KABBA (singer)

Aminata Kabba (born 13 December 1994), better known by her stage name KABBA, formerly known as A*M*E, is a British singer and songwriter. KABBA was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 13 December 1994. In 2011, Amy was scouted and signed by Take That frontman Gary Barlow to his label, Future Records.[1][2][3]

KABBA in 2020
KABBA in 2020
Background information
Birth nameAminata Kabba
Also known asA*M*E
Born (1994-12-13) 13 December 1994 (age 25)
Freetown, Sierra Leone
OriginLondon, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2010–present
Associated acts

On 9 December 2012, the BBC announced that KABBA - then A*M*E - had been nominated for the Sound of 2013 poll.[4]

In January 2013, Amy signed to Sony Music's Epic Records after Barlow closed Future Records to focus on his own career commitments. Her single "Need U (100%)", a collaboration with Duke Dumont and MNEK, topped the UK Singles Chart on 7 April 2013.


1994–2011: Early lifeEdit

At the age of eight, Amy moved to the United Kingdom after her mother's hair salon was burned to the ground and life in Sierra Leone became too dangerous.[1] Growing up in the Catford area[5] of south-east London, Amy was introduced to fellow teenage prodigy MNEK.[1] The pair bonded over a mutual love of 90s Pop and started collaborating, quickly creating a handful of songs including "City Lights". The track was enough to pique the interest of Take That frontman Gary Barlow, who proceeded to sign her to his Future record label.[1][6]

2012–2018: Career beginnings: A*M*EEdit

In 2012, KABBA released a string of promotional singles called "City Lights (featuring Bartoven)", "Ride Or Die", and "Find A Boy", which she co-wrote alongside Emeli Sandé and producer Naughty Boy.[7]

It was announced by The Guardian in September 2012 that Amy would release her first commercial single, "Play The Game Boy", in November 2012.[8] Produced by Electric, the track attained positive reviews, with Digital Spy listing the song as one of its 'Top 10 tracks You Need to Hear'; commenting on "[its] insanely addictive choruses and K-pop inspired melodies" and that "it feels fresher than anything else on this week's chart."[9]

On 9 December 2012 the BBC announced that Amy had been nominated for the Sound of 2013 poll alongside the likes of Angel Haze and The Weeknd.[4]

Her collaboration with Duke Dumont, "Need U (100%)" was released in March 2013. It became both acts' most successful single at the time, debuting at No.1 and remaining there for 2 weeks, and earned her a nomination in the Best Dance Recording category at the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

On 14 July 2014, Amy released her second official single, "Heartless", produced by Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub. She also featured on Monsieur Adi's single "What's Going On?", CamelPhat's "Paradigm", MK's "My Love 4 U", Tough Love's "Closer to Love", Shift K3Y's "Entirety", as well as appearing on M-22's "White Lies".

2019–present: KABBA and debut EPEdit

Through an Instagram post on 8 July 2019, Amy announced that she would rebrand as KABBA.[10]

KABBA announced the first single from her self titled debut EP on 12 July 2019. It is titled "Glue" and features Bartoven, who previously appeared on her song "City Lights". The song was first premiered on COMPLEX on 24 July 2019. In the article, KABBA explained the reasons behind her rebrand, stating: "KABBA is a Sierra Leonean name and part of my identity that is so precious to me. Now that I'm entering a new phase in my career, I'm free to fully embrace KABBA." [11]

Her debut EP KABBA was released on 14 February 2020.


Extended playsEdit

Title Details
  • 14 February 2020
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Digital download


As lead artistEdit

Title Year Album
"City Lights"
(featuring Bartoven)
2012 Non-album single
"Ride or Die"
"Play the Game Boy"[12]
"Heartless" 2013
(featuring Bartoven)
2019 KABBA
"My Work Is Done"
"Muscle" 2020

As featured artistEdit

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Need U (100%)"
(Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E)
2013 1 40 17 31 27 20 non-album single
"What's Going On?"
(Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E)
(CamelPhat featuring A*M*E)
2015 Axtone Ten
"My Love 4 U"
(MK featuring A*M*E)
2016 non-album single
"Closer To Love"
(Tough Love featuring A*M*E)
2017 Past Present Future
(Shift K3Y featuring A*M*E)
2018 non-album single

Promotional singlesEdit

Title Year Album
"Find a Boy"[7]
(A*M*E featuring Mic Righteous)
2012 non-album single

Guest appearancesEdit

Title Year Artist Album Notes
"One Thousand"[19] 2012 Cheryl Cole A Million Lights Un-credited backing vocals
"Future X Girl"[20] 2014 Neon Jungle Welcome to the Jungle
"WTF (Interlude)" 2017 Brayton Bowman 22 Minutes Later Un-credited speaker
"All In" 2018 Throttle Non-album single Writer and un-credited lead vocalist
"White Lies" 2019 M-22

Songwriting creditsEdit

  • "Beautiful Stranger" – co-written with Jason Gill, Mich Hansen & Dury Moon; recorded and released by f(x), 4:06 for their Electric Shock EP album.[21]
  • "Familiar" - co-written with Ryan Campbell & Roberto Manfredi; recorded and released by Ryan Ashley, 3:09 as a non-album single.[22]

Music videosEdit

Song Year Artist Director Reference(s)
"City Lights" 2012 A*M*E (featuring Bartoven) Ashur Yelda, Aram Antabil,
Ashley McDermott & Chantelle Fiddy
"Ride or Die" A*M*E [24]
"Play the Game Boy" Patrick Killingbeck [25]
"Heartless" 2013 [26]



Amy has been heavily influenced by K-pop, saying "I love my K-pop, but I haven't really done anything with that sound yet. There's influences from it in my music – I've got some fat, solid, six-part melodies which are very K-poppy."[27] Amy cites Beyoncé, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Big Bang as her influences, she also cites Janet Jackson as a major influence calling Jackson "my idol".

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Organisation Award Result
2012 BBC Sound of 2013 Sound of 2013[4] Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d "New music: A*M*E – City Lights (Fuller Refix vs Gold Top Remix)". The Guardian. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Gary Barlow Advises A*M*E 'To Avoid Getting Sidetracked' After Number One Single". Entertainmentwise.com. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  3. ^ "X Factor's Gary Barlow uses mentoring skills with A*M*E saying 'just be true to yourself' - Unreality TV". Unreality TV. 9 April 2013. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Sound of 2013 Profiles: A*M*E". BBC. 9 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Catford Sedgehill teenager A*M*E keeps anti-Thatcher song from number one spot". News Shopper. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Sedgehill Students sign record deal". Sedgehill School. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Release information: A*M*E – Find a Boy featuring Mic Righteous". Euro Solution. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  8. ^ "New music: A*M*E – Play the Game Boy". The Guardian. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Playlist: 10 tracks you need to hear". Digital Spy. 1 October 2012. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  10. ^ A*M*E Announces Rebrand as KABBA: "A*M*E Announces Rebrand as KABBA > 8 July 2019". KABBA.
  11. ^ Emerging R&B Singer KABBA Shares Booming, Bass-Heavy "Glue": "Emerging R&B Singer KABBA Shares Booming, Bass-Heavy "Glue"> 24 July 2019". COMPLEX.
  12. ^ "'Play the Game Boy' – A*M*E". iTunes. 11 November 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  13. ^ Peak positions for the featured singles in the UK:
  14. ^ "Discography A*M*E". Hung Medien. australian-charts.com/.
  15. ^ "Discografie A*M*E". Hung Medien. ultratop.be/nl/.
  16. ^ "A*M*E discography". Hung Medien. danishcharts.dk.
  17. ^ Peak positions for Ireland:
  18. ^ "Discografie A*M*E". Hung Medien. dutchcharts.nl/.
  19. ^ "Cheryl – A Million Lights". Discogs. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  20. ^ "Neon Jungle – Welcome to the Jungle". Josep Vinaixa. Archived from the original on 5 August 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  21. ^ "BMI Repertoire: Songwriter/Composer:Aminata Kabba". Broadcast Music Incorporated. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  22. ^ "Album FAMILIAR, Ryan Ashley | Qobuz: download and streaming in high quality". Qobuz.com. 24 October 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  23. ^ "A*M*E – City Lights feat. Bartoven". YouTube. 14 January 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  24. ^ "A*M*E – Ride or Die". YouTube. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  25. ^ "A*M*E – Play The Game Boy". YouTube. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  26. ^ "A*M*E – Heartless". YouTube. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  27. ^ "A*M*E interview: 'I call Gary Barlow Uncle G'". Digital Spy. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.

External linksEdit