend Some Time' Featuring Wande Coal". OkayAfrica. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  47. ^ "Amaarae explores the unknown in her 'Like It' video". The Fader. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  48. ^ "Leave Me Alone by Amaarae on Amazon Music". Amazon. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  49. ^ "Fancy by Amaarae on Amazon Music". Amazon. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  50. ^ "British certifications – Amaarae". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 14, 2021. Type Amaarae in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  51. ^ "Canadian certifications – Amaarae". Music Canada. Retrieved June 12, 2023.
  52. ^ "FULL LIST: Vodafone Ghana Music Awards releases 2021 nominations". CitiNewswroom. April 4, 2021. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  53. ^ "Headies Awards: Amaarae, Gyakie, KiDi and Nektunez nominated". GhanaWeb. May 25, 2022. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
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