Raised between Accra and Atlanta, the genre-rejecting singer draws from her cosmopolitan upbringing – and a love of Kelis – to confront narrow definitions of womanhood

“You can’t box anyone in any more,” Amaarae says from her bedroom in Accra, Ghana. “As older cultures die out, things inevitably change.”

The 26-year-old is describing the shift underway in West Africa embodied by alté, the eccentric musical style that has expanded into a non-conformist cultural movement. Amaarae is one of its pioneers, and her debut album The Angel You Don’t Know an instant classic in its canon. Euphoric in its risk-taking, it leaves no genre, sound or cadence off limits: Amaarae’s whispering vocals hopscotch between the Southern hip-hop rhythms on Celine and dance over the lilting soundscape created by Rvdical the Kid in 3AM.

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