ONE ON ONE WITH ATUMPAN

8 Jul

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July 7, 2013 – Atumpan is a Ghanaian artist who made his entrance into the music world boldly, with his award-winning song, “The Thing”. Subsequent hits including “Mad Bad” and “Give it to You” have reinforced the fact that Atumpan has the ability, creativity, and uniqueness to be a staple in the music scene, not only in Ghana, but globally. The following is an interview with Atumpan:

 

Tell us a little bit about your background- where did you grow up and go to school, how many siblings do you have?

I was born in Takoradi, western region of Ghana. I grew up in Kumasi in the Ashanti region. I am the 2nd out of 6 siblings.


When did you get into music- what sparked your interest in music?

I was in my church’s junior choir since age 10. I sang tenor and did solos in the anthems. I have been reading the tonic sol-fas and singing the Methodist hymns since that time to date.


What was the first song you ever wrote?

My first song was a rap song because I started as a rapper. It was called  “Abena”  and I used Lauren Hill’s “That Thing” beat at the time.

 

What is the importance of music in society, as a whole?

Music is everything.  Life itself, they say, is a song. One of my songs called “Music is life” says it all.

 

How did you pick the name “Atumpan”?

My stage name ATUMPAN means TALKING DRUM. The TALKING DRUM is a very prestigious African drum that is used to give information. In other parts of Africa, it is called the gongong. As a bell boy in primary school, I used to play the drum to tell time and make students aware of such things like the break, change of lesson, or closing. There was no better name to choose for my music career than Atumpan-that makes a representation of the African Talking drums.


Who were your favorite musicians when you were growing up?

I listened to different genres of music while growing up, from the Fugees and Michael Jackson to  Buju Banton, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, and Paapa Yankson.


Who are your favorite musicians now?

My favourite musicians now are Will I am, Wyclef, Movado, and Asa from Nigeria.


Which Ghanaian musician would you like to work with and why
?

The only Ghanaian musician I can not wait to work with is Rex Omar.


How does technology impact your music?

 Technology does a lot, right from production to post production and promotion.

What year did you officially enter the market as a musician?

2011

Most people became aware of you when you released “The Thing”. What inspired you to write that song?

The song “The Thing” came about as I was teaching my class and realized one student was not paying attention. As a means of getting this student to pay attention I said, ‘Hey you! You don’t know the thing, I am teaching you the thing and you are playing with the thing’.  The whole class burst into laughter when I said that and immediately I realized it was a punch line I could use for a song.

Were you surprised by all the attention that “ The Thing” received upon its release?

No, I was not because I put a lot of hardwork into it.

If you were not making music, what do you think you would be doing in your life?

I would be teaching.

When you were teaching, how did your students respond to you being their teacher and a musician they likely listened to?

My students loved and respected me as a teacher. They loved my lessons and I taught them well.

When did you receive your first GMA nomination and what song was it for?

I received three nominations in the 2011 Ghana Music Awards. I was nominated for Most Popular Song of the Year (The Thing), Afro-Pop Song of the Year (The Thing), and Best New Artist of the Year.

How did being nominated for a GMA make you feel?

I felt acknowledged even though my utmost satisfaction lies in the fact that my fans appreciate my works.

Let’s review some of your songs- “Lets Take A Ride”.  Tell us a bit about that song and the idea behind the video.

“Lets Take a Ride” is a passionate romantic piece based on a real life story.

 

Tell us a bit about the creation of the song “Mad Bad”.

“Mad Bad” is the result of my spontaneous reaction to hearing the sweet beat made by Garzy. It did not take long to write.  I went straight to the booth and freestyled bits of the song, and my brother from another mother Captain Planet (from the group 4×4) blessed it with a verse. Big up to 4×4 for showing me love.

You just recently altered your hit song  “The Thing”. The lyrics are slightly different and there is a new video. Why did you change up “The Thing”?

I only spiced it up. It is a move by my new UK- based label to market the song properly to a new audience because the song has the potential to cross over.

Many of your latest songs have been created by Mixmasta Garzy, Can you briefly explain your work relationship with him and why he seems to be your go-to producer.

Working with Garzy is inspirational. He understands my style and I like his spirit.

 

Out of all the songs you have performed/written, which ones are your favorite and why?

I love all my songs equally.  They are my creation and children.

How do you define your music?

My music is authentic, urban and African.

 

Do you ever release a song which surprisingly becomes a hit?

I do not believe in surprise hits. However big or small any of my songs have been, they still serve the purpose for which they were made. And different people like different vibes so they are all hits relatively.

Describe your song writing process—what factors into your music writing process?

I do not have any special parameters for writing.  I write according to my inspiration at that time. How I feel determines what I write.

 

2013 has been a busy year for you. You have either featured or been featured in several songs, with artists like 4×4 (Mad Bad), KGPM (X-Large). Also, you just released “Give it to you”.  How do you determine the best time to release music ?

I do not have any special timing for releases. Left to me alone, I would release music every day as long as there is a listener/fan out there waiting.


What role does Ghanaian music have in the world?

Ghanaian music to me has only one role.  To educate and tell the world about Ghana.


What advice would you give to young aspiring musicians?

Young musicians should stay true to themselves and work hard.

 

Fun Facts  about Atumpan:
Favorite song (non Atumpan song): Mr. Jailer by Asa

Left handed or right handed: Right Handed

Tell us something most people don’t know about you: I play table tennis very well

Favorite place to hang out: My home

Countries/cities you have visited: London, France, Holland, South Africa, Nigeria, Gambia, Liberia, etc.

Favorite food: Rice and vegetable stew

Favorite Book: Animal Farm by George Orwell

One thing you are afraid of: poverty

Atumpan can be found on Twitter : @AtumpanGH

Atumpan’s latest video, “Give it to You”, can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cij91zxV9BM

“The Thing” can be found here:

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