Akua China is not your typical diva….a maverick whose stage name may sound as curious as her choice of songs on stage. And yet her ability to take control of the microphone and get the audience to sing along to popular Ghanaian songs have not only helped her to discover her passion but also enabled her to gain identity and acceptance among Ghanaians.
After years of hard work aimed at leaving a mark and establishing her identity on the entertainment scene, Akua China is convinced it is time to pursue a career in music. But her path to stardom has been unconventional and not without impediments. A Chinese resident in Ghana since 2007, Akua China, real name, Apple Zhang seized the moment at the 2014 Legends and Legacy Ball at the National Theatre and captivated the audience with her rendition of Kojo Antwi’s Tom and Jerry. It was an unusual sight of an expatriate, particularly one of Oriental extraction, singing passionately in Twi and the whole experience sent the audience, including the Music Maestro himself, into a frenzy. In an interview with Showbiz last Monday, Akua China said the performance at the Legends and Legacy Ball has raised her profile in Ghana and she is poised to show everyone she has more under her sleeve than just being a Chinese who sings in Twi. “People like me because it’s a novelty to see a Chinese woman singing in Twi, but what I really want do to do is to pursue music to the highest level in this country. My destiny in music is bigger than just being able to sing in the local language,” she said. Akua China is a non-conformist in the strictest sense. She neither spoke Twi nor had any training in the language prior to performing Tom and Jerry, but explained that she watched YouTube videos of the songs and crafted the lyrics in a way that made it easy for her to sing. An easygoing lady, she developed her passion for singing from a very early age but was prevented by close associates, including her own mother from nurturing her talent until she arrived in Ghana where she was finally able to express her passion for music. Even in Ghana, her musical journey was not easy. After arriving in Ghana, she immediately got in touch with a band and began performing at shows around town. But her new found love with music did not go down well with her employers who had facilitated her travel and residence in the country and, therefore, severely restricted her movement. “I was not allowed to go anywhere after work so I was forced to sneak out every night in order to go perform with my band. This eventually led to an ultimatum… I either had to quit performing with the band or quit my job. I decided to leave my job but this also meant I was homeless since my employers were also the ones who were providing my accommodation,” she narrated.. Jobless and homeless, Akua China was advised by a friend to audition for music reality show, Mentor, in 2008, just so she could have a place to live until she found a permanent home. However, after successfully making it past the audition stage and getting into the Mentor house, she felt unwelcome in the house and as a result desired an early exit from the competition. Thanks to her determination and drive, she successfully surmounted these challenges and is now employed with another firm as a marketer. And after living in the country for almost eight years, she considers Ghana her second home and is looking forward to collaborating with some of the established artistes in the industry. Akua China who does RnB music in English said although she does not understand the lyrics of Ghanaian songs, she still enjoyed them nonetheless and has an upcoming single with highife artiste, Bisa Kdei which would be released shortly.