Writes: A GHANA BEYOND BLAME; GHANA AND NIGERIA MUSIC INDUSTRIES IN PERSPECTIVE.
The rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria dates back from time immemorial; from football, to food, music, just to mention a few. But I believe that is what has created that solid bond which is shared by both West African countries. Ghana is described as “THE GATEWAY TO AFRICA”, whereas Nigeria is described as “THE GIANTS OF AFRICA”
Nigeria is bigger than Ghana in terms of population and size. According to the United Nations estimate, the current population of Nigeria is 196, 526, 471, representing 2.57 percent of the total world population for August 2018, whilst Ghana is estimated 29.46 million. It is therefore not surprising to see Nigerians at almost every part of the continent and in the diaspora as well. One thing I have observed about Nigerians is that, they project their culture irrespective of where they find themselves, through music, food but most importantly through their glamorous traditional outfits.
Narrowing it down to the comments people are putting out there about DJs being the cause of low patronage in Ghanaian songs outside Ghana, i won’t blame Ghanaian Dj’s 100 percent. They are not entirely responsible for not making Ghanaian songs global. I know many Ghanaians were disappointed after watching how our local artistes suffered in the hands of Nigerian audience at the launch of the Zylofon Media and Menzgold Nigeria.
We are all to be blamed for the low patronage of our songs in other countries, from the artiste themselves to every other Ghanaian. I know few musicians are trying and I must acknowledge that. But the truth is we don’t promote our songs. We don’t invest in talents! Most artistes don’t invest in their career and they don’t even know how to handle and manage the little fame they get. Most Ghanaian artistes like to do little things; once the song hits some parts of the country, bingo, they are done!
We don’t support each other. We pretend to be one people but we are not as we are filled with bitterness. That is in every country though, but ours is worse.
A Nigerian living outside Nigeria can pay a club DJ to play series of Nigerian songs for hours without even knowing the artiste in person. How many Ghanaians will do that? This goes beyond DJs!
I know some Nigerian artistes started right here in Ghana and made it big- Patoranking and the likes are big both in Ghana and Nigeria. A Nigerian artiste can travel to Ghana or anywhere they see an opportunity to hype their songs.
Victor AD from Nigeria is making waves in Nigeria, Ghana and some parts of Africa for dropping “wetin we gain”. He promoted his song on social media and without the help of a Ghanaian DJ, many Ghanaians fell in love with the track. The song became a household song in Ghana because many people can relate. Social media made it popular and individually, people started enjoying it on their own before DJs started playing. He has been to Ghana twice after this breakthrough. He capitalized on that to reach out to his fans. Patapaa’s “one corner” went global and social media started it as well.
When we visit the club, pubs, parties etc…. we ask for the songs we want to hear most of the time and the DJs oblige. Have you ever asked for a song from an underground or a new artiste you don’t know to be played?
Don’t forget, DJs are to entertain, and draw listeners to their stations as that is why they get paid. If majority of their listeners want something, he or she cannot impose a different thing on them. Even when presenters or DJs ask listeners to call in and request a song, you will be amazed the kind of songs people usually request.
Before you point fingers at a DJ and blame them for solely crushing music in Ghana, ask yourself; What have i done in my own way to support a Ghanaian artiste?
And before a Ghanaian artiste will complain we don’t support them, ask yourself if the song you produced is good enough.
Are you a dynamic artiste? These Nigerian artistes know what we like as Ghanaians and they do songs with us in focus as well and not just for the Nigerian market. They use names and things that are familiar with us like “maame”, “charley” “waakye”, “banku” “shito” etc. Davido and Wizkid sometimes speak Twi. Davido “if you give me kiss charley, mentumi da charley, mep3 s3 me ne wo k) da oooo”, Wizkid in a recent banger with Duncan Mighty said “)do y3 wu” etc. They make an effort to penetrate our market. What are our Ghanaian artistes doing to get into the Nigerian market too?
Nigerians have a way of making us interested in their culture. In their local movies, they mention and eat their indigenous food, wear their traditional outfits that depict royalty etc. What do we do? We always promote fried rice and chicken in most of our movies when a rich man takes a girl out. How many times have you seen one eating banku and tilapia, fufu, TZ, Waakye etc in Ghallywood (now Gollywood)? They are aware we like it and mentions in our song. What do we do ourselves to promote “us”? The only time most people do snaps is when they are drinking cocktail or eating expensive from a plush hotel. Some of our celebrities have lots of foreign followers. Yet, the only time they hype a local brand is because they were sponsored.
If a Ghanaian artiste is shy of what we eat here in Ghana (by not posting themselves enjoying pito, TZ, gari foto etc.), then what moral right do they have to complain that Ghanaians don’t support their own? Don’t forget, it’s a free world and we all have the liberty to post, share, listen to wherever. But one good turn, deserves another. He who comes with equity must come with a clean hands and before you point fingers at Ghanaians; including DJs for not helping your career, ask yourself what you have done in one way or the other just to promote Ghana to the world(through tours, music, etc.). You guys have crowds and what you do is what moves people that is why a company will sign you as ambassadors.
These Nigerian artistes will end up making “banku” popular and we will sit and take credits for doing nothing. I remember the “Azonto” brouhaha, when Chris Brown said in America his brother from Nigeria taught him and that is was a Nigerian thing. We all got pissed right? Do our artistes teach people out there anything.
Fuse ODG may not be the biggest Ghanaian artiste out there but he was able to feature Ed Shereen, brought him down here to shoot their music video and projected Ghana to the world. The reason I think he is global is because he has not neglected his identity as a Ghanaian and an African. I wish the rest can learn from him.
Artistes, citizens, DJs, event planners, etc. have a role to play in making our songs global. Do Americans come here to promote their songs? I believe if our artistes make more good songs, it will sell naturally. I know some English songs most Ghanaians including illiterates used to sing and even used as their ring tones; “All of me” by John Legend, “Thinking out loud” by Ed Shereen, “like you” by Tatiana Manaios just to mention a few.
I agree that some songs become hit songs after several airplays but I have also seen lot of songs being played for months but still not getting better. Also, one thing I have observed about Ghanaians compared to the rest of the world is we easily get fed up with songs even the foreign ones. Sometimes a song may still be number one on US billboard but keeps dropping here in the Ghana or African chart here in Ghana. We have a short life span for songs and when the season is over, we brush it aside until after a year or two and it is usually referred to as “those days”. Hahahaha… funny but true.
Angelina Kidjoe, Brenda and the rest made hit songs here in Ghana just like 2pac, Notorious BIG etc. The rule is simple, once it is good with huge promo, you are gone. This generation is lucky to have social media at their disposal to promote a song however and whenever you want it. The number of people who listen to radio or watch television has dropped comparing to the 90s yet, they made hit songs. Because of social media, people now enjoy fresh gist directly from their favourite celebrities even before the media puts it out there.
I’m proud to be a Ghanaian! I love Ghana with all my heart. What i will encourage us to do is to stop the blame game and excel in our various fields to enable us deserve each other’s support without it being imposed on another.
One Ghana, One Africa, One Love!