Hot in Juba sat down with the multi-talented Achai.
She recently premiered her latest music video which got our attention and she’s been killing it in the music scene with her vocal prowess since learned music is her thing. Anything to do with music, you can count Achai – that’s how passionate she is about the craft.
Have a read at our convo below:
Tell us who is Achai?
Achai Deng is a South Sudanese artist based in Melbourne whose open creativity and ability to connect has led her into fruitful collaborations in Australia and Africa.
Originally from Abyei, my family and I migrated to Australia in 2005 after spending some time in Kenya, specifically Kakuma and Nairobi. Growing up, I’ve always been surrounded by music, from childhood through church, ’Loor’ and most of my family members being musicians. During my high school years, I put my effort into being an outstanding student in my academics, sports and school theatre shows. In 2014, I landed a role with Western Edge’s ‘Edge Ensemble’, a theatre company based in Melbourne West in which I became the first South Sudanese female emerging artist at the company. I was involved in two major productions-
Iago’ andScheherazade’ in which I toured the regions of Victoria creating awareness through theatre and music. Since leaving the company after three good years, I went on to further my academic studies in music and community service. I am currently completing my Graduate Diploma In International Community Development and aspiring to work as a mentor to refugees.
When did you start doing music?
I’ve been singing for some time now, but I started taking my music serious during my high school years. However, I didn’t release my first song till 2018.
How would you describe the type of music that you do as an artist?
My music’s mainly soul, but I am exploring my sound.
Which artist would you like to work with locally and Internationally?
locally I’d love to work with any artist to explore different genres. Internationally I’d love to work with Frank Ocean, he is an incredible writer.
You said in an interview that you dropping your EP on April the 4th. Tell us more about it and what should fans expect?
I was supposed to drop my EP on the 4th but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I was unable to go ahead with my plans. However listeners should expect a range of different style of music ranging from Afro beats, Neon blues, RnB, and Soul.
Who did you work with on your two recent projects, That’s Honest and Africa?
In regards to Honest, I worked with an incredible Liberian Australian based producer called ‘Envy Prince’, and Africa was also produced by ‘Envy Prince’ and recorded in Uganda. I also worked with two incredible producers there called ‘Derrick and Klint’. In terms of the visuals, Honest was shot by Melbourne based Videographer ’Samuel Kwong’ and Africa was shot by a Ugandan based music production company called ‘Play Pictures’ led by Didi.
Describe your creative process when it comes to song development. How do you decide which instrumentals to write to?
When it comes to my creative process and how I decide to choose an instrument its solely based on how the instrumental makes me feel and from there I can start writing.
Tell us about the music scene and music industry in Australia for South Sudanese artists such as yourself.
They’re a lot of talented South Sudanese and African musicians in Australia, however the music industry here is still adapting in the sense that there is not a huge fan base for Afro-Australian Artists. But in due time this will change as more and more atrists are on the come up and will change the music scene.
What inspired the “Africa” song/video?
Africa is inspired by my many short visits back to the motherland. It is also a “small” vision of what most Africans in diaspora who are not able to go back home do not often see. Living in Australia, I know some of my brothers and sisters do not have the resources to visit home and I just wanted to bring a piece of “home” to them. A small, yet most authentic piece of Africa with me.
What was your experience recording/shooting Africa music video in Africa?
In everything in life there are always challenges. Shooting Africa was one of those challenges, however it was one of the greatest experience I will always remember.
What has been the most awkward/embarrassing movement in your life?
One awkward/embarrassing moment was when a group of my family and friends had gone out to the cinema to watch the comedy movie ‘hall pass’, mind you I had already seen the movie. Just before a scene I though was extremely funny came on, I full on burst out laughing till I cried. I somewhat found it funny but the whole cinema was dead silent and staring at me.
What don’t people know about Achai?
What people don’t know about me Is that during my high school days I was an elite rower. My schedule consisted of waking up at 5am for five days a week to train before school in order to be ready for competitions.
What can we look forward to from Achai this year?
I had so many projects that I’ve been working on and was hoping to present them all this year, however this pandemic has restricted me from further working, along with many artists. I’d say look forward to my upcoming and future musical content, it’ll truly tell you more about who I am.
Lastly Who motivates you and who do you do this for?
My number motivator is My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, without Him I am nothing. Through Him I got to know who I am and my purpose of being in this world as He leads me through the paths of righteousness for His names sake. I create music to shed light on the world. Music is one of the most powerful ways of communicating and sharing a message.
Watch her latest music video here:
Connect with Achia via her social media handles here: