Two months ago, Mike Akox, the eccentric Australia-based Ghanaian artist, released an uptempo Amapiano-influenced track called ‘SPETA’. After hearing the track, naturally, questions floated in my mind surrounding his lyrics. Shortly after, through his responses via email, we were catapulted into a world where polygamy isn’t a family practice, Christian beliefs are followed, and cheating isn’t permitted. Next, we moved on to the music and his process to determine if the man and the artist were the same.
Is he looking for the Burna Boy effect that led fans in 2018 to stream the Phantom-produced ‘Ye’ instead of Kanye West’s seven-track album ‘ye’, where he seemed to fully embrace his bipolar disorder diagnosis for the first time, recorded in Wyoming?
Perhaps, but will it work to his advantage? I guess we will all find out in the future.
Thank YE!! 😂😭 Numbers up 200%. 💰💵💴 pic.twitter.com/d4ojvc3VEQ
— Burna Boy (@burnaboy) June 4, 2018
Until album season rolls around for the Afrobeats living legend Wizkid, here’s my short yet interesting conversation with Mike Akox, a fairly new recording artist trying to find his way to the gainful global music world stage.
GRUNGECAKE: Mike, I’ve read the lyrics to this song. Are you a cheater? As an African man, what are your views on polyamory and polygamy? Are you a child of a household led by polygamy?
This question is funny actually because I am not a cheater and I will never be a cheater. I am not a fan of it in any shape or form. This is due to my upbringing. I believe that as a child, the beliefs of the people you grow up around stick with you. I believe that if I have a partner we are not going to have an add-on such as another human being to our romantic life. Personally, I grew up in a Christian home and the belief system there was just to have one partner and not multiple partners. My parents are separated and married to different people but both have just one partner. Both my grandmother and mom brought me up with this belief and that is what as a child of God I believe in.
GRUNGECAKE: What’s the inspiration for this song? Who were you thinking about when you wrote it? How long ago did you write it?
I wrote this song in Australia and funnily enough, it basically just came to me. Obviously, when I sing a song—different sections mean different things—and this song was inspired by my girlfriend at the time. We are no longer together now. As an artist, I am always getting messages because of my music and my ex-girlfriend would always mention how girls are constantly messaging me. I obviously tried to tell her that I don’t reply and that messages just come and that it is normal. Sometimes, people just feel connected to your music or just want to catch-up or something. Basically, it is important to communicate with your partner and let her know that there is nothing happening there you know. I just thought if I put it in a song she would think I was being serious. Although, the song is not about her only, but about a lot of other things.
GRUNGECAKE: “For your love, I go delete all your DMs”—take time to thoroughly explain this concept. Then, tell me if you’re going to delete all of your DMs for her love and trust.
Yeah, that basically just goes with what I answered previously. For my next relationship and for her love, I will delete all myDMs for real, if that is what she wants. Obviously, if the DM is something that is going to hurt her feelings, then you know, I would rather not read it. People put themselves in these situations and I would rather not unless of course it is regarding work or people who message me wanting to talk about mental health or need advice. But yes I will definitely delete all my DMs for her.
GRUNGECAKE: How did you meet the producer? Do you have a personal/work relationship with this person? Did you record it in-studio with the producer? What was the atmosphere like? Are you a “one-take Jake”? Or do you have to record your vocals a few times for them to sound perfect to your ears?
Actually, the producer is my longtime producer, he is Nigerian and we met a long time ago. I regard him as one of my godfathers. I got introduced to him by my actual godfather, Justice, and his producer, BCOLE, fourteen years ago. He use to play instruments at church and I knew him since I was young. We recorded this song in his bedroom whilst it was raining and we used spoons to mimic the beat in the meantime. So yeah, shoutout to BCOLE. I would say my creative process is very different to that of other artists. Growing up, I have never been the type of artist to write on paper, I write on the mic. It doesn’t even matter if I have to go back to the song five times, I will be in the studio and write on the mic making the song as I go. Most of my songs are one-takes. It just comes to me and I have never used a pen or anything. It just comes to me through the process. I want to capture the feeling as I record a song but I do go back to perfect some parts if need be or to finish a song. So, maybe I am one-take Mike.
GRUNGECAKE: In Africa, there are several incredible music genres that span the continent. How would you describe your unique sound? How is it categorised?
My sound is a bit of everything. Ghana is known to be one of the homes of Afrobeat music. Part of it was actually born there, specifically in Kumasi, Ashanti Region. Fela Kuti came to Ghana in his prime time and he took some band members from Ghana where Afrobeat was actually created and added his own sound to it. I feel that my sound is a blend of Afrobeat with old Highlife from Ghana mixed with Pop and a bit of Jazz. Someone reading this will think I am crazy because I don’t know how to pinpoint my sound, but I guess you can call me the Michael Jackson of Africa because I am mixing different sounds to create something unique. I would simply put it as being an Afrobeat Highlife Pop genre-bending artist.