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ONE ON ONE WITH RAQUEL

10 May


ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEW WITH RAQUEL
by: Afromusion

@raquelmusicliveonline8


When one sits down and is in the mood to hear a beautiful love song, the first songs that pop into the mind are songs by the lovely Raquel. Songs such as “Sweetio” and “Lovie Dovie” are timeless songs which reflect love in various forms. Raquel is affectionately known as the “queen of love songs” in Ghana, but her music is internationally recognized. Raquel is a solid artist, and she has collaborated with many of Ghana’s other top artists, including Sarkodie, Okyeame Kwame, Trigmatic, and others. Raquel’s music is unique in the sense that she sings about the emotions that all people are capable of feeling. Raquel is currently working on the release of her first album and has many things in store for the year 2014 and beyond. Please read the following interview I conducted with Raquel:


1. Tell us a little bit about your background- where did you grow up and go to school, how many siblings do you have?
I grew up in West London with my Mum and three siblings…I have two brothers and one sister and I’m the last but one. I actually attended many schools because we moved houses a few times…but my favourite schools were Hogarth Primary School based in Chiswick, and West Thames College.


2. How did music influence your childhood?
We had a lot of domestic issues in our home, so music was a way of survival for us…a place of joy, a place to escape emotionally and mentally, and even spiritually. My Mum and Dad had the LP player on 24/7. Music was food and water for us when money was down. We were so full and satisfied as long as music was blasting through the speakers in our home. It influenced every aspect of my childhood.

3. What is the importance of music in society, as a whole?
I think music is absolutely honest, it never lies…it addresses all issues that the average person is too scared to talk about. Society is filled with so much politics, gender issues, spiritual issues, class issues but at the end of the day music is the only element in life that EVERYONE is so cool with. Music is society’s best friend…you can always count on it.

4. Who were your favorite musicians when you were growing up?
I never really had or have a favourite musician because…I’m an all-rounder when it comes to that but I know Brandy was an artist I listened to EVERYDAY…and Shirley Brown, Aaliyah, Monica and Mary J, Faith Evans you know…SWV and all. I also remember my Mum and Dad constantly playing Reggae and Wulomie and hi-life and then my older brother too was a hip hop lover, which got me also addicted to hip hop at a tender age.

5. Who are your favorite musicians now?
I just try and update myself with what’s new around the world and in the industry , that’s all, and I have specific songs that I really like…and of course I still listen to old school jams.

6. Which Ghanaian musician would you like to work with and why?
I would love to work with the legends. I can’t name them cause I would work with them all if I could, lol. I grew up listening to Pat Thomas, Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba, Amakye Dede, AB Crentsil and more…

7. One collaboration you are widely known for is your collaboration with Sarkodie in “Sweetio”. How was that song created and how was Sarkodie chosen to collaborate with?
Sweetio was a song I had worked on; for one of my birthdays and after I composed it there was no one better than Sark that I knew could deliver on it without a doubt. We had worked on some underground material some years before recording the Sweetio record so we already had that chemistry.

8. How does technology impact your music?
Well let’s just say that things are not as they used to be when the best way to own a record was to walk into HMV or any music store and have a physical copy of a record…NOW it’s the 21st Century so everybody wants to download and I mean almost EVERYBODY. And we have great phones and all kinds of gadgets that can load music up for you within seconds. All you have to do is type an artist’s name or song title and BAM you have it, lol. So I guess it’s an easier and faster way of pushing the music out there. It’s not always helpful though because of copyright issues and all so…I guess it’s just a matter of getting your music up on to the right sites.

9. What year did you officially enter the market as a musician?
2005

10. Since entering the music scene, what’s the most important thing you have learned?
That you have to stay humble no matter what because a lot of unexpected things are going to hit you like a ton of bricks and that can make you lose focus and remain untrue to your art.

11. Do you consider yourself a UK artist or a Ghanaian artist?
Both…because my music has a blend of everything

12. The Ghana market is flooded with male musicians; there are not that many female musicians. What do you offer to the music scene that is different from the other female artists?
I just do me!!! … I’m something out of this world. Absolute bonkers.

13. When was the first time you were nominated for a Ghana Music Award?
Some few years ago with my first single ‘Odo’ .

14. The media is always getting on you for dressing too provocative. How would you respond to the media that seems to pay more attention to your dressing than your singing?
Lol! You have ONE problem then all of a sudden everything you do is talked about. I just don’t pay no mind to some things cause everything I do is going be talked about anyway and don’t get me wrong there are some media houses that like to push the positive things about me to the world and unfortunately we have those that will always condemn you once you slip. I’m not worried though because sooner or later they WILL pay A LOT more attention to my music whether they have or haven’t already. For me the focus is always and will always be on my Art .

15. How many albums have you released?
I’m about to release my Debut Album, called @25

16. Out of all of the songs you have released, which one is your favorite?
I love the new one that’s out now, ‘ I Won’t Cry’…it really shows the serious side of me, a part of me that the fans are yet to experience and this song is the introduction to that side of me. I also have a few more favorites on the album but I can’t tell you about that just yet, lol .

17. Tell me a bit about your hit song “Lovi Dovi”.What influenced you to write that song and how did you come up with the concept for the video?
Haha!!! I got the beat from Teey-Mix of Nigeria and it just had to be a Lovi Dovi Song… I just heard the beat and I was all in a hi-life kind of loving mood and so ‘I want to do the Lovi Dovi’ just came out. When Raquel and Pascal are in the same room you’re going to witness some crazy, artistic stuff, lol, we just threw ideas at each other and it worked

18. What were you doing and where were you the first time you heard your song on the radio?
Wow! I think it was Jeremy Van-Garshong that played my song first and I was actually being interviewed by her at the same time and oh my! Was that an experience…it just felt strange hearing myself ,lol, but I was ecstatic.

19. Before you give a live performance, what backstage rituals do you do to calm your nerves?
I try to keep as normal as possible because the moment you try and do something different it all goes wrong so I just try and stay calm but act normal.

20. You have done collaborations with Sarkodie and Okyeame Kwame and others. Which collaboration was the most challenging?
Lol! Trust me when I say that there is a story to tell for every collaboration that I have done and even with my own solo projects, so I don’t really think there was ever one specific time where things went a little smoother than the other…they were all so challenging and THAT should tell you that God has a different plan for everything and you know it’s all going to fall in place at the end.

21. How did you choose the name Raquel as your artist name?
My birth name is Raquel Patience Naa Ayorkor Ammah so I decided to choose my first name, my real name…so you could get the best, and the first, and the real me.

22. Describe the way that you write your songs—what factors into your music writing process?
It depends…on what I’m writing about, my environment/atmosphere, my mood and whether I have a beat already or not…I think maybe I should take you around with me sometime so you can see how it really works, the different and many ways I handle writing, recording and production sessions etc. You would love it.
(Author note: Yes, I would love to experience a day with Raquel, and when that happens, yes, I will write an article on it).

23. What inspires your music writing?
My life, the universe and things that we experience in general in our minds and what not .

24. You tend to sing in both English and Twi. How important is the language when composing a song and how do you determine which language a song will be sung in?
I’ve done a few songs in Ga, Twi, English, and Spanish before, hehe…I just hear a beat or write a song and say ‘HEY’ there HAS to be another dialect in there because it just sounds like that but…the English is what I’m more used to and the Ga and Twi are my mother tongues so the three always remain a priority in my work still.

25. If you could look back and give one piece of advice to yourself, like5 years ago, what would you say?
I would keep things the same. I wouldn’t change any of my doings. I’m happy with who I am now so I would not advise myself differently.

26. What are your goals for the upcoming year?
More videos, more music, more shows, Charity work, travelling the world and more…

27. If you were not making music, what do you think you would be doing in your life?
I would probably be another being that doesn’t even exist as of now lol! Or a different human that exists in another body with the name of Frafel hhaha!!! Music IS a MUST for me.

Fun Facts about Raquel
Favourite TV show: Scandal
Favourite song: I Won’t Cry
Left handed or right handed: Right
Tell us something most people don’t know about you: I have an extreme street and hip hop alter ego Favourite food: Banku and Okro stew OR Jollof OR any pasta dish
Last time you cried: The ‘I Won’t Cry’ Video shoot
Craziest thing a fan has ever done: Fainted

Find Raquel’s Music here:
YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/user/RaquelMusicLive
Twitter: @RaquelMusicLive

ONE ON ONE WITH: EFYA

25 Jan

efya


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

I was born in Kumasi but grew up in Accra, I went to school in Garrison, then Yaa Asantewaa Secondary then the University of Ghana. I have two brothers and a sister.

2. When you were a student at Legon did you have it in your mind that you would become a professional singer?

Yes, because I’d already auditioned for Stars of The Future & had begun performing already.

3. How did you choose the name “Efya” for your professional solo career rather than Jane?

When I decided to go solo, it made sense at the time to reinvent myself in every way, I wanted a name that was African and unique but at the same time relevant to me in some way. My manager Jimmi helped me come up with the name “Efya”,

4.Who were your favorite musicians when you were growing up?

Kojo Antwi, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations. I was really into old school jazz and highlife.

5. Who are your favorite musicians now?

Can’t say, I like a lot of music right now.

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

Some of the older ones like Kojo Antwi and Pat Thomas. I want to learn as much from them musically as I can. I feel they make timeless music.

7.How does technology impact your music and global reach?

It’s amazing how many more people I can reach now with my music, people all over the world. Technology helps me get to my fans faster than I ever could have.

8.You are very active on Twitter. How important is social media in promoting your music?

 It’s amazing, I can reach a large number of fans and get their feedback on what they want to hear more of, what they like and so on about my music.

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

 2008

10. How would you label your music?

 Afro Neo-soul, Jazz, but overall I’d call it timeless music.

11. What was going through your mind when you won your first Ghana Music Award?

I was really grateful because I was young. It made me feel really good about myself.

12 .Out of all the awards you have won, which one meant the most to you and why?

Definitely a tie, between record of the year for “Best in Me” as well as winning best female vocalist for the third time in a row. I was really excited to win both.

13. Out of all of the songs you have released, which one is your favorite?

I’d say “Best In Me” or “Little Things”, but I might have to go with Falou because of the impact it made, the fact that we completely reinvented an already fantastic song by singing it over a movie score. I like it a lot.

14. Out of all of the songs you have released, which one became a surprise hit?

When we put out “Best In Me” we didn’t know it was going to be so big. We released it in Nigeria on Valentine’s Day, and it just blew up and went from there. It was exciting to have it be a hit in both countries like that.

 

15. Where were you the first time you heard your song on the radio and what were you doing?

I don’t remember exactly but I know I got excited and called my mom and all my friends and told them to watch me on TV.

16. How has fame changed your life (or perhaps it hasn’t).  What can you not do now that you could do before you were so recognizable?

I can’t really say it has, I’ve been working at this my whole life so I can’t say I know any other way to live my life. It’s always been busy for me, I just grew into it.

17.Compared to male artists in Ghana, there are very few female musicians. What do you consider your role to be in Ghanaian music society, especially among female artists?

 I don’t look at it as a gender specific role,  I’m here to help expand the music scene because in the end it’s all about putting Ghanaian music on the map. Doesn’t matter who does it.

18.If you could only describe yourself in three words, which 3 words would you choose?

I would say… bold, ambitious and ready

19. What three words would your friends use to describe you?

My friends would say wild, gifted and kind

20. Tell us about the last song you wrote and what inspired it? Describe your song writing procedure?

Most of the time I’m inspired by the things and the people around me, things I’m going through etc. it usually comes from feelings.

21. What’s the greatest opportunity being a musician has afforded you?

 I get to meet some really awesome people like presidents, dignitaries, people I respect in the music industry like Femi Kuti, Hugh Masakela, Miriam Makeba, Jerry Wonder, etc.

22. Overall, what role does Ghanaian music play in world music?

   Ghanaian music is about to take the world by storm.

23. Apart from being a solo artist, you have many great collaborations- with Sarkodie,Manifest,Jayso and others.  How did the “Im in Love with You” collaboration come about.

Sarkodie wanted to make a love song, because at the time he hadn’t made one with a girl before & Little Things was a hit at the time so we just went to the studio, Killbeatz made the beat & the rest is history.

24. Will you ever do a collaboration with a female Ghanaian artist, like Tiffany, Noella, or Becca in the near future?

 I will.

25. You are known for your immaculate stage performances. What goes through your mind as you are performing live?

I hope I don’t fall down!

26.What was your most nerve wrecking live performance and why?

 Hands down the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, because it was a live telecast and all of Africa was watching so the pressure was on to put on an unforgettable show.

27.After you finish recording a song, how do you test it out ?Do you ever test it out with friends and family- have them listen to it to see what they think or do you just wait for the world to hear it at the same time.

I normally play it for the people around me a few times and get their thoughts on it, work on it some more and when I’m completely comfortable with it, we put it out when the time is right.

28. How do you decide which producer to work with?

 It usually comes from a connection, I hear their music or they send me some music and if I can vibe to it I use it. It’s all about if you can get the right vibe or connection with the music.

29. Your T.I.N.T album is clever, the name. Why did you call it that?

Because I had to put out a mixtape before my album and seeing how anticipated my album was, I didn’t want there to be any confusion whatsoever so I decided to spell it out.

 

30. Your TINT mix tape has 13 songs on it. Many of them are well known, and some of them are a little less known. Tell us about the “Weather for Two”—the concept and the inspiration behind that song?

Well I wrote “Weather for Two” because it used to rain a lot at the time and I wanted to make some slow, sensual cuddle music for my fans. Also there was a funny story to it, there was a joke on the internet that the Nigerian president said “when it rains instead of the youth going out to plant yam they tweet ‘weather for two’”.

31. Your mixtape is about love, romance, appreciating relationships and then there are the odd topics like cigarettes. What message do you want your listeners to receive from your mixtape?

 I make mood music, every song tells a story. I try to take the listener on a journey and share my life with them. So my mixtape is basically a day in my shoes, a little piece of myself.

32. Many of your songs are sung in English.Is that intentional or is that the language you are most comfortable singing in?

It’s just to make the music more international so more people can understand and relate to it.

33.Many people compare your sound to India Arie and other neo soul artists. How do those comparisons make you feel?

I don’t mind at all, India Arie is an amazing singer and to be compared to someone of her stature internationally, to me, says that I’m doing something right.

34.During your few years in the music industry, what’s the best piece of advice you have received?

Someone once told me, “just keep doing what you’re doing”, sounds simple but it’s worked out for me so far.

35. Over the past two years, you have been included in some beautiful and intricate videos. I’m in love with your girlfriend was like a mini movie, and Best In Me was a feel good video about love. What do you enjoy more—writing the song, recording the song in the studio, or making the video?

Making videos is very stressful but I’d say they’re my favourite part because you get to have fun creating something you love, and every time you see the video you’re reminded of all the good times you had making it

36. Are there any songs you have on the TINT mixtape/album which have never been performed live?

Yeah, “This Life”, I’ve no idea why.

37. What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever done?

 Stole my panties, right off the drying line. That was super weird.

38. Apart from singing .you are also involved in humanitarian work, appearing in Awal’s ‘This is Who I Am’ song and video. Tell us a bit about your role.

Awal’s charity for orphans was just our small way of giving back to the kids. It’s one of the charities I belong to where we make and perform music and give all the proceeds to the orphanages to look after the kids with & also once a year we get together at Jamestown where we paint and feed the kids.

39. If you could look back and give one piece of advice to yourself, like 5 years ago, what would you say?

Keep singing, and make more money.

40. What’s the one mistake you have made in life that you wish you could take back?

I’m not sure, I’m pretty happy with the way I turned out.

41. What are your goals for the upcoming year?

Total
domination. We need to break records, making music that goes everywhere and trying to achieve the African dream .

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

 I’d be making films, directing, writing and producing films. Definitely that.

Fun Random Facts about Efya

Favorite TV show: Hannibal

Favorite song: All of Me

Left-handed or right-handed: Rightie

Do you play any instruments? The piano

Name one thing that scares you: Failure

Name one hobby you enjoy:  Playing basketball

Tell us one thing most people don’t know about you: I’m a deep person

Favorite food: Fufu & Green Soup

Hidden Talent: I can stand on my head

If you were stranded on an island and could only take one item, what would it be: my cellphone

Favorite Book: Cinderella

Favorite Place to Visit: New York

If you could pick a song to describe your life now, what song would you pick: Drunk In Love

Favorite Hang out spot in Accra: Twist

Name the Weirdest thing you own? Bow & quiver of arrows

Website: http://www.efyasworld.com

Twitter:@EFYA_Nokturnal

ONE ON ONE WITH EDEM

25 Sep

photo(7)


ONE ON ONE INTERVIEW WITH : EDEM

WRITTEN BY:AFROMUSION

Edem, the artist formerly known as Ayigbe Edem, has taken the year 2013 by storm, releasing music that can be categorized in various genres, while still maintaining his street credibility and loyal fan base. Nominated in two categories ( Hip Hop Song  of the Year and Best Rapper for “Heyba“) during the 2013 Ghana Music Awards, and performing in the Ghana Meets Naija show, and in other shows not only in Ghana, but throughout the continent of Africa, Edem’s undeniable talent has been recognized and  honored on several levels. The following interview details the musical journey of Edem:


 

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

I grew up in Accra -New Town, and then in  later years I grew up in Sakumono.  In terms of siblings, I have an older sister.

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

I found myself attracted to good music while I was growing up, and the advent of 1990’s hiphop, reggae, and dancehall got me more interested in music.

.

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

It is everything to society. Music represents the state of a society at every point in time – war,peace,morality, everything.

4.Who were your favorite musicians when you were growing up?

Eminem, Busta Rhymes, Bob Marley, Wyclef and the list goes on.

5. Who are your favorite musicians now?

Royce da 5’9, KendricK Lamar, and Ace hood

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

I would like to  work with Rocky Dawuni, because I am sure he would challenge my Reggae direction and I would also learn from him.


7.How does technology impact your music?

Both positively and negatively. Music is being obtained for free and that is a bit negative because the artists do not receive a payment when the music is obtained that way. In terms of the positive aspects of technology, I am able to reach my fans with no mediators dictating the kind of record my fans should consume.

 

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

I officially entered the market as a musician in 2009 when we officially released “Bougez” or “U dey craze”- the video.

9. Over the years you have changed your name, and you now go by Edem. Describe the reasoning for the name transformation

It was due to the change in brand direction, understanding of the name ‘Ayigbe’ and its origin, and the quest to sell Ghana and its’ culture properly to the world. It is now EDEM people, just EDEM…LOL

10. Have you ever won a  Ghana Music Award?

We won the “Hip Hop Song of the Year” award  at the Ghana Music Awards in 2010.

11. Let’s review some of your songs. “Ghetto Arise”.  Tell us a bit about that song and the idea behind the video.

The  “Ghetto Arise” video and song tells a story of two different people who find themselves in various life situations in the ghetto. Although their situation in life is depressing, my character in the video is encouraging them to rise out of their situation. The video literally represented the stories.

12. Lets review some of your songs. “Over and Over again”.  Tell us a bit about that song and the idea behind the video ( well you have 2 videos for this one)

“Over Again”  is just a lyrical super-hero story designed to make men appreciate their ladies more. We did an English remix and shot a new video. You can visit www.youtube.com/edemontv to watch the video.

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

I have a song on my Volta regime album entitled “Emmre sesa” .It reminds me of where I came from and where I am now..all the time I hear it.

 

14. How do you define your music because it seems like you cover various genres?

I think I am just versatile with it. What my vibe is and what kind of beat I hear or come across determines my new swing.

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

Yes , “HEYBA”….it was a street anthem and we (the team) didn’t predict it would go mainstream because radio in Ghana is not hip-hop friendly. But it shot up and has become one of the biggest hip-hop songs in Africa.

16. Describe the way that you write your songs—what factors into your music writing process?

Simple ways.  Once I get an idea in my head then I  develop it over a period of months, sometimes a year. Or I get in the studio, hear a beat, and what I feel comes to bear on the beat.

Sometimes I sit down and compose the whole song, then make the producer programme the beat with a certain direction I have in mind.

 

17. What inspires your music writing?

Everything from life, other people’s records, the quest to put Ghana on the world stage, and feeling good vibes. Sometimes after a club session I get inspired by what the people there were enjoying.

 

18. 2013 has been a busy year for you. You have either featured or been featured in several songs, with artists like Eazzy, Kaakie, EL, Bessa Simons, and Stonebwoy. How do collaborations form? How do you pick the artists to work with and how do they choose you?

Well, some of the artists want to work with me, and choose me to work with. The ones I choose are people I connect with outside the studio. At times, I am also a fan of their music already and at certain times I just want to do something different and more challenging than my previous record.

19. The year is not over, and you have already released or been featured in at least six songs. Can you give us a hint of what you have in store for us for the remainder of the year??

I have many projects planned for the remainder of 2013. I am going to be shooting videos and releasing more super records. There are songs with more artistes underway -Wyre from Kenya, Kemenya ( the video for  “Economy was recently released), Gemini, Tinny, and a few other African acts.

20. Tell us a bit about VRMG? Tell us about the recording artists with VRMG.

Volta Regime Music group is the name of the label I am on. To be brief, we are undergoing some transformations in terms of business and direction.

I am sure the fans will soon see just THE REGIME MUSIC and also see VRF(Volta Regime Foundation) become iamEdemfoundation


21. If you could look back and give one piece of advice to yourself, like5 years ago, what would you say?

I’d say I should have left every other thing I was chasing then and focused on just the music, so that I could have come out earlier than 2009.


22. What advice would you give to young aspiring musicians?

Be humble, patient and prayerful.

 

23. How has the music landscape changed since you entered it?

It has moved from Dzama to crunk to Azonto or dance music. Endorsements are the order of the day now. And branding has become quite critical because of struggle for visibility. Personally I think only true talent will last through all of these changes.

 

24. What are your goals for the upcoming year?

My team and I want to get the music to Africa before the year ends.

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

I am sure I would be doing civil work and also be an entrepreneur .

 

Fun Facts about Edem
Favorite TV show: Ellen Degeneres and Caught on Camera
Favorite song (non-Edem song): Mafikizolo (Khona)

Favorite Edem song: Emmre Sesa

Left handed or right handed: Right handed

Tell us something most people don’t know about you: I am extremely funny when you get to know me.
Favorite place to hang out: Home.
Countries you have visited: UK,SOUTH AFRICA,NAIJA,LOME….

Favorite food: Rice with any sauce..

Favorite Book: Anything by John Grisham

When was the last time you:

Cried: When I am in the kitchen..I shed onion tears……

Laughed: Everyday….Even now as I read this…lol

Cooked: two weekends ago….

Were scared: I DONT REMEMBER

What are you afraid of: I am afraid of all creepy crawlers

On Twitter, Edem can be found at: @iamedem

Edem’s YouTube channel can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/EdemOnTV?feature=watch

ONE ON ONE WITH ATUMPAN

8 Jul

IMG-20130704-WA0005

 

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:

ONE ON ONE WITH NOELLA WIYAALA

10 May


AFROMUSION: ONE ON ONE INTERVIEW WITH: NOELLA WIYAALA
Written by: Afromusion
May 9, 2013

DSC_4292-Edit

1.Tell us a little bit about your background Noella- where did you grow up and go to
school?

I grew up in Funsi, which is a small village in the north of Ghana. Nearby is the town of Tumu where I went to school. I enjoyed football, drawing, singing and dancing. People used to say I was a tomboy.

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

My mother was a chorister and she taught us to sing. We were four sisters and we used to sit with her and sing with her when she was practicing for Sunday choir.

3. What was the first song you ever wrote?

It was called Tuma which means “work” (if you don’t work, you won’t chop; no food for the lazy man) lol.

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

Music creates joy and peace which we can all share. Music is in nature, it’s all around us!

5.How do you define your music?

I do many kinds of music, but it’s all Afro, it could be Afro-Rock, Afro-Pop, Afro-soul, Afro-Tech. I can never lose my Africaness.

6. Who were your favorite musicians when you were growing up?

Madonna, Michael Jackson and Angelique Kidjo

7.Who are your favorite musicians now?

Tina Turner, Angelique Kidjo and Grace Jones

8. It seems like many of the country’s singers are from central Accra and Tema.
You are from the Upper West region of Ghana. How does that influence your
music?

Actually, I’ve been influenced by the international stars I have seen on TV and the local singers and beats from the Upper West.

9. You are now based in Accra. Do you think in order to succeed musically in Ghana, it is vital to come closer to the capital?
Yes, it’s the truth! If you are based in Upper West it is like being dead. People would not even know you exist! I hope that will change one day.

10. Which Ghanaian musician would you like to work with and why?
Osibisa, because their music reflected the best of Ghana and singing with them would be so inspirational.

11.How does technology impact your music?
A lot, because most music is made with computers these days. People outside of the country and continent can now hear your songs because of technology.

12. If you were not making music, what do you think you would be doing in your
life?
Something creative like fashion design, I design most of my own stage dresses. Or, a professional artist.

13. ‘Make Me Dance’ is your latest video—tell us a little bit about that song and the video concept.

Well, I hope the song is a mature way of telling your partner that making love with them is great! The video is supposed to represent the ‘wow’ factor of that emotion.

14. Did you write ‘ Make Me Dance’ If so, what inspired you to write it?

Yes! I wrote “Make Me Dance”! I was doing the washing. I was excited that afternoon and from no where the song popped up in a melody form and I developed it until I got what we have on the record now.

15. How do you write your songs- what process do you go through?

A melody comes into my head and some small words, I sing it to myself and it develops. Then I take it to the studio so that a beat can be made for it.

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16. What role does Ghanaian music have in the world?
For now, Azonto has made Ghana popular. But we have more than that and we should export it.

17.Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
I’m targeting all the big stages here in Ghana and outside. The big festivals and all.

18. What advice would you give to young aspiring musicians?*

Believe in yourself, practice harder and harder.

19.What role do women play in Ghanaian music?

A difficult role, it’s not easy to be a female musician, but we are managing more and more.

20.There are a few Ghanaian women musicians. What makes your style of music
different?
My genre of music. My look! My voice! My performance…I rock!

21. As you navigate the music scene, what has been the most shocking aspect of
the music entertainment scene?

The fear of investing in a real talent

22. As you navigate the music scene, what has been the most intriguing/positive
aspect of the music entertainment scene?

When a real talent emerges after years of struggling alone, surprise, surprise, the investors and would-be managers suddenly appear… intriguing!! The process makes you stronger and more independent!

Fun Facts about Noella:
Nickname: nickname at school was “Man-Woman”!
Favorite TV show: “By the Fireside”, best TV show ever!
Favorite song: Take a Bow, by Madonna
Favorite place to hang out: Sitting under a mango tree eating the mangoes. lol
Countries you have visited: Burkina Faso and South Africa

Favorite food: TZ(Tuo Zaafi) + grasscutter meat with green soup

When was the last time you:

Cried: last night

Laughed: right now!
Cooked: today

Were scared: when I dream

What are you afraid of: darkness

Traveled outside of Accra: Sunday
To learn more about Noella, check out the following:
Website: http://www.noellawiyaala.com/
Twitter name: @Wiyaala

TWITTER INTERVIEW WITH GMA 2013 NOMINATED : KWABENA KWABENA

4 May
Picture Source: Ghana Nation

Picture Source: Ghana Nation


MAY 4, 2013:
Kwabena Kwabena is a highly respected and gifted Ghanaian artist. With established hits like “Bibini”, “Aso” and “Obi Do Wo A Do Ni Bi”, Kwabena Kwabena is gearing up to release another highly anticipated album ,entitled DAAKYE, which will be a compilation of various musical genres. Apart from preparing for an album launch, Kwabena Kwabena is also preparing to attend the Ghana Music Awards, as a result of three nominations he received in conjunction with Asem for the song “Bye Bye”. Nominated for Vodafone Song of the Year, Best Collaboration of the Year, and Hip-Life Song of the Year, 2013 is starting out well for Kwabena Kwabena.

Kwabena Kwabena recently sat down with Afromusion during a LIVE twitter interview  (AFROMUSIONTWITTERVIEWS) on May 3, 2013, to discuss his music and future plans.

The following is the transcript:

AFROMUSION: When did you first get into music? Tell us a little bit about your journey.

KWABENA KWABENA:  I got into music at a very tender age, music has always been part of my family so I guess I picked it up easily. It started from the church and then it grew to become a passion instead of the hobby.  It went on and on until I was able to show the world my God given talents.

 

AFROMUSION: What makes your music different than other artists/how do you define it?

KWABENA KWABENA: I would say that everybody is different and unique in their own way and we all try to make a difference with what God has given us. I can sing and someone else can rap but the most important thing is doing what you can do best in your comfort zone

 

AFROMUSION: At what point in your life did you realize that your music was known internationally?

KWABENA KWABENA: I am grateful to my maker for such a wonderful talent and for it to be able to reach the rest of the world. I know people all over the world listen to my music, both Ghanaians and people from the diaspora, and it make me feel good.

 

AFROMUSION: How has your life changed, now that you are a highly regarded musician?

KWABENA KWABENA: it’s been a wonderful and successful journey so far . The Lord has been good to me, my fans have been loyal to me through thick and thin and almost every thing I own today –  music contributed a lot to it and am grateful for the talent

AFROMUSION: How did you get the name Kwabena Kwabena?

KWABENA KWABENA: I grew up with a thought of becoming an architect, but my passion for music got the best of me in life, so everyone who knew me from back then knew me as  “Kwabena the Architect”, so when I got into music I added another Kwabena to it so there can be two Kwabenas. There’s Kwabena the “architect” and Kwabena the “musician”.

AFROMUSION: I bet you there are millions of people who NEVERRRRRR knew that!!

KWABENA KWABENA: yea there is always a first time to everything in life lol

AFROMUSION: Out of all the songs you have written, which one is your favorite?

KWABENA KWABENA: my music is like my children and I love all of them and can never choose one over the other because every one of them is from God.

AFROMUSION: Really!!! Ok Kwabena Kwabena , so there is not ONE song that you hold TIGHTLY to your heart?? 🙂

KWABENA KWABENA: There are those songs that shot me to stardom but that does not mean that they are better than the others

AFROMUSION: What inspires you to write your music? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

KWABENA KWABENA: Things around me on a daily basis, things I go through, what I hear, watch and read, and most my maker gives me the music.

AFROMUSION: Do you remember where you were the first time u heard your song on the radio?

KWABENA KWABENA: I was at home when I had a call from a friend who had already heard my songs and he called me up to tune to a particular radio station and I was being played over there . It really made me feel good

AFROMUSION: What song of yours was playing on the radio, when your friend called you?

KWABENA KWABENA: Aso, I guess, lol.

AFROMUSION:  You have just recently been nominated for a Ghana Music Award… how did that make you feel?

KWABENA KWABENA: Great, it always feels good when people appreciate the hard work you put into your craft as an artist.

AFROMUSION: Let’s talk about your nomination for BYE BYE with ASEM. How did you create the concept for that song?

 KWABENA KWABENA: it’s a good song and it was created by two great minds. Asem is a great song writer and composer so it made it easy working with him

AFROMUSION: You and ASEM have been nominated in SO MANY CATEGORIES: Song of the Year, Best Collaboration, Hip life..the chances are high of you winning a category.

KWABENA KWABENA: We pray we win. It is a good song and surely deserves an award

AFROMUSION: You have been a constant in the Ghana music scene. How do you feel GH music has changed over time?

KWABENA KWABENA: Well it’s had its ups and downs but in all I would say its really getting better, at least the Azonto trend has helped put a check to the Naija invasion of our music industry and it can only get better if we as musicians learn to serve to people with right music for them to enjoy and also for our people to be a little bit patriotic and help the musicians grow by buying our works.

AFROMUSION; Do you know how to do the Azonto?

KWABENA KWABENA: Yeah, I dance it a lot and I love it. This has the Ghanaian culture all over it- our way of life, humor, and everything in it !

AFROMUSION: You, me, Fuse ODG, Sarkodie, will have to have an AZONTO dance contest since you claim to know how to do it well 🙂

KWABENA KWABENA: Ha ha ha ha , we will see who is the best when it gets there but big ups to everyone who has taken Ghana music to the next level

AFROMUSION:  What can your fans expect from you this year?

KWABENA KWABENA: A massive album will be launched at the start of next month and my fans should be on the lookout.

AFROMUSION: Yes everyone will be awaiting your album. The cover is surreal. What makes this upcoming album different than your last one?

KWABENA KWABENA: This is the new me, the new Kwabena Kwabena. This has a couple of tunes you can easily dance to, as well as your favorite ballad songs. It’s a great album and I encourage all my fans to grab a copy when it finally comes out.

AFROMUSION: it has been an HONOR having you LIVE on AFROMUSIONtwitterview. We have learned so much about you!!

KWABENA KWABENA: It is my pleasure to serve my fans at all times. Any day you need me I will be right here for you and for them.

AFROMUSION: Thank you SO MUCH !! And best of luck at the GHANA MUSIC AWARDS.. we will all be watching to support you!

KWABENA KWABENA: Thank you too! I am grateful and we pray to God we win and we pray for strength and guidance for making everyone happy.

ONE ON ONE WITH 2RAS

11 Sep


WRITTEN BY:AFROMUSION

 

Tell us a little bit about your background- where did you grow up and go to school?

I was born in Nkawkaw (pronounced N-kor-kor), in the eastern part of Ghana. I did my basic and secondary school in that area. I attended St. Peter’s Secondary School and later proceeded to Institute of Professional Studies (IPS Legon).

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

I have always loved music and music will always be a part of me. I started listening to hip hop music when I was in junior secondary school. During this same era, hip life had started. I appreciated what people like Reggie Rockstone, Obrafour, Akyeame, etc. were doing. It was great to hear hip hop done in our own language.

How did you get the name “2ras”?

I had that name back in secondary school. I chose my own nickname. I wanted something that was funky and meaningful. It simply means journey. Life is a journey.

What was the first song you ever wrote?

Surprisingly, the first song I wrote did not have a title. It never got released and I don’t think it will. Listening to that tune, it tells me how far I have come as a musician.

What was the first song you ever did which received national attention?

It was “Medebebom” with Obrafour.
How did you feel when the song you recorded with Obrafour was featured on the show AFIA SCHWARZENEGGER? Did you ever think you’d be featured in a TV soundtrack?

I was happy because I had a large platform that was providing my tune an audience. It gave me the opportunity to show Ghanaians what I was made of. The greatest feeling about that song was having Obrafour on it. He appreciated what I was doing at my age and opted for collaboration on a song.

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

Music plays a lot of roles in our society. It helps to educate, entertain, comfort, etc. People express their feelings through music and people identify with it. I also believe music is one of the greatest communication vehicles we ever had. Especially when it sounds nice.

How do you define your music?
I do Hip Hop/Hip Life.
What makes your music/sound different than other musicians?

Apart from beats/instrumentation, my style in terms of word play and rhythm, among other things, differentiate my music.

Who were your favorite musicians when you were growing up?

Bob Marley, Reggie Rockstone, Obrafour, Eminem, and Jay Z

Who are your favorite musicians now?

I listen to a lot of Marley Music and Kaakie now. I also love Sarkodie, Ayigbe Edem, Samini, Wiz Khalifa, T.I, and J. Cole.


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

Kojo Antwi – that man has so many classics and I love his word play in music.


How does technology impact your music?

Technology has helped create a wider distribution and promotion platform for music across the world. It has helped introduce our kind of music to the rest of the world faster and easier. The only problem we face here in our part of the world is how to monetize it.

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

I would have been a chef. I love cooking and I like trying new cuisines.

What are the latest songs you have been working on and how can fans

purchase them?
Songs for my album are ready but the team at my record label is still deciding on which songs will make it to the album. Apart from that, I am also working on other interesting music projects.

Let’s review two of your songs: First, “My First Luv”. Tell us the story behind that song.

It’s a subject I realized a lot of guys, including myself, identify with. Most guys or people never end up with their first love. I wanted to sing about that and I thought a story line would be cool.

Tell us the story behind “Lighters Up”:

“Lighters Up” is the first song I wrote when I signed my first record deal. I talk about myself, my style, my hustle, and my dreams.

How do you write your songs- what process do you go through?

I don’t do a paper and pen. I “form” the lyrics on my mind and do my verses once the beat is on. I write them down after recording.

What inspires your music writing?

A number of things inspire my music. Beats/instrumentation can get me to write a song. The society and things around me also inspire what I write. I also try to identify with any subject I write on.

What role does Ghanaian music have in the world?

It projects our way of life, culture, and identity, as a people.

Name one thing that has changed in your life since becoming a musician?

Nothing really, I think I have grown to appreciate the way different people think.

If you could look back and give one piece of advice to yourself, like

5 years ago, what would you say?
I would advise myself not to be timid and shy. It kills creativity.

What advice would you give to young aspiring musicians?

Music is just like any profession. You have to work hard and pay your dues. Success is time bound.

Fun Fact about 2ras:
Favorite TV show: Any interesting lifestyle show
Favorite song: “My First Luv” by 2ras
Favorite place to hang out: My Room
Countries you have visited: Japan, Netherlands, South Africa

When was the last time you:

Cried: During the late President’s burial

Cooked: Today

Laughed uncontrollably: I do that a lot of times.

Were scared: I don’t remember

Attended a good concert: I don’t remember

Travelled outside of Accra: Sat 1st September

For more information on 2ras, he can be found on twitter :@2rasmusic