New Sound 009 \\ Nardeydey on the origins of her name and loving Joni Mitchell

15th April 2019
Shirley Tetteh AKA Nardeydey is on a journey. 
 
The Nérija and Maisha guitarist revealed her new solo project Nardeydey recently; a left-field dream pop creation that could be filed away in your music collection alongside Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads and Warpaint. It’s a step away from her Jazz connotations which is surprising at first but sounds completely natural; Shirley, as Nardeydey, brings some sentiment from her other projects with her, teaming it with clever songwriting and contagious hooks. 
 
Following her singles ‘FreeFalling’ and ‘Slippin’, Nardeydey’s third single is on the way via the label, Lucky Number Music. Get familiar with the guitarist, one of our ‘Ones to Watch‘ for 2019. 
 

\\ Where does the name Nardeydey come from? What’s the story?
It’s my other first name. Various regions or tribes in Ghana can name people based on things like the day they were born or whether they were the second-born child; I was named ‘Naa Deedei’  because I was the firstborn girl, so that’s where ‘Nardeydey‘ comes from. I changed the spelling to help people pronounce it but I think I might just have to keep saying it aloud for a while!

 

\\ Your solo work takes a different turn from Nerija and Maisha. Tell us about how it’s been, flexing the creative muscles in another direction; what gave you the urge to launch something new and different?
It’s been great! Super fun to sit down and produce something from start to finish – when I’m working on my own I find it a lot easier to get lost in what I’m doing. Of course, when you write with others there are things you could never achieve on your own, so I love doing both but I definitely love having an outlet for things that come from me, even if I end up having musicians or engineers come in to play or help me achieve a sound like I want to do more of in the future; so far all the singles I’ve released have been produced and written by myself. I haven’t really thought of it as a different direction. It sort of just happened because I enjoyed writing songs and the more I wrote, the more I wanted to release what I had written. A happy accident almost!
 

\\ You’ve been showing us some catchy hooks and melodies in your new tunes! What singer-songwriters have you been taking inspiration from recently?

Always Joni Mitchell, always. Been playing her ‘Hejira’ record a lot – it’s really inspiring to me that she could come out with an album like Blue and still produce music that shows so much growth. But I’ve also been listening to the Clark Sisters‘ ‘You Brought the Sunshine’ record released in 1981 – a quintet of 5 amazing singers performing gospel music, daughters of the great Mattie Moss-Clark, (and not to be confused with the quartet largely active in the 60’s of the same name) that was written, arranged and produced by Elbernita ‘Twinkie’ Clark, who also plays keys throughout the record. It’s such a good album, criminal that people don’t know about them and her more. I think a film is coming out about them though, produced by Missy ElliotQueen Latifah and Mary J Blige so hopefully that’ll change. Also, the singer Kierra ‘Kiki’ Sheard is set to play her mum Karen Clark-Sheard, so I’m looking forward to that.

\\ In a recent Guardian interview, you’ve talked about coming out and leaving church; how has writing lyrics and ‘songs’ (as opposed to instrumental, improvised tracks) helped you to express yourself on these topics?

I haven’t directly written about leaving the church or coming out; I’m also very aware that being black, talking about being gay and leaving church can take over the narrative a little – of course, it’s formed part of who I am, but so has listening to Joni Mitchell, and not going to uni, playing jazz, discovering the band Cube, and playing with indie pop band JUCE, and so many things! It’s super important that everyone gets to be seen as a whole person as opposed to a bunch of boxes, no matter how important the box is.

\\ Tell us about what’s coming out on Lucky Number Music this year?

Well I’ve got a new tune called ‘Slippin’ that I’m really excited about! That’ll be out soonish. Also, I’ve got my first Nardeydey gig at the Electric Brixton coming up, supporting Panda Bear of Animal Collective, so I’m generally pretty excited (and anxious lol) this Spring!

Maisha play Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2019

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