On April 26, Ghanaian singer Y’akoto released her sultry new single “Secret,” heralding a new dawn for her musical guise. The single, her first project of the year, featured Ghanaian Drill/Afro-Beat star Jay Bahd (Asakaa Boys).
The stunning new cut was recorded as part of a host of very productive recording sessions in Los Angeles with Grammy-nominated producer Nabeyin, who has previously worked with Kanye West, Drake, Nas, and Miguel among others. ‘Secret’ was also mixed and mastered by multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated engineer IRKO, whose credits include Kanye West, Jay Z, The Weeknd, Sia, and Jennifer Lopez.
Y’akoto and producer Nabeyin share an extraordinary story of musical destiny. Narrating how she crossed paths with the producer, she explained he first heard her sound on an Apple Music playlist highlighting Ghanaian female artists. Impressed with what he heard, he reached out on Instagram, to which she responded.
“We had a similar vibe. We were both into music, and I remember him telling me, I don’t care how many followers any artist has; as long as they’re talented, I want to work with them.” She spoke about the producer. Y’akoto further revealed the producer’s intention to work with more Ghanaian artists, as he is of Ghanaian heritage.
Expounding further into her recording in LA, the “Secret” singer explained Nabeyin had plans to link up with her once he arrived in Ghana. However, she wanted to be able to spend more time working with the producers and flew to Los Angeles instead.
“I wanted full studio time because I like to get locked in with a certain producer and I like to work from morning to evening. I don’t like when my sessions are interrupted,” she said.
Hence, she made the sacrifice and recorded a plethora of songs with the producer, which was equally mixed and mastered in LA.
Y’akoto was born Jennifer Yaa Akoto Kieck in Hamburg, Germany, to a political scientist mother and a celebrated highlife musician father. That duality—a mixture of analytical and ineffable, left-brain and right-brain—is present in Y’akoto’s music to this day, which is led with the heart but contains a sharp, endlessly curious emotional outlook.
Having spent much of her life between Germany, France, and Ghana, Y’akoto recently relocated permanently to the Ghanaian capital of Accra, which also happens to be her father’s birthplace.
With music running through her blood (her father was a successful Ghanaian recording artist in the 70s) and influences ranging from the R&B majesty of Destiny’s Child and SZA to the raw energy of Jimi Hendrix and the dulcet tones of Tracey Chapman, it is easy to see why Y’akoto’s music has such an eclectic sonic palate.
Listen to “Secret” on your preferred streaming platform.
Connect with Y’akoto on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.