Q+A: Five Minutes with Inusa Dawuda


Crossover singer-songwriter, saxophonist, and entertainer Inusa Dawuda a.k.a the “Black Pharaoh” returned recently with the release of his new single, ‘Waka Waka Day & Night’ shared on the 1st of September 2023. With releases on recording labels such as BMG and Universal Music, Pacha Recordings, Tiger Records-Kontor Records, Hed Kandi and Kingdom of Music, Inusa Dawuda has also enjoyed success in the smooth jazz/chill-out music genre with some of his hits like ‘Morning Light’ appearing on Café del Mar album vol. 9. If that wasn’t enough, the trailblazing artist has also appeared at venues in Ibiza such as Space, El Divino and Pacha, as well as Niki Beach in Miami, even gracing festival stages at Holi-festival and Kampen Jazz Festival in Germany, and House Music Fest in Croatia. We took some time out to speak to Inusa on all things music, life and creativity. 


Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Music chose me, and it’s been my heartbeat ever since. Growing up in the rhythms of Ghana and grooving to legends like James Brown, Fela Kuti, and Bob Marley, I couldn’t escape its pull. Even in Europe, my dad’s seafaring records opened doors to blues, funk, and jazz. The saxophone, thanks to Grover Washington Jr., became my muse. It wasn’t about opportunity; it was destiny.


Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

In my world of creation, it’s like a groovy dance-off between sound and idea, man! Sometimes, the vibe sets the stage, and other times, the idea drops the beat. But hey, it’s all about the flow, and they often take turns leading the funky parade!


What’s on your current playlist?

As a crossover artist, I indulge in various music genres that truly groove. I immerse myself in music every day, but I don’t have a fixed playlist at the moment. I’m constantly vibing to some fantastic tunes, often curated by my DJ friends whenever the opportunity arises.


Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

The chemistry I share with my fans on stage is something truly special. It’s like a silent understanding that needs no words. Once, a fan asked me if I was a shaman, and it really struck a chord. It’s a connection that goes beyond music; it’s a shared energy and a mutual appreciation for the magic that happens when we come together through music. It’s a humble and profound bond that makes every performance an incredible experience.


What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

As a vocalist, songwriter, and saxophonist, I believe that my voice, body, imagination, and inspiration are the primary tools and techniques that define my original sound. When it comes to the final production of my music or performing live at events, I entrust those aspects to the experts in their respective fields. There’s a saying that goes, ‘Shoemaker, stick to your lasts,’ and I find it resonates with my approach. I focus on what I do best as a musician and creative, recognizing the value of collaboration with professionals in areas like production and sound engineering. This allows me to bring my artistic vision to life while ensuring hopefully quality end result.


Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Absolutely, a day in the recording studio for you is all about going with the flow. It starts with checking and fine-tuning your songs for upcoming gigs to ensure stage readiness. Then, it’s all about embracing inspiration and spontaneity in the studio. No set schedule, just letting the music take you where it wants to go.


Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I believe that my purpose is most fulfilled whenever I engage an audience and transport them from their ordinary lives. These moments of connection and the sense of purpose they bring reinforce my dedication to this mission.


What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Nothing, just myself 🙂


What gets your creative juices flowing?

As I said ealierI when I engage audience and listeners and transport them from their ordinary lives. These moments of connection and the sense of purpose they bring reinforce my dedication to this mission. And music mean life for me


Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I am not a tech enthusiast. I use the essentials first. In pre-production, I work with Logic, or even GarageBand. I still own and love my Audio-Technica AT 3035, with which I have recorded hits like ‘Rumours Digi Digi’ and others. I own Yamaha, Selmer, Yanagisawa, and System 54 saxophones, as well as some smaller gadgets not worth mentioning.


How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

By gaining experience, continuously learning from mistakes, finding joy in the work, maintaining reliability, and professionalism.


Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

I am unpredictable to myself, but first, I will focus on the Waka Waka album and look forward to remixes and possibly collaborations and many good performances.


Famous last words?

Well, as they say in the world of music, ‘The final note is just the beginning of the next song.’ So, stay tuned for more my music, and thank you for being a part of this musical journey with me.


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