The programme forms part of the Equal Hub initiative, which was launched in commemoration of International Women’s Day and adds to the audio streaming platform’s efforts to extend its global commitment to fostering equity for women in music. The Ghanaian Afrobeats and Afro-fusion singer, who becomes the first African creator to be selected for the initiative, was named alongside other female artists, including American rapper Saweetie, Brazillian pop artist Duda Beat, British singer-songwriter Griff, Mexico’s Natalia Lafourcade and German singer Zoe Wees.
“I am deeply honoured to be the first African woman to partner with Spotify for Equal,” the 20-year-old singer said. “This is huge for so many women across the continent and the entire globe. I don’t take this lightly at all. Navigating an industry, where the voices of women can easily be drowned out, I’m committed to playing my part.”
Born Jackline Acheampong, Gyakie is the daughter of highlife veteran Nana Acheampongbegan and began her music career in 2019 while in college. The singer is behind local hits such as ‘Love Is Pretty’ (2019), ‘Never Like This’ (2019) and ‘Sor Mi Mu’ (2020), which features Bisa Kdei. Gyakie’s debut EP Seed was released in August 2020 and amassed more than 11 million cumulative streams across digital service providers to date. The musician also recently inked a deal with RCA Records UK.
“The global initiative is uniquely designed to foster gender equity in music by adapting and extending the cumulative blueprint of Spotify’s successful programs into a cohesive experience– supporting female creators under one brand,” a statement reads. “Only one in five artists in the charts are women, a stark contrast to how integral women’s influence is to Spotify’s success today and the music industry at large. Spotify takes the responsibility of upending these disparities seriously, and believes the first step towards amplifying the work of all creators identifying as women is to extend critical resources to this community to create opportunity.”
Spotify head of music for sub-Saharan Africa, Phiona Okumu, said: “In a time where we as a society are re-examining equity on so many levels, Spotify is prioritising its goal to make female faces and voices seen and heard. Our goal is to lead by example, joining hands with the African music industry stakeholders with the means and platform to help elevate the next generation of women in the music industry to deserving new heights.”
The Equal board is composed of a network of organisations partnering with Spotify to empower women around the world, including She’s the Music (US), Girls Rock Australia Network (Australia), She Said So (Italy), MEWEM Europa (Europe), Girls Connected (Canada), Music Women (Germany).
The full programme includes the Equal local playlists, which will reflect the 35 markets spanning over 50 countries, the Equal Global Playlist, containing music from Equal artists from all around the world while amplifying the Equal class of each month and the Equal Artists of the Month, in which one artist from each participating market will be featured on the cover of their respective, local playlist.
Meanwhile, Spotify says it is partnering with SoundGirls to relaunch the Equal Directory, which allows women of all experiences and gender-nonconforming creators to create a profile and claim their space in the community of women changing the game in audio.