Zoe Ackah – Five Questions With

Zoe Ackah

Zoe Ackah shares “Gotta Stop Loving You (But I Can’t)” from her upcoming album, This Hen

Known on the Toronto scene as a singing drummer and studio backup vocalist, Zoe Ackah is now forging a solo path with fierce determination and a trunk full of creative ideas. Today, the singer-songwriter shares “Gotta Stop Loving You (But I Can’t),” the lead single from her forthcoming album This Hen.

The catchy song is a very familiar tale of self-inflicted heartbreak that anyone who has repeatedly failed to keep a long-term relationship together can relate to.

“Initially written about one guy, I realized I was actually writing about the same emotionally unavailable guy I keep dating, over and over again,” says Zoe.

The Country ditty, with its 70s harmonies and weeping guitar, is as hopeful as it is resigned to love’s futility.

Listen to “Gotta Stop Loving You (But I Can’t)” below and learn more about Zoe Ackah via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m a complicated and fairly ridiculous human being, just like most other creative people. I make music, so I have a way to process my experiences. It helps that I went to music school and I have played in a lot of bands – somehow, setting my human story to nice music has made things I want to say easier to hear. I call myself a genre-defying artist because, over the years, I have performed all types of music, from European Classical to pop music released in Rwanda to Reggae to Rock to…you name it. I give myself the freedom to create whatever I want, and if it ends up sounding good, well, then I might let people hear it!

Tell us a bit about your most recent release.

My last record was an alt-folk project where I talked a lot about stigma and social isolation. My single, “Gotta Stop Loving You (But I Can’t),” is about dating emotionally unavailable men who are no good for you, over and over again! I wrote it about one guy and realized it was about every guy I’ve ever been with. I promise you I’m done from this moment on. I read a book on attachment styles, and I swear I’ve reformed. This is the first single off the upcoming record This Hen which comes out in May. It is a Roots-Americana album with songs that are funny laments about the lives of everyday women like me. The musicians who play on it are stellar, but the songs are simple, even silly interrogations of how regular women are treated in our world. We do so much work, and we have so much on our shoulders. To be honest, I’m tired – but this album is really about poking fun at the situation with a light heart. I sing it with some of the “Country” inflection that I got from my brief summers in Virginia as a child, as well as the Country-Rock section of my dad’s record collection.

Where do you tend to pull inspiration from when writing?

I have an imaginary world inside my head which is basically like a Studio Ghibli movie. I call it my “imaginarium” in honor of Community, a show I really like. I go in there to hear songs, to create an environment in which a song can live. In there, the song takes on a “place” so that I can try to make music that sounds like the place looks. I know that sounds weird, but I have talked to other people about it. Using visual analogy to express musical ideas, well, other musicians seem to love it and do it too.

Do you have any upcoming shows you’d like to tell us about?

You betcha! I am at the Tranzac on Feb 12 from 3-5 and the Emmet Ray on March 5 and April 9 from 5-7. These are Toronto shows, but I am really looking forward to traveling with this record. The album release party is set for May 31, venue TBA.

What’s your goal for 2023?

This year I want to spend all my days making music and having fun. I am busy writing another album and am really looking forward to continuing to produce music. I’m upgrading my studio and applying to go to music events and festivals so I can meet new people to work with and make friends. I want to enjoy my life as much as possible this year.

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