“We are basically talking about our thoughts and opinions, based on our own experiences, without prestige. We’re creating a safe room that enables us to talk and think freely and discuss mental health” – Aurelia Dey on her ‘Sunday Service’ projects
A singer songwriter who just truly loves to think on her feet, the Ghanian-Swedish Dancehall artist Aurelia Dey is an Afrobeat queen who champions a pro-black, pro-equality message and so cultural celebration has a new top name. Unafraid to call out injustice with her chest, Aurelia Dey constantly challenges ignorant attitudes and afrophobic remarks shoulder to shoulder. Bringing her collaborators – the unapologetically fierce Kanye Mavi and the incendiary producer Veronica Odetunde – on board for her latest single, Dey continues to bring fresh music to the table with her new single ‘Misfits’, a track that allows us to see three powerful women who are comfortable with owning their identities – both racially and in terms of mental health.
Bringing her Ghanian and Swedish heritage to the table, she acknowledges the toll that prejudice has taken on her state of mind and uses her resilience to it to inspire others in similar situations on ‘Misfits’, a single that entirely showcases Dey and her collaborators in spreading a message about people who are fighting inner battles and how those people are still as powerful as society’s strongest characters. She also spreads similar messages with her ‘Sunday Service’ project – which is part concert, part web series and part cultural talks. The themes run rich in Dey’s series, a multi-media experience that brings together heavy bass, decisive rap, spiritual soul singing and energetic dance with a sense of comfort, strength, community and belonging, further establishing Aurelia Dey as an artist who simply needs to exist in these modern times. Expressing herself through this dance, music, speaking and acting project – she is always on the look out for new medium to communicate her messages.
Pulling influence from Lo-Fi genres like Vaporwave and Chillwave that have found success on viral platforms like YouTube for relaxation seeking listeners, Dey presents a fairly light-hearted, amongst hard hitting lyrics, and mid-tempo take on modern Afrobeat and traditional Jamaican dancehall, reclaiming the stereotype of the ‘Angry Black Woman’ with her lyrics. Her vocals, meanwhile, glide smoothly between some spoken word vocal performance and some silky R&B stylings. Odetunde brings some pointed Hip-Hop flair to the proceedings, while Kanye Mavi ups the ante with some fast-paced bars. Overall, it is an eclectic mix between new and old, with a crucial message about embracing what makes you special and how to overcome stereotypes or, rather, how to tackle them in your own different way.
Whether through her live shows accompanied by dancers and live bands like The Neighbors, or her Instagram or Spotify talks featuring motivational figures like social profiles Amanda Pombe and Segal Mohamed or lecturer Salem Yohannes or through the recorded music that she releases regularly, including an upcoming full-length album that is being co-produced by Carl Ottoson, Lancelot Productions or Partillo Productions, or through her own ‘Sunday Service’ brand of events – Aurelia Dey is a hugely important artist who invites all audiences to reflect, stand up to injustice and find comfort in simply being who they are.
“Angry, black woman. I am rather an angry black woman. The problem up bringer, the one that points to the elephant in the room, the one that cuts through the thick air” – Veronica Odetunde (Frequent collaborator) talks taking agency of a label/stereotype that has been thurst upon her, and how it is now a proud banner for her work
Words by Jacob Braybrooke
Photography by Nadim Elazzeh
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