For someone like Stella Aba Seal who’s only hobby is singing, it doesn’t come as a surprise that has all her energies are geared towards her work as a professional musician. In the 12 years that she’s been into music, Stella Ahenewa Dugan (nee Seal) released nine soul - inspiring and uplifting albums.
As a child, Stella’s first dreamed of becoming a nurse and had no intentions of becoming a musician “I loved to sing very much even as a kid but had no idea I’ll end up in the music industry. My dream was always to become a nurse even though I was scared of blood. Music is something I stumbled on and when I realized that I was cut for that, I run with it till now. I guess it was God’s plan for me to become a musician because the Bible says that ‘even when we were still in the womb, God already knew what He was going to do with us’ and so I thank him for His direction.”
Stella, the second of four siblings, was born to Madam Violet Addo from Anum Boso and Mr. Theophilus Seal, (deceased) who was half British and half Camerounian in the Eastern Region. She started her primary education at the New Town 4 School and continued at the Kotobabi 2 Middle School. Stella trained as a secretary at the Accra Polytechnic after her GCE ‘O’ level in 1981 at the City Secondary and Business College at Caprice in Accra.
“After Accra Poly, I went to a dressmaking school at the former Singer Sewing Company, now known as Kalbs, where I learnt how to sew. I later went to the Ghana Airways Training School where I passed out with AITA’s Basic Certificate in passenger handling, sales and reservations. “All that while, I was still singing in the church — at the Ghana Evangelical Society (GES) in Accra together with a Janet Asomani, now Mrs... Hughes. I joined the Christian Action Faith Ministries (CAFM) after five years at GES for another five years before I decided to record my first album.”
Stella, who said she became a Christian in 1979 in secondary school through one Cornelius Adjah-Cofie, the then school prefect of her school, indicated that in 1990, with the knowledge that she was a Christian with the responsibility to pull others to God, she decided to do that through her God-given talent which is singing. “My first album titled You’re In My Heart, which was released in 1990 did not do very well because I think at the time it did not catch on with people who didn’t understand why I chose to sing in English instead of the local dialect. According to her, she retrieved all the cassettes and compact discs (CDs) from the market.
“The following year, I recorded my second album — Daadaa Nyinara which was a huge success. In fact, to a lot of Ghanaians, that was my debut album - it was actually my second. “The album was so successful and even won the then Entertainment Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana (ECRAG) award for Best Gospel Album of the Year. “I used part of the profit from this album to offset some of the debts I incurred in my first project.”
But even before she recorded, Stella had been adjudged the Singer of the Year by Rex Image Associates then an entertainment outfit. She also carried the Distinguished Female Personality and Inspirational Voice of the Year Awards in her stride, all pointing to Stella’s versatility in the music field.
To date, her albums include Ahenmanmu, Okura Yeemu, Ontonko with the hit song Gyem Taataa and King of Kings, another English album she recorded for Sterns Records in the United Kingdom.Her current album is Oye Onyame which again brings to the fore Stella’s pedigree as a musician.
Asked if she has any regret not becoming a nurse, Stella said no. “I’ve really enjoyed being in the music industry and I have no regrets whatsoever. “As frail and imperfect as I am, I’m encouraged and spurred on by the fact that I’ve been a channel of blessing for many people,” she revealed.
Now on John Mensah Sarpong (JMS) label, Stella said she admires musician Mary Ghansah a lot because of her tenacity in music. “I’ve been involved in music myself so I know what it takes and how difficult it is to stay in the music industry. You see, it’s not just the beauty of her voice alone but her spirit as well which really draws people to God. I pray that her labour will not be in vain and that God, through her, will raise up young ones to take over from her.
Stella likes to spend time with her family when she is not on the road. Stella has three kids - Ruth -10, Michael - 7 and Seth - 5, who, she says, are very dear to her heart.
She has also undertaken a number of tours outside the country including a tour which took her to London, Germany and Canada.
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