Multifaceted British singer-songwriter, dancer and actress Miriam Nyarko speaks to F Word about her life in the arts from a young age, how her experience of the music industry has changed over the years, and some inspirations behind her stunning debut EP The Journey, a vulnerable and uplifting account of her life’s journey so far.
Maisie Daniels: Your debut EP The Journey is now out! Can you tell us about the journey it’s taken you on?
Miriam Nyarko: In terms of the journey it’s taken me on post release … It's been a whirlwind. I’ve been able to network, feature on tracks, get played multiple times on BBC Introducing and even support at so many gigs such as Solos Ldn and Sofar Sounds. But taking a step back, my debut EP has been a long time coming over the past few years. It’s taken many different shapes, sounds and forms, but ultimately, I feel like these four songs are the most accurate, vulnerable and celebratory representation of me and my faith. I also love the story that this EP conveys. We start ‘Drowning’ and wading through our struggles, and through a journey of rediscovery, of finding God, and myself again, then we end with an ever-present reminder that we are all built on Him, and His firm foundation.
MD: What was the biggest thing you took away from making this EP?
MN: The biggest thing I have taken away from making this EP is that, however big or small, an artist you are, someone always wants to hear your story. It’s really comforting knowing that I’ve managed to build a really intimate and endearing fan base with people that support me, and are excited to hear what is next. I’ve also learnt that when you are unapologetically yourself, you will find people that encourage you because you encourage them.
MD: It’s four tracks; can you describe each track in one word?
MN: Love this question! For ‘Drowning’ I would describe it as poetic. ‘Mine (Oh Father)’ is outpouring, ‘Lifeline’ is sanguine and ‘Built On You’ is enlightening.
MD: Speaking of the number four, this is the age when you first started singing. Can you share with us your journey into music from such a young age?
MN: Yes, so I grew up around gospel influences and subsequently found my passion for music through singing in church at the age of four. Time passed and at the age of seven I started singing lessons and part time performing arts schools. This is where my love for acting derived and I knew I was called to this industry in whatever respect. When I turned ten I auditioned for The Lion King in the west end and booked the role of young Nala! Many west end shows later, telling other people's stories didn’t feel like all I was meant to do. And I knew I loved songwriting so I went to workshops, entered competitions, and eventually I won one! I got the opportunity to perform my original song at the Royal Albert Hall. This gave me the foundation I needed to peruse my songwriting full-on. So throughout the past five years or so (whilst also balancing professional theatre and TV work) I’ve been in and out of the studio, writing, recording and solidifying my sound. Which takes us to the present and the release of my debut project!
MD: You are certainly multifaceted. Alongside singing, songwriting and dancing, you also act! This year you were the lead star in the Tribeca Festival premiered movie Blackwool, amongst other recognised roles. What is it about the arts you love so much?
MN: I think it’s, of course, the adrenaline you experience. But also, the way you’re able to convey messages to audiences so seamlessly. For example, although Blackwool was certainly an emotionally draining and difficult role to embody, the reception and response of the film validated all of it. I had people reach out to me and tell me how inspired they were after watching and how much of an impact the film had made on them and their perceptions. And that ability to spread messages through the arts, whether that be Film, TV or Music, is definitely what I love the most.
MD: How have you seen the industry change from such a young age? MN: I think, even when I was younger, the industry was over-saturated. But even more so now due to the presence of social media in all of our lives. It’s so much easier to pursue a career in the arts, and reach new audiences due to arts-focused platforms such as TikTok and Reels. With this, of course, comes much more competition and a constant fight for the attention of the viewer. I’m really not a social media person, I find it rather distracting, but I’ve definitely had to adapt and change my mindset in order to get my music heard!
MD: What's your favourite F-word?
MN: It has to be ‘Faith’. That’s the basis of my music and the one true way I live my life. I walk by faith and not by sight!