Once upon a time in Ghana, there was a city called Kumasi, it was the heartbeat of Ghana. It was the center of music production and marketing in the nation Ghana. So to the extent that, the advent of hiplife saw the major champion of the new course perform under the moniker Oseikrom president even though he didn’t even live in Kumasi (i stand to be corrected). This was the era where Morris Babyface was a key producer and the ‘Roscoe Dash’ in the industry. Fast forward a few years later. For reasons arguable, paradigm was shift seeing a migration of the heart together with its blood vessels to Accra. This has seen a steep fall in the popularizing of music from the former music stronghold. This has led to the rampant movement of artistes, producers, deejays and many other people who mattered in music from Kumasi to Accra. One cannot doubt the fact that, Kumasi is blessed with plenty extremely talented music people, but their inability to break out of the underground has led to the downplaying of these acts. It is very clear that, the only notable Kumasi artistes doing well on the Ghanaian music scene are Okyeame Kwame, Flowking Stone and his Bradez group and now The Next Big Thing In Gh’s Strongman.
To buttress my earlier statement, Okyeame Kwame has moved to Accra to further expand his market and have a bigger grasp on the industry. More so, I will not be surprised if Strongman moves to Accra too as his boss Azee has done same. In my opinion however, the main reasons for the inability of songs from Artistes in Kumasi to make it to the national scene not to talk of it traveling internationally is that:
1. MOST! Deejays in Kumasi have no problem downloading mainstream artistes’ (extensively from Accra) from music sharing platforms online and playing them. However they will not accept songs from up and coming acts for play on their shows or in open concerts. Even if they will play it, it will only happen while the artiste is around and don’t be fooled but it won’t get spinned twice. The infamous word payola comes into play but won’t lead to a constant play. No matter how good the song is, I will not draw attention of these deejays and prompt them to help promote it
2. Success commeth not on a silver platter. Most of these artistes won’t go a mile further to brand themselves and build a fan base as big as they can get. Leaving all that work to a ‘producer’ which they are looking and have not found yet or even probably will not find. It’s about time these acts started doing something extra for themselves and quit leaving that work to someone else
3. Most Online promoters or bloggers are being unfair, come on think about it, why put Sarkodie who has sold thousands of albums’ song on your platform for free and charge Kwame Baah who hasn’t put out a single album and played sold out shows worldwide before you put his song on your platform. Fine Sarkodie doesn’t need that platform to get his music across but that doesn’t warrant the charge placed on up and coming acts. It would even be a better deal to sign promotion or publishing agreements with these acts if you believe your platform is potent enough to make the record a hit.
4. Lack of unity amongst artistes in Kumasi is one major killer in the Kumasi music scene. Tema proved that with unity they could conquer the nation with their music. The result is there for everyone to see. This united front brought D.Cryme, Yaa Pono, Stay J, R2bees, Sarkodie, Yaw Siki amongst others to massive recognition in the nation with some crossing the borders of Ghana. Why can’t Kumasi have a Dr. Duncan who will work to unite all these scattered talents across the city. The Kfm freestyle Saturday and the Focus FM freestyle Friday have tried but what happens to the winners of these competitions. Strongman came from the freestyle Friday culture, yet it still had to take another competition to bring him his new fame nationwide.
5. Unnecessary migration. These acts must aim to make their marks in Kumasi in the stead of moving to Accra. In very recent times, news has been of the exodus of two major record producers in Kumasi namely Mic burners’ Azee and Cue Records’ Peewee. This news came as a shock to most followers of the music scene in Kumasi as both of them were the main sought after producers. What is of concern to most people is that just a few weeks into peewee’s movement to Accra He is already advertising to do free songs for artistes in Accra. The question on most people’s lips is couldn’t he have done something similar all that time he was in Kumasi? Well, its showbiz!
LETS RISE AND MAKE KUMASI MUSIC INDUSTRY BETTER!
By: Hayford P.C .Benjamin
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