• 2021-03-23

Nigeria’s recent wins at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards caused a stir in Ghana and started a war of words between some Ghanaian musicians, a faction of the media, and bloggers. According to critics, Ghanaian artists fail to get Grammy recognition because they don’t make quality music. Others also say they are rather interested in musical beefs and petty squabbles for trends rather than uniting to push Ghana music to the world. In response to critics, some artists took to social media and expressed their displeasure at their remarks, accusing the media and bloggers of not promoting local content. The artists also blamed the industry claiming the system lacks the required infrastructure to support their careers to that level. The closest the country got to attain a major win at the Grammys was when Rock Dawuni’s project, “Branches Of The Same Tree”, was nominated for “Best Reggae Album”.  

So, do Ghanaian musicians actually have what it takes to be a Grammy nominee or winner? Without a shred of doubt, it’s a known fact that Ghana’s entertainment industry lacks well-structured regulatory bodies, administration, effective copyrights, and royalty system, amongst others. Though it seems like a mission impossible to succeed in the industry, many like Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, R2Bees, Darko Vibes, King Promise, Kofi Kinaata, Adina, Wiyaala, KIDI, and Kuami Eugene have managed to carve a profitable niche for their brands. In my opinion, any of the A-list acts, and any other unique talent from Ghana has a chance to grab a Grammy, provided they are affiliated to a record label of global status with a proper distribution channel worldwide. With the right financial backing, management, and legal framework, they can improve and break boundaries.

The origin of Afro-beats can be debated, but in reality, the Nigerians have done more to promote the genre than any other African country. It’s not surprising that each year, musicians from Nigeria rack up the biggest hits across the continent, feature on huge concerts across the world, and sign major international deals. Ghanaian artists can also break barriers if they connect with the right people. Evidently, making a living from music in Ghana and some parts of the world is a constant struggle but if a person desires to pursue music as a full-time career, he or she must learn to approach music as a business and find ways to succeed in the business community that surrounds music. However, music is both a desire and need in people, when you focus too much on creating products for business, your music loses its value. Artists should always keep a balance.

By Garvin Atee