The issue about Nigeria music taking over the world is nothing new. The debate has being ranging on for long while with no clear agenda to settle concerns. Growing up in the 90’s, RnB and Hip pop dominated the music and media space in Ghana. The foreign music genre was so deep that a book called “my music book” or so was produced containing lyrics of songs. From the Celine Dion’s to the West Life’s were the favorite of most people. Shatta Wale was around by then but he was popularly known as Bandana.
The RnB and hip pop genre has died down at least in my opinion in recent times, but another issue has raised its ugly head. Nigerian music has dominated our media and music space and the negative ripping effect is great. Ghanaian musicians will soon loose international gigs since they will not be sort after. Many Ghanaian acts and entertainment pundits years ago advocated for a 60-40 percent radio play which was to be gradually increased percent-wise to phase out Nigeria songs on our air waves. This was gradually working which gave space for Kuami Eugene, Kidi and to a large extent Shatta Wale gain grounds greatly. However, the agenda has died out.
The conversation is on again with some entertainment pundits worried about the route it has taken this time round. Ghanaian dancehall artiste Shatta Wale during a concert at the Accra Sports Stadium, called out Nigerians for not supporting Ghanaian music like the later does. Shatta Wale further used some unprintable words which did not go down well with most Nigerians.
But let me share my views on a few facts and observations. There is more to music than recording in the studio. Promotion is a substantial key and a driving tool to taken over global stages. Nigerian musicians I know after churning out songs go all out to promote it. Mr Eazi relocated to Kumasi, in 2008 and enrolled at KNUST, where he began booking artists to perform at college parties.
After school before his music career could take off he knew all the “music plugs” on the ground and who to approach. He also learned the Twi language and was using them in his music so Ghanaian listeners, saw him as their own and accepted him quickly. I don’t know which Ghanaian(s) musician can go all out to get their foundations rooted in the Nigerian space like this.
Another musician, Patoranking, after recording his song, headed to stay in Ghana for a while to promote his songs even before he started same in Nigeria. He sent a team a month ahead to identify and study our music gate pillars to approach. When he finally came down he engaged in various activities to achieve his aim. He first, held a listening party and invited the top presenters and music gate keepers where he presented his album to them in Accra.
After a while, when the songs where successfully blazing on national radio at prime time, he went around most radio stations with a cake and a few things as a token of appreciation. This is what I will call the agenda has “agend”. The list goes on and on.
Which Ghanaian artiste in recent times has done this? Its only last year, Rapper Sarkodie went on a Nigeria and Kenya tour to promote his “No Pressure” album. But again the question is how deep and sustainable was the promotion effort and were the right plugs engaged?
Again the Nigerian music space is shut to other country’s music which I have heard is a national policy (I stand corrected). Can the Ghanaian government and industry players take a look at pushing a law to “support and protect our own”?
Nigerian music promoters and musicians I know come to Ghana on the blind side of the media and spend days in clubs plugging in their music. This I know Davido and Wizkid do all the time. They familiarize themselves with djs and pay them to play Nigerian music. I actually heard they put the djs on pay roll for a while. Yes, they plan the whole music invasion thing and execute it.
However, the Ghanaian musician produces music and hopes the song will fly by itself. There should be a conscious effort to take over Africa. Nigerians I think do not necessarily need to support Ghanaian music but the industry should take the bull by the horn and take the fight to the right quarters. Nigerian musicians are very available for interviews and some will play a few gigs for free for starters but will the Ghanaian musician do so? After a hit, they take up celebrity status and begin to “misbehave” all over the place.
I believe Ghanaian radio stations should take up the agenda first to play Ghanaian songs and the rest will follow. Event organizers are also a big part of the problem when they keep inviting Nigerian musicians to perform all over the place. Event organizers are also a big part of the problem when they keep inviting Nigerian musicians to perform all over the place. Shatta Wale as a key industry player has a point but he will first need consensus building with all major stakeholders to arrive at a good outcome.