Being dubbed as the Young Lioness of Africa poetically resonates an image of youth and confidence, highlighted through a kind of ferocity, but also an impending responsibility to others. As one of the most charismatic rising stars on the world stage, Wiyaala’s journey has been one exceeding in every facet of her trajectory, emerging from the iron grasp a patriarchal and conservative society known for frequent hostility towards artistic growth.
Tracing back to her first notable success of being discovered on Vodafone Icons Reality Show back in 2012, Wiyaala has described the long journey that took her to the capital city, perhaps with little comprehension at the time of how far that journey would take her. Already she is one of Ghana’s most toured exports, with an impressive roster of international shows already piling up – including Commonwealth Games 2018 in Australia, WOMAD in the UK and Timitar Festival in Morocco.
On the path to international recognition, she has achieved above and beyond just her musical aspirations. In the Sissala dialect, the word ‘Wiyaala’ translates as ‘’the doer’’ – a seemingly understated expression for what has been required and she has taken upon herself to accomplish as a committed supporter of creative arts and political movements in Africa. Not only has she organised The Djimba World Music Festival, which is now in its third year, she is an active influencer for UNICEF Ghana and fights for the abolition of FGM and Early Child Marriage, both of which she was fortunate to escape at an early age.
Seemingly an extension of her honest and forthcoming personality, her music has been described as a potent fusion between West African folk songs with stadium Afro-pop. Inspired by her own interpretation of West-African mythology, her music is brought to life with spectacularly energetic dance moves while modelling unique hand sewn garments of her own design.
Feistiness is perhaps Wiyaala’s most understated and apparent feature. ‘’Better Treat Me Right’’ is a feel-good pop song, and one that demonstrates some of that raw, inner fire. In a relatively upbeat chorus, Wiyaala declares, without a hint of irony, a promise to ‘pull out your hair and push you down the stairs’ if you fall short on her sole demand.