I met Holly a few months ago on one of our photo sessions and we had such fun. She is an amazing woman who follows her dreams and creating music. Please check her out, she has so much to show and I can’t wait to see it. It would be a shame if you miss this. Thank you Holly for your time.
Mina: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background?
Holly: I’m from Manchester. I grew up with my three older brothers, my mum and dad. Everybody was in music! I am mixed race white British/Irish/Scottish and Ghanian. I’ve been a working musician and an actress since childhood.
Mina: Did you always know you want to become a singer?
Holly: Yes, always. I used to learn technique through my bedroom wall as my mum was teaching other people how to sing. I always loved singing. I used to sing along to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson was my hero, and I adored Aretha Franklin from the age of about 7.
Mina: How did you come up with your artistic name?
Holly: For a long time people kept getting my real name wrong or forgetting it. I was talking about it to a friend and mentor of mine, and he came up with RAH which is the last syllable of my full name Holly Quin Ankrah. I added the H for a bit of symmetry, and so I could get my domains!
Mina: Tell us about Rahh, who is she?
Holly: She is a big voice with an attitude. Fearless, free and in her zone
Mina: How long you have been in the singing industry?
Holly: I have been professionally singing since I was 7. Doing children’s vocal sessions and many different singing jobs. I’ve also been a backing vocalist, a backing vocalist Musical Director and arranger, I’ve been the lead singer for touring artists such as Sigala and Dave Stewart (The Eurythmics), but RAHH is only 18 months old, so this journey has only just begun.
Mina: What was the biggest thing you learned as a singer?
Holly: To look after my voice, that I cannot party before a gig and to be quiet! Singers instruments are in their body, so sleep and good health is vital. Sometimes singers learn this the hard way, and it is terrifying.
Mina: Talking from experience?
Holly: Yes, I used to lose my voice a lot, I’m more careful now.
Mina: What was the biggest challenge that you had to deal with since you start singing?
Holly: Physically – losing my voice. I got a yoga injury doing a headstand which in turn has affected the muscles in my throat and is creating tension around my vocal cords. I kept getting laryngitis and didn’t know why and when you have a full diary of gigs and writing sessions the pressure is big. I’m still working through it but now I know what the problem is and I’m much better and have regular voice therapy.
Mentally – the frustrations of the industry and the rejections that come with it. Trying to create or get to a platform where people will see what you’re doing. The music industry has changed massively and continues to, so things are never straightforward. There are lows as deep as the highs are tall.
Mina: What inspires you?
Holly: Travel and foreign culture. A white sand beach and a blue sky. I try and get to them at least twice a year.
Mina: When you feel down, who do you like to listen to?
Holly: I’m not sure who my favourite singer is any more, but the artists I turn to reset are James Blake, Lauryn Hill, Bob Dylan, the Beatles.
Mina: What kind of music we will find on your private playlist?
Holly: I had a quick peek. You’d get Drake, Nao, kwabs, Jai Paul, Solange, Rihanna, James Blake, Kendrick, disclosure….
Mina: With who you would love to share a stage?
Holly: Mark Ronson, Nile Rodgers and Stevie Wonder would be sick!
Mina: What was the last book you read?
Holly: The Game by Neil Strauss. I loved it.
Mina: Would you recommend any books or authors to read to someone who just started their career or just in general?
Holly: I love books that make me think and feel. ‘Natives’ was an incredible read, it’s socially and politically charged which is great to spur passion and inspiration. A ‘Brave new world’ inspired one of my songs and remains a favourite and George Orwell’s ‘1984’ leads on from that well. Maya Angelou’s books are fascinating and so beautifully written that they really should be compulsory reading. I adored ‘Candlemoth’ by R J Ellory and my favourite book is ‘The Alchemist’ by Paolo Cohelo.
Mina: What are your biggest dreams?
Holly: A number 1 hit, Glastonbury main stage and to write, release and perform music that I love and that people want to hear for as long as possible
Mina: What is your biggest fear?
Holly: Irreversibly damaging my voice.
Mina: What calms you down, when you are scared?
Holly: Yoga and cooking. (I’m a great cook)!
Mina: What do you do before you go on stage, any habits?
Holly: I warm up, usually with a straw, I try to stay somewhere quiet where I don’t have to speak so I can rest my voice, sometimes I steam my voice. In my head, I’ll go over the set and what I might say between songs…but that always goes out of the window at the moment, and I end up improvising and swearing!
Mina: With the straw? May I ask how does that look?
Holly: It’s a thin straw like you might find on a carton of juice, you put it in your mouth and siren through the straw, it relaxes your vocal muscles and make sure your vocal folds are opening and closing properly.
Mina: What are you working on at the moment?
Holly: Writing, production, the artwork and video for my next release in January.
Mina: Tell us more, please.
Holly: I am releasing my debut single Into the Dawn in January. It’ll be on Spotify/iTunes and everywhere else. They’ll be a link on my Instagram so follow me and go check it out @iam_rahh
Mina: What advice would you give someone who just started their own business or career and wish someone had given you?
Holly: Your plan will look like a straight line but the reality is a rollercoaster, know that the hard times will turn to good ones, be patient and always know what you want!
Mina: If someone’s dreams are to sing, asked you for advice where to start, what would you say?
Holly: I think to practice and know your own voice well, don’t try and copy others tone and intonations, play with your own and find your voice’s unique identity. And songwrite. It’s important to bring a bit of you, something new. People love new music. Get experience singing live and performing your own music. The more you do it the more comfortable you become. Stay ambitious, stay true to yourself, work hard and keep going.
Mina: How does your working day look like?
Holly: It changes week to week but at the moment it’s – Get up, make avocado on toast and a nutribullet whilst listening to the radio, sit at the piano for 20 minutes to formulate some ideas and go to a writing session where I will arrive at the producers studio, have a chat, play some music, talk about a concept, write a song, record the vocals, go home, eat, watch Netflix and go to bed! On the way to and from the session, I’ll answer emails, send WhatsApp voice notes, update Instagram, play with artwork ideas, look for venues for my video, chat with the videographer, find the cast, send mix notes for the new single…my brain is pretty busy all day.
Mina: What is your favourite part of the day?
Holly: Breakfast time. I cook the best breakfasts ever, I listen to woman’s hour on Radio4 or a Russell Brand trews episode or a podcast and if the sun’s shining too it’s pretty perfect!
Mina: Coffee or tea?
Holly: Coffee! With hot oak milk and honey, please.
Mina: What is a favourite social media platform??
Mina: What are your top 5 Instagram accounts?
Follow Holly on her Instagram account: iam_rahh