PREMIERE: Awa Mbaye delivers ‘Paranoia’ an ode to the monsters under her bed

Have a first listen to Awa Mbaye’s highly anticipated single, ‘Paranoia,’ exclusively premiering right here at Happy!

Awa Mbaye’s latest track, ‘Paranoia’, breaks the mold of standard dance anthems.

With candid storytelling and infectious beats, she opens up about her own battle with anxiety and vivid hallucinations.

awa mbaye

Hailing from Sydney, Awa’s musical journey started at Moshpit’s open mics, where she found a supportive community that propelled her music forward.

Influences from Nina Simone to Joy Crookes, Tkay Maidza, Remi Wolf, and Jessie Reyez have shaped Awa’s distinctive sound. Her previous hit, “Black Girl Magic,” earned her airplay on FBI radio and streaming platforms, along with the coveted RAGE Wild One award.

Listen to Paranoia below, and read on to delve behind the track.


Awa shares the creative process behind “Paranoia,” rooted in her own mental health journey. In the studio, she collaborates closely with Jatayu Mudana and Bobby Gray, who bring the beats and keep everything on track.

Her music delves into real-life experiences, from mental health to love and the quirks of everyday life. Awa’s hope is that her songs resonate, encouraging listeners to embrace every facet of themselves.

Stay tuned for Awa’s live events next year and an early drop of a fresh track. Get ready for more beats and spirited conversations over cold ones.


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Happy: What are you up to today?

Awa: I’m about to get my hair done… it’s a very big chop so I’m nervous and excited!

Happy: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?

Awa: I’m born and raised in Sydney and have never really left so this is very much my home base.

I started performing live back in early 2020 at open mics at Moshpit (a venue on South King Street) and it was such a supportive community so it really allowed me to express my creativity freely and build the confidence to do what I’m doing now. 

Happy: Describe an average day?

Awa: A working day is a lot more boring (just making cocktails and pouring beers) but days off usually include a 2pm wake up, a couple beers in the sun with some mates (tends to turn into more than a couple), spirited debates with said friends about the conspiracies behind the Cars movies (or something dumb like that), once we’ve exhausted ourselves we go home and I usually watch something like Will and Grace until I fall asleep. 

Happy: Can you tell us a bit about your musical background and what inspired you to pursue a career in music?

Awa: I’ve always done music throughout school and my family are musicians so it was always a part of my life but I had never thought of pursuing music as a career until after high school.

I finished school with the intent to do Biomedical Engineering but fell very deeply into the world of music and realised it was something I wanted to do forever.

I never regret this decision and I’m horrible at math now so I think I made the right choice. 

Happy: Who are some of your musical influences, and how have they shaped your own sound and style?

Awa: My first singing teacher was a huge musical theater/ jazz enthusiast and singing songs by Nina Simone was the first time I really felt a connection to music.

Throughout the years I’ve added Joy Crookes, Tkay Maidza, Remi Wolf and Jessie Reyez (among a lot of others) to the list of artists who inspire me and my sound.

Happy: Big congrats on your new single, can you share a little about the creative process behind it?

Awa: I struggle with mental health quite a bit and Paranoia is about a horrible anxiety attack I had where I started hallucinating and had to get my housemate to come and check under my bed for “monsters” (perfect inspo for a dance song lol). 

Happy: How about the recording process?

Awa: I may be the face of the music but there are 2 people who are always with me in the studio and without them there would be no music.

Jatayu Mudana is the brains behind the instrumentals and loves to say that this song is “his baby” and he definitely shaped the sound of this song.

Bobby Gray is our producer/manager/studio mum who puts all of our crazy together and keeps us on track when we start running around the studio like children.

None of this could be done without them and I owe so much to each of them.  

Happy: What is your typical songwriting process like? Do you have any rituals or routines that help you get into a creative mindset?

Awa: If you were in the studio with us you’d probably think we get no work done.

We’re all very weird people and I think having a space to let that all out really helps to create the music that we do.

Being able to let go and feel completely comfortable being ourselves makes it a lot easier for me to be able to tell every part of the story through my music (it’s very much therapy to me).

Happy: How do you approach collaboration with other artists or producers? Is there a particular dynamic you find most productive in the studio?

Awa: When I collaborate with other artists and producers it definitely does take me a bit to break down my walls. I’m a very anxious person so being able to have a conversation and get to know each other first always makes for the best music.

Happy: Both “Paranoia” and your earlier track “Black Girl Magic” seem to touch on themes of strength and resilience. Can you talk about the importance of these themes in your music?

Awa: I tend to write a lot of my songs about the struggles of growing up, whether that be mental health, relationships, work or the weirdness of day to day life. They’re important to me because they’re very personal to me.

Happy: What message or feeling do you hope your listeners take away from your music, especially from tracks like “Paranoia” and “Black Girl Magic”?

Awa: If people can take anything from my music I hope that it’s to never be ashamed of who you are and what you’ve gone through, that even the worst shit is a part of us and is something that we carry with us but it’s who we are and it makes each one of us individuals in the most beautiful way.

Happy: Can you give us a glimpse into what future projects or songs you’re working on that fans can look forward to?

Awa: I’m planning a few live events for next year and currently working on a track that will be released early next year. It doesn’t have a title yet but I can assure you it’s a banger!

Happy: Lastly, what makes you happy?

Awa :Idiotic spirited debates over beers :)