Just like any other career, doing music is profitable. Anybody can make and release a song, but not everyone can produce a chartbuster or breakthrough to become successful. Though the internet and new media have facilitated the process to make music accessible across the world, the surest way is to get signed to a record label that can invest in your talent and push you to greater heights. The question is…what do you do if you don’t have that big push or investment?
Ghana’s new music scene is progressively gaining popularity globally in spite of the many challenges faced by the sector which includes: lack of an effective copyright system, regulatory bodies, and infrastructure to alleged complaints that suggest the industry is run by a “KABAL” whose interest is to manipulate the system, profit from artistes and leave them broke. On Conversations, we speak to upcoming Ghanaian musician, Ranny Praps. Ranny shares with us what he does to keep his career on track despite dwelling in an environment where it’s easier for the camel to jump through the eye of a needle than an artiste making it to the limelight.
FA: Briefly describe Ranny Praps to a first listener
Ranny: Ranny Praps is a hip-hop artist and an Afro-pop singer. I have been in the game professionally for 8 years. I hail from Dansoman and part of music duo D-City music
FA: You grew up in Dansoman community, and still live there. What’s the music scene in DC like? And how did growing up in Dansoman influence your art?
Ranny: The music scene in Dansoman is not all the great. The reason is that we have not had another superstar to follow the footsteps of Samini and that is a worry. There are major talents in DC, but the support system is not there but I hope to change that when the opportunity arrives. Also growing up in Dansoman is the best thing that could happen to anyone. You get to experience all the good things in life. From education, sports, music, lifestyle. Dansoman really shaped me.
FA: What’s the story behind the formation of D-CITY? So far, how would you describe your musical journey being part of D-CITY? And song after song, what makes D-CITY stronger to survive any music evolution?
Ranny: The story is a very short one but lovely. So, I grew up with Di Omar, and was doing music as a solo artist till one day Omar walked up to me and was like he wants to feature me on a song. After that, I was like we should form a group since Dansoman doesn’t have one, and the name D-City came up which means dope city because everyone in DC be dope. Being part of D-City shaped me musically and thought me how to work as a team and grow as a person. What keeps us stronger is the passion we have for music.
FA: The synergy between you and DI Omar is impressive. How does Di Omar’s music style connect with yours?
Ranny: Di Omar is also a rapper, and a singer so it makes it easier for us to work on the beat. The diversity and dynamism in both our flows help a lot too.
FA: Though D-CITY exists, you are set to launch your Solo album, “Greatness”, why this move? And what do you hope to achieve after the album is released?
Ranny: D-City music is just like the Migos group in the USA. Even though we are a group, doing solo projects is also allowed. The reason is that we realized any time a group has issues and they break up in Ghana, it becomes very hard for them to get hit as a solo artist. So, we decided to have an open group that allows us to express ourselves as solo artists but still under the umbrella of D-City music. Greatness is a project I have been working on for 2 years and my team and I decided to release it because the songs on it are just dope. I hope to achieve greater heights with this EP because it’s an album where you can never skip a song if you get it.
FA: “Odwan Ti” is your first release off the upcoming album. Give us an insight into the meaning of the song and the concept.
Ranny: “Odwan Ti” talks about how we should focus on ourselves and not be bothered by what someone is doing. As you know this happens in our everyday life and I added a little humor in the song just to make it lively one.
FA: Currently you are not signed to a record label, how do you find ways to promote your music? So far, which mode has worked best for you?
Ranny: I promote my music digitally and on the streets. Since I’m not currently under any record label, I do everything by myself which is not easy. With radio and TV, you have to pay a lot but with the digital platforms and on the street, it's easier for me. The street worked for me because it gets the song closer to the people.
FA: This year, the entertainment industry, just like other sectors of the economy was hit hard due to the Coronavirus pandemic. What did you do to survive and also keep your brand relevant? Also, what was the greatest lesson you learned during the pandemic?
Ranny: Music survived me during the pandemic. I got time to work on my EP, worked on my brand, learned a lot about mastering as well. The greatest lesson I learned is we should learn to love one another because life is too short. We should also take personal hygiene seriously and learn to save money because anything can happen.
FA: Despite artistes from Ghana striving to be their best, it appears making a living from music is burdensome and a struggle, why do you think that is so? In your opinion, what do believe can be done to make musical careers attractive in Ghana?
Ranny: The reason artists struggle is because our institutions are not working properly. The systems in place don’t work so therefore artists only live on shows. There are fewer record labels making it difficult for the underground musicians to blow. I believe if the people in charge put the right systems in place whereby an artist can earn their royalties without any hustle it will be a start to something great.
FA: In December, Ghana goes to the polls. Many promises have been made by the ruling government and the opposition? In your opinion, what do you think can be done to improve the entertainment and creative arts industry to benefit people like you?
Ranny: Any government that wins need to create a creative art fund that can support the artist. We need more venues to host shows. We need the system to work. I want to tell my people not to allow any political party to engage them in anything that will destroy the peace we share.