Soulful Journey of Self-Reflection in Julia Kwamya’s “Say Yes”

“Say Yes” is the latest release of Julia Kwamya. From the very beginning, the song captivates listeners with the power of its rhythm and takes them on a poignant journey through the depths of self-reflection and the struggles of finding one’s place in a world that often feels disorienting. 


She is a Brooklyn native singer-songwriter, introducing the indie rock scene to her unique genre, “moody disco.” Infused with a passion for music from her earliest days, Julia connects with her audience by authentically expressing raw emotions, particularly addressing life and romance struggles that resonate universally. Inspired by 80’s pop icons, she dedicates herself to bringing her vision to life, ensuring her music not only captures hearts but also gets listeners dancing in their seats. As an African woman raised in the US, Julia defies stereotypes and expectations, offering a refreshing departure from the norm. 

This song, written by Kwamya herself and produced by Josh Ascalon, was born in a bathtub, in the midst of a deep reflection about life, and as a result of the author’s desire to start over from scratch, once she moved from New York to Los Angeles.

“As I settled into the house I shared with two other women in Atwater Village, I started to feel motivated to write again, sing again, and play piano again. At that point, I was sober for about 6 months and ideas were flowing in a different way. But back to the bathtub. As I got into the bathtub, the idea for the song popped into my head, and I quickly left the bathtub to start working on it. It was a really good lavender bath too but one must do what one must do”, she said. 

To understand the song it is necessary to delve a little into Julia’s life and experiences. Kwamya’s artistic journey began in New York after college, where she initially pursued economics. However, the impact of the recession led her to follow her true passion for performance, taking acting classes and joining an indie pop band. Immersed in the creative environment, she gradually honed her musical identity. In 2019, she compiled enough material for an EP, but a life-altering accident, being hit by a taxi, forced her to reevaluate and rebuild.

Post-accident, Kwamya faced the challenge of relearning basic skills, from walking to holding a fork. Despite the devastation, the experience fueled her determination to pursue her artistic calling even more ardently. In 2021, she released her EP, “Feel Good About Feeling Bad,” featuring five kinesthetic synth-pop tracks delving into topics ranging from heartbreaks to the emotional dance of crying while dancing.

From there, “Say Yes” is born and as the lyrics delve deeper, Kwamya explores the struggle of trying to understand one’s place in the world, portraying a sense of aimlessness and the weight of past mistakes. The lines, “Trying to figure out my place / Lying here, feels like such a waste / Searching for what I did so wrong / These years not feeling very strong,” resonate with anyone who has experienced moments of self-doubt, pain, and the quest for purpose.

The metaphorical imagery may be related to the accident and continues with the description of life being “Upside down” and the feeling of shame and disorientation. The repeated questioning of how long it will take to feel a change suggests a yearning for personal growth and a break from the burdens of the past. The lyrics capture the essence of the internal struggle, depicting a person caught in a cycle of punishment and blame.

Musically, “Say Yes” complements its introspective lyrics with a soulful arrangement. The emotive vocals, combined with the subdued yet expressive instrumentation, create an atmosphere that mirrors the song’s contemplative mood. The production by Josh Ascalon enhances the emotional impact of Kwamya’s words, allowing the listener to connect with the raw honesty of the narrative.

“In the song, I reflect on how I feel more than what exactly has changed. At this point in time I was searching for “why” this happened to me. I am in a different place where I have accepted that it has happened to me. I can release this song after almost 3 years since its inception. There are still other questions to ask but that will come as I continue to write the record,” Julia assures.

Julia Kwamya’s “Say Yes” is a powerful exploration of self-discovery and the complexities of navigating life’s challenges. Through a blend of heartfelt lyrics and soulful melodies, the song invites listeners to reflect on their own journeys and the courage it takes to say “yes” to authenticity, even when faced with uncertainty, pain, and changes.

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