After her very successful debut album, Death Becomes Her, which she released only one year ago, multitalented producer, singer and songwriter Angel-Ho doesn’t rest and arrives with the release of her sophomore album, Woman Call, out now. After co-founding the NON Worldwide Collective, which brought together many amazing African musicians, the artist decided to follow her path and create solo projects.
DJing and producing for other artists helped her to develop her own unique sound. After collaborating with rappers K Rizz and K-$ as well as with producers Gaika or Asmara on the first record, Angel-Ho decided to write and sing solo on Woman Call. The album surprises with many different genres incorporated in a catchy way and a unique yet smart narrative. Powerful vocals give listeners thrill and excitement. Angel-Ho's expressive personality is visible on the album and provides honest and vulnerable lyrics that will keep inspiring the audience. Today, we are speaking with the artist about her career, new project and thoughts on the music industry.
How did you realise music is the art form that helps you express yourself? And when did you decide that this is the career path you wanted to take?
It was when I was DJing for a friend and their show; the act was called Umlilo & The Rag Dolls. I was so excited by the fact I could make art blend music and that in itself is the taste and an expression of myself. I started taking it seriously when I was mid-way through studying a BA in Fine Art. I was like, this is truly my calling! But it was through art and my past experiences on stage that led me to a career in music.
Your first album, Death Becomes Her, was very successful and received some fantastic reviews. Did you feel any pressure from your fans and critics to meet their expectation while working on this new record? 
The first album I made, I felt like the world was watching… and what if I failed? The only thing I didn’t want was for the music to be considered boring. This time around, I didn’t feel like I had to meet anybody’s expectations but only do the music justice and make it as great as I could. I obviously want people to feel happy and entertained. I think that was the main goal with this record – it had to be fun, with a dash of ostentatiousness, and over-the-top showgirl enigmatic experience when listening.
Woman Call celebrates the power of women that are not perfect and try to find their own voice in society. How did this concept evolve, and what was your intention with incorporating this theme in the album?
I’ve always been in-between boxed constructs and never really fitted in any but made my own fantasy just by being myself. Wanting to transition and then biologically not being able to due to medical conditions and still saying to myself I am a woman was probably the hardest mental switch I had to endure. So my intentions are clear: I want people to be whoever they want to be. I truly feel the authenticity in my vocals when I listen and hear no autotune. It takes me to a time where music was made because you wanted to sing and not purely on aesthetic mixing value. What I wanted to do was make it known that there are millions of voices in the world, but what I’m singing is what will give birth to generations of LGBTQ+ communities and their freedom.
“It’s like my second album is the diary of a trans girl who worships pop culture.”
Your voice and sound blend together in such a bold and unique way. Do you prefer working on the production or vocals?
Thank you! I’m now a singer-songwriter girl. I literally have a new story for every beat I hear that is sent from a producer. I live to create and tell the story. Can you believe I was told not to sing? How dare you!
What did you learn from working on Death Becomes Her that you applied to the second album? 
Well, I learned that it’s better to take your time. With Woman Call, I was healing from trauma and poor chronic mental health issues. You can hear the release in every track. It has all been very therapeutic, and the songs I made later became glossy pop experiences that I could have only dreamed of a year ago. 
Your exploration of gender and identity is a big part of your art. What do you think people that struggle with similar issues will find in your (new) music?
They will find that I am just like everyone else, a fighter and survivor. They will find the messages in my songs and lyrics. It’s like my second album is the diary of a trans girl who worships pop culture. Seek and you shall find what you’re looking for in the music. From my irritation with not being acknowledged as a being to my love songs where you want romance a certain way but it always turns out you’re giving more in the end. My music tackles the desire to be alive and able, so I hope that is what is inspiring people to love themselves as much as I love the music. 
You previously said that you want your music to be received universally. Unfortunately, a lot of black artists are still being put in an ‘urban’ category and not recognised in some genres – as Tyler, The Creator noted in this year’s Grammys ceremony. Do you think the music industry is slowly going in the right way to change it?
Not at all. I look at the way so many artists have been black-balled in the industry and that was extremely unsettling. But if we take a closer look, it is apps like TikTok that are changing the industry. The youth is deciding on what is hot or not. I like to think that if you tick a box you’re set for life, you will have people handing you things at your every command. What happens when you can’t even describe yourself or the music you make? I think that when you are black and make genre-blending music, you will be put in a category that is labelling the colour of your skin, not your talent. That shows that the industry is a site for excellence in conformity, and I’m not buying it. [Plays Grace Jones’ Hurricane
You also stated that you wanted to create “music that I wish I heard growing up and now I think I have achieved this.” Does this new record – as well as the previous one – have an underlying political intention?
It is all really subliminal twists, but I would like to think that my voice is the political intention in the music. I defied the odds when they are not in my favour. I made another record and released it independently. The fact that I tear it up in some of these tracks better than those making millions is a political statement.
As a curiosity, who were some of your referents back when you were a child?
For me, it was Whitney Houston, Roberta Flack, and Celine Dion. Top three as a 6-year-old.
“When you are black and make genre-blending music, you will be put in a category that is labelling the colour of your skin, not your talent.”
All the songwriting and vocals are yours on Woman Call. Why did you decide not to collaborate with any other artists on this record? 
I needed an album that was all me with no distractions. This is me putting a stamp in the world and saying: look over here and listen, it’s me.
What music do you listen to when you’re working on a new project? What artists inspired you recently?
I must say that, while on tour, every single day for two months, I played Madonna’s Confessions On a Dancefloor – I would be singing it on a train and people would come to me telling me not to stop. I really didn’t care, but that album made me really happy.
What new would you like to achieve with this record and its sound? What are the plans for the upcoming months in addition to releasing the album?
Everything is really dependent on Covid-19 at the moment… So we’ll just have to have faith and see.
Woman Call Album Cover.jpg