It's been exactly a decade since Ivy Quainoo's first big moment in the public eye: In February 2012, she emerged as the winner of the first season of "The Voice of Germany" - the then-new casting format that media and TV critics still appreciate today for actually being about artistic quality and not about putting people on display. As a result, the Berlin native with Ghanaian roots enjoyed a whole series of successes throughout the country: Her winning track at the time, "Do You Like What You See," rose to No. 2 in Germany, No. 8 in Austria and No. 12 in Switzerland, and was awarded gold, same as the subsequently released debut album "Ivy." It was only logical that she was awarded the ECHO (German „Grammy“ back then) in the category "Artist Rock/Pop national" and other prizes the following year; she toured Germany with her band, sometimes as a headliner, sometimes as a guest, f.e. on the Olli Murs tour.
Countless TV appearances followed on "Schlag den Raab", "Germany's Next Topmodel", "Verstehen Sie Spaß?" and many others. She provided songs for TV series and feature films, including the track "Who You Are" for the miniseries "World Without End" which she recorded together with the German band Stanfour. In 2013, a second album full of great songs followed with "Wildfires" and in its wake another nationwide tour, before it became a bit quieter around Ivy Quainoo in public. But only in public - because basically the time began for her to finally take care of her second passion and to strive for a parallel career next to the one in music: acting.
Towards the end of her school years, Ivy had already spent two years at the stage arts school in Berlin-Kreuzberg. "After I graduated from high school, I didn't know exactly what direction I wanted to go", she says. "I found music just as exciting as acting. But my victory on 'The Voice' put an end to acting for the time being, so I didn't think about it at first. Then, in 2014, I went on vacation to New York and just thought, 'You'd really like to live here, too.' After my return, I applied to various acting schools, mainly in England, but also to a few in the USA. In the end I was accepted at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. I felt that was very fateful."
She then began her acting studies in New York in early 2015. "The studies were great, but I honestly imagined life there would be a bit easier," she laughs. "There were already moments in the following three years that I spent there where I thought: I think I have to go back home." For the first six months there, for example, she was almost constantly looking for a place to live, while at the same time, however, she had to call up best performances in her studies. "I was constantly moving back and forth between New Jersey, Queens and Brooklyn, which was really not easy."
With the Academy, on the other hand, she had great luck, as she reports: "I knew from some friends that it can also be really difficult at acting schools. A lot of them work on a 'breaking down, building up' principle, where you're supposed to become a blank canvas onto which you can project roles. I experienced the exact opposite in New York - there, it was very much about getting to know yourself, coming to terms with your personality. That was really hard at times, but in the end it helped me a lot."
Back in Germany, the big application phase began. "It's generally not easy to gain a foothold as an actress in Germany - all the more so when people already know your name from the music industry," says Ivy. But here, too, fate played into her hands: a massive "Harry Potter" fan, she came across plans for a German "Harry Potter" play months before the auditions. "Of course, I applied immediately - and was accepted." Many months of intensive rehearsals followed - until then, three days before the planned premiere, all performances were initially canceled due to the pandemic. "That was pretty hardcore: you have your first big engagement in the field, you're rehearsing like crazy - and suddenly everything is halted."
But Ivy wouldn't be Ivy if she buried her head in the sand after such events - so the applications continued. And the next acceptance promptly followed - Ivy will play Eliza in the German premiere of the hit Broadway musical HAMILTON in 2022, which premiered in Hamburg in the fall of 2022. In the meantime, the "Harry Potter" play has also started, "but I'm now just inevitably no longer part of the ensemble, because I've moved on and had a lot on my plate for "Sam, a Saxon" at Disney+, among other things." This moving on, this constant doing and not standing still, is one of the greatest qualities that Ivy Quainoo brings with her. And so we will now be hearing from her more frequently again, starting in the summer at the latest.
By the way, the Disney+ Star series mentioned above is scheduled for the beginning of 2023.
Oh yes: Of course she has not forgotten the music, quite the opposite. She has just spent the last four years working more on songs again, there are quite a few newly composed demos. But Ivy feels no pressure to record and release all this quickly. Besides, she's realistic enough to know "that it's certainly not going to be easy after all these years of musical hiatus," she admits. "I guess there are still certain expectations out there if I were to release something new; at the same time, of course, I have my own ideas, after all, I've gotten older since winning 'The Voice' and I've changed as a singer and artist." On top of that, she adds, "the actual songwriting process is the most beautiful part for me about making music," she laughs. "That's why, when it comes to music, I've been putting everything into that part for the last few years."
And yet, you can be quite sure that sooner or later you'll be able to hear new music from Ivy Quainoo again. Her passion for artistic expression, her devotion to singing and her desire to collaborate with other musicians and songwriters make this outlook virtually without alternative. But whether only as a musician or as an actress: it is nice to know her back on the stage boards. Because her presence and quality enriches German entertainment - no matter what she is doing.
My Own Terms
Do You Like What You See
You Got Me
Rhythm Is A Dancer feat. Ivy Quainoo - Alex Christensen & The Berlin Orchestra
Ivy Quainoo, Stanfour - Who You Are
House On Fire (Lyric Video)
Eat The Beat Music
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