Telling her stories in music
Aseda Bekoe-Sakyi ’21 is not afraid to tackle a new challenge. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, she decided to write, record, and produce an original song, which she called “The Feeling.” Bekoe-Sakyi enjoyed the experience so much, she built her senior composition project around even more of her own music.
The aspiring artist/producer put together everything she learned as a music major at SPU into a recorded EP of five original songs, covering themes ranging from heartbreak and introspection to love and hope for the future.
With the help of several talented musician friends, Bekoe-Sakyi wrote, recorded, mixed, produced, and performed each track. Along the way, she crossed several genre lines: rock, ballads, R&B, and pop.
“I wrote a lot of the songs leading up to the height of the pandemic, when I was feeling very alone in my thoughts,” she said. “I wanted to make music that was vulnerable and heartfelt that others could find comfort in, knowing they’re not alone in their feelings of uncertainty and confusion, and come to terms with the dissonance of sadness and joy coexisting.”
Bekoe-Sakyi also choreographed, directed, and scored a short film to accompany the theme of the EP, highlighting musical elements from the songs. She is inspired by the way music can enhance visual art and by how it can tell a story on its own as well as in conjunction with film.
“I wrote a lot of the songs leading up to the height of the pandemic, when I was feeling very alone in my thoughts.”
This project and others at SPU also provided experience in project collaboration and creative thinking, music history, as well as “tools for my tool kit,” she said.
“I learned how to organize my wild ideas into synthesized compositions,” Bekoe-Sakyi explained. “And I learned how to write music that tells a story that would impact the listener in an emotional way.”
During her final quarter at SPU, Bekoe-Sakyi also had the opportunity to write an orchestral arrangement of a worship song by British artist Jonathan Ogden. Her arrangement of his song “Miles and Miles” will be available on streaming platforms soon.
“Working on this project was very intense, but it was also a very special chance to experience what working as a commissioned composer in the modern age might look like for me. I loved getting to be creative with the project, and I am so excited to have this professional work on my résumé just as I enter the music world,” Bekoe-Sakyi said.
This fall, Bekoe-Sakyi is working as the worship coordinator for The Inn, a college ministry of University Presbyterian Church. Her long-term plan is to eventually apply to a master’s program for film scoring.
“Studying music composition and production at SPU emphasized my desire to write music, but it also showed me that I enjoy performing more than I had previously thought. I am not sure where I will end up, but I know I want to lean more into film music.”