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Wendy Shay, Ghana’s next biggest afropop export

Wendy Shay, Ghana's next afropop export?

It may take years to fully measure the impact of Wendy Shay’s 2018 coup. Amidst other singers’ torrents of too-streamable-to-fail prostrations before the algorithmic gods and garish event albums, Wendy Shay stuck to her bona fides. Drawing from her singular résumé as a Ebony’s replacement, slay queen, and don’t-ask-me-dumb-questions, June’s Uber Driver introduced the Ghanaian afropop singer as an impish and cutting force of nature with excessive amativeness.

It’s dizzying to note that between now and last year, she’s bested her performance on “Bedroom Comando”—which was once her best song—at least 10 times better than “Astalavista”.

Shay’s steely menace as she waxes about implike saps from her sharper boasts, but she still packs a punch.

“Shay on You” remarkable places her, without a doubt, in the pantheon of great musicians. It is both brazen and vulnerable, filled with wild amounts of personality, style, and craft.

Has Ghana’s next afropop export arrived? The possible answer is YES. Someone has to Shay on You!

Wendy is the new Ghanaian Dream. Her Ebony-replacement-to-riches story is a product of living life out of hate, in the open, the answer to the question of how to be famous in the modern age.

The singer parlayed her bitter residency into a social media empire before landing on entertaining music score sheets, where she soaked up the spotlight as an aspiring artist making the most of her time. And yet there are those who still deny her obvious talent and regard her success so far as a fluke—led by the close-minded few who still refuse to give a woman her due in music.

Wendy Shay, Ghana's next afropop export?
Wendy Shay and Manager Bullet

Shay on You is an emphatic response to  skeptics. The song is showy and upfront, at once brazen and vulnerable. On her assured and outspoken record off the recently released album, Wendy Shay shuffles from afropop-afro dancehall to sing-song ballads and strutting promenades. She is afrodancell’s answer to MzVee: funny, curious, and absorbing. Wendy’s rants can be as biting as they are mesmerizing, as much an invasion of your space as they are an immersion into her world.

Forged in the same fires that wrought Stonebwoy’s “We Bad” intro, the explosive “Shay on You” sets the tone. The shots-fired-thunder-strike screed is an opening salvo of epic proportions, lining up foes to drop them, digging a stiletto heel into the throats of her challengers. Wendy Shay sings with fire and force, a born star who’s grown accustomed to being told she’s not good, dim your light for the sake of others. Each new triumph rejects such a ridiculous premise, and each naysayer has seemingly only granted her more power.

Wendy Shay is a great talker, but her voice itself is its own instrument as it wraps around each word; her accent and inflections forge each syllable into a snap, making every utterance feel novel and unique. She wields her voice like a weapon, and she can make even the mundane seem glamorous with a particularly choice phrasing.

This specific economy of language is the core of her appeal, and every verse is imbued with its impact. She is one thing and her beau/hater/adversary is another, but it’s the relationship between those two things that conjures the imagery with some of the punchlines which you can laugh-out-loud, while others are immensely clever.

Her writing is often convincingly diametrical.  Her practiced abrasiveness is a defense mechanism constructed over time, so when she churns things like, “’I jump over now I’m on throne/He is a dog, take a bone/ Number one, yes, I am the one/ I got the crown forget everyone,” she’s showing you the inside of her armor.

Check out the twenty thousand cedis (Ghc 20000) video shot and directed by Yaw SkyFace below. The video was shot on location in Jamestown, a suburb of Accra. Wendy Shay is currently signed to RuffTown Records.

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