Annprincess Johnson Koffa (Daughter of Senator Prince Yormie Johnson) who fled her tyrannical father during the Liberian civil war with her mother when she was just seven years old has launched a pop career, drawing on her harrowing experiences for inspiration in Norway.
Annprincess Johnson Koffa, 27, whose father is now a Liberian politician and former rebel leader Prince Yormie Johnson, 66, told reporter how she was kept under house arrest while her mother Anna Bargbe Koffa, 67, was in and out of prison for disobeying him.
After escaping one night under cover of darkness, the pair sought the help of the United Nations and found refuge in Norway where they began a new life.
Alongside holding down two jobs, as a pricing specialist for an internet services provider by day and a waitress by night, Annprincess is now pursuing a career in the music industry.
Annprincess, explaining her ordeal to a UK based online newspaper Mail Online said during the civil war in Liberia said she was kept under house arrest as a child while her mother was in and out of prison for disobeying him.
She refuses to hide away from her father – notorious for killing anyone who opposed or criticised his actions during the first Liberian Civil War, which took place between 1989 and 1997 – and his supporters.
And she says she has always drawn on the strength her mother has instilled in her to pursue her dreams.
Her latest single, Survive, is a fusion of pop and dance and she hopes to organise future concerts in the UK.
Annprincess told FEMAIL her ultimate goal is to one day ‘have a toast with Beyonce at the Grammy Awards’.
‘No one is going to take a chance on you before you show them why they should,’ she said.
‘My goal is to release as much self-financed music as I can and create enough of a hype around me as a brand, and be an attractive player for the record labels.’
Speaking about her upbringing, Annprincess told how her father, whom she claims has more than 20 children by multiple partners, would regularly throw her mother in prison for refusing his demands and criticising his regime.
‘When I was little I remember putting myself to bed,’ she recalled. ‘I remember being told to go away by the other mothers. That was most nights of my life.
‘My mother wasn’t in a “relationship” with my father. He captured her and took her away from everything she knew, and she stayed with him for eight years.
‘My father was never married to any of the women living in the house. I don’t know if he’s married now. My mother and I called them all ”his women”.
On the night they fled, they slept at Anna’s friend’s house before leaving the following morning on foot and walking until the evening.
Annprincess said: ‘A little boy asked my mother if we were Liberians. He told her he knew of some Liberians living in a apartment and took us there, where my mother explained that we were looking for a place to stay for the night.
‘They let us stay until the next morning, when Mom left me with them and went to the UN office, telling them that we were running away from my father.
‘The UN picked me up and placed us in something called a guest house, which is temporary accommodation for people in need.’
Her mother had to leave her three sons – Annprincess’s half siblings – with her parents in Liberia to give the two of them a greater chance of survival.
‘She couldn’t bring them to Norway because they were in another town, far from where we were,’ Annprincess explained.
She told how the UN in Nigeria put Anna in a program that helped single mothers flee to other countries for a better life.
‘The application was sent to several countries and we waited a long time to be accepted by one of them,’ Annprincess explained. ‘We were finally accepted by Norway.’
When they arrived, the state granted them a one-bedroom apartment and put them in contact with fellow refugees. Annprincess learned the language within a year, helped by her mixing with Norwegian children.
‘My mother still struggles a little bit with the language,’ she admitted. ‘She came to Norway in her 40s; it’s not so easy to learn a new language at that age.’
But when her mother started working things became tougher for the two of them, with the state cutting them off financially due to Anna receiving an income.
‘It was hard, she went to a Norwegian school for years to learn the basics,’ Annprincess recalled. ‘Then she went to nursing school for another three years to get her degree. She’s now working as a nurse in an elderly home.
As I got older I became more and more aware of the differences around me and found it increasingly difficult to cope. My friends would point out differences about my body compared to theirs, like my bigger lips and nose.
‘Some couldn’t understand why I was brown but the insides of my palms were lighter, or why my hair looked the way it did and my hips were wider.
‘The whole experience went from not understanding what people were saying and everyone treating us kindly, to finally understanding the language but having to defend the way i looked. It became more important to me to be liked and accepted.’
She found solace in music, having been told by a friend that she had a good singing voice.
Annprincess, who has more than 12,600 followers on Instagram, said: ‘I practised for years listening to Celine Dion. But to be honest, I didn’t really understand music when I was young. I wanted people to like me and thought I could impress them if I hit those big Celine Dion notes.’
Having grown up with a dysfunctional view of relationships, particularly those of the people closest to her, many of her self-penned lyrics are about failed interactions, overcoming obstacles and resilience.
Now she and her mother live 10 minutes from each other and Annprincess – who has a degree in psychology and psychotherapy and is also a keen football player and coach – wants her story to act as an inspiration to others to never give up in the pursuit of their dreams.
Her single Survive is about a toxic relationship in which two lovers find commitment difficult, but leaving each other even harder.
Having already lived a life filled with incredible emotional and physical extremes, there are few who can question Annprincess’s amazing survival instincts.