“My songwriting process varies because usually I freestyle to a chord progression on my guitar, piano or beat and then sometimes melodies and lyrics come out simultaneously,” Miriam Nyarko shares with an air of genuine spontaneity and artistic fluidity. Her approach to music is as eclectic as her personality – reflective, grounded, and deeply intertwined with her personal experiences and beliefs.
Miriam reflects on the complexities of her life and career, stating, “After months and months of healing, bargaining and reconciliation, I began to find God again and therefore find myself.” This statement summarizes her path through adversity and the strength she’s found in her faith and self-discovery. Her latest release “The Journey,” is an ode to her soulful and introspective nature. The EP exudes a chill vibe, offering listeners a sense of calm and solace, a much-needed respite in today’s fast-paced world. I can’t wait to see where this journey leads her, and where it might take us all who listen.
In our interview, we talk about her unique songwriting process, the role of faith in her life and music, and the journey of finding herself through her art.
photography by Celina Mervine
This project didn’t actually start out as an EP, but then “The Journey” turned as your debut EP. How come?
It was pretty much as simple as writing four songs that all linked, in some respect, and feeling like I couldn’t drop them as only singles. When I initially wrote ‘Built On You’ it was such a smooth writing process and then the next three songs came a few months later. The moment I had finished them all I knew that if I sat on them for too long they wouldn’t come out. It just all fell into place.
“Lifeline” is your favourite track out of it, why?
‘Lifeline’ is just pure vibes. I remember the day I made it with Samuel in the studio, and just being so ecstatic about it before it had even been mixed or mastered. I love the combination of the smooth afro beat against the serene and faith-driven lyrics. The whole premise of the song focuses on God being my ‘branch’ and letting Him ‘take the wheel’, a concept which I had struggled with in previous years. It comes immediately after Mine (Oh Father), where I reclaim God as my own. Lifeline is the start of the solidification of my faith, arguably the more important part of the journey, and that’s why it’s my favourite!
You wrote and composed all the songs on the EP yourself. How is your usual songwriting process – first the lyrics or first the melodies?
My songwriting process varies because usually I freestyle to a chord progression on my guitar, piano or beat and then sometimes melodies and lyrics come out simultaneously. That is kind of what happened for ‘built on you’. But I would say melodies first 98% of the time and then the words I freestyle end up making partial sense.
“I’m a perfectionist at heart, and leaving unfixable situations alone definitely doesn’t come natural to me.”
What is your most inspirational place to write new music?
I don’t have a set place where I write music but I am pretty sure 99% of my songs have been written from the comfort of my bed. I just am aware that this is where I can be completely and utterly, my vulnerable self, which always translates into the most honest and natural form of songwriting.
You stated that “these four songs are the most accurate, vulnerable and celebratory representations of me and my faith.” It’s about a journey of rediscovery, of finding God and yourself again. Why and where were you lost and how has music and your faith helped you to find your path again?
Warning, this answer may include some trauma dumping. I suppose my ‘trauma’ began with the passing of my best friend and co-star in 2019. Not long after, my dad passed away during the covid pandemic. Both were soul shaking grievances which turned my life upside. My trust in God wavered and the foundation in my faith had cracked. I felt lost, helpless and like the entire world was against me. After months and months of healing, bargaining and reconciliation, I began to find God again and therefore find myself. Whether it was through journaling, reading my Bible or attending services, my trust in Him returned and it remains, now, as firm as ever.
You’re a dancer as well. What kind of dance and if you had to choose between dancing or making music, what would be your first choice?
Yes I do also dance and have trained in dancing for ten years in most genres being: tap, ballet, jazz, contemporary and my favourites (the only ones I still do) commercial & Afro. However, singing will always be my number one, my first choice! The joy, peace and relaxation I feel when singing… especially songs that I’ve written!! Wow, there’s nothing like it.
“After months and months of healing, bargaining and reconciliation, I began to find God again and therefore find myself.”
Where do you hope your life journey will take you in the next 5 years?
I hope to see headline gigs in my future, release albums and I’m definitely looking to collaborate with some of my favourite artists. I would love to perform at more festivals and get more involved with bbc introducing so that I can bridge the gap between secular music & Afro-Gospel, since Christians are called to be in the world but not of the world!.
How important are the opinions of others to you?
If I’m being honest, the opinions of others used to really steer the direction in which I would go. Never dramatically, but they were definitely a thought in my mind. Now, however, yes I take things into consideration since they could be used as constructive criticism. But never will opinions rule my life or be the reason I do something other than what I … and more importantly God wants to do. For example, some would say releasing an EP without an established fan base is a foolish idea, but God drove me make this music and I felt obliged to share it with the world, even if it may not have a solidified audience as of yet.
Your biggest weakness and your biggest strength is…?
I would say my biggest weakness is not knowing when to walk away. Whether it’s from a friendship, an unfinished song, or something that is draining my energy. I definitely fixate too much on making everything perfect, when that everything now has less value. I’m a perfectionist at heart, and leaving unfixable situations alone definitely doesn’t come natural to me. But like all of us, I’m constantly learning and setting new boundaries to try and combat these tendencies. My biggest strength actually can be a result of my weakness, funnily enough! I would say I am extremely strong mentally and determined. Simply because I have experienced a lot of trauma in my 21 years, I definitely am emotionally very intelligent. Of course I have my off days, but overall I’d say I’m very driven and motivated, especially when it comes to sharing my music…and God’s message.
Thank you so much for your time!