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Interview with M3NSA

British Ghanaian Afro-pop pioneer has always gone against the grain

Give an introduction to yourself, how you got into music, where you are today, and where you'd like to be.

My name is M3NSA, British Ghanaian recording artist, songwriter, and producer. I’ve been making music professionally since my teens and helped pioneer what is now a mainstream form of Afro-pop music. I’m currently at a stage in my life where I’m once again going against the grain, attempting to break all the so-called rules and it’s where I need to be.

Tell us about your latest release, what's it about?

My latest single is ‘Forward’. It is the first single off my upcoming album after my last SOLO album ten years ago. It really is a song about brotherhood, solidarity, and celebration of life whilst looking forward to the next chapter. 

M3NSA in a recording studio

How did you record it?

The song was recorded in Budapest with fellow producer and band member Andras Weil. We set up a recording studio in the attic of a nursery school, with a selection of live instruments, analog gear, synthesizers, and a classic 1970’s drum kit. We really wanted to create a project that didn’t limit us to a specific method or sound simply because we’re an independent setup.

How did you distribute it? 

We’re distributing it independently, and it’s available on all streaming platforms.

How did you promote it? 

Mostly online with a small team made up of myself, and my business partner who also doubles as a strategist and creative concept developer. We outsource specific tasks beyond our skill sets by contracting other independent creatives and specialists.

M3NSA performing live

The music industry is in a state of flux right now, where do you see it heading? I think it’s always been this way. 

This is a multi-billion pound industry so you can imagine it's always going to be a pool full of sharks. The sooner we as artists understand what we’re dealing with, how to stand in solidarity, and know our worth, the better.

What's the most important thing missing from Songwhip?

For now, I think the service Songwhip provides is perfect for my current needs, I dunno, ask me again in another year :-)

M3NSA during a video shooting

Which artist do you look up to the most and why?

I don’t particularly look up to any artist in that sense, but there are various artists I admire for different reasons, some for their creative bravery, others for their business acumen, or even their ability to stay true to themselves through the changing times and still remain relevant. 

What artist tools/services can't you live without? 

My laptop and an internet connection, nothing else matters without these two.

What is your advice to other indie artists to help fund their work/produce music? 

Don’t be obsessed with the large numbers, find your goal, create a malleable plan and enjoy the process of reaching your goal, you don’t need to be signed to be a good artist.

M3NSA wearning white hoodie and a gold chain

Anything else you'd like to plug?

I mean I could plug my single ‘Forward’ which we just released, and the incredible surrealist video we shot for it, but I won’t! I want to plug Songwhip! Ha! For standing out in such a way that one can tell this is a service being provided by a bunch of creatives too, and so what they do comes from a place of love and understanding for what artists need, to make our work easy! Big up Songwhip!