People ask if the Ghana Music Awards and its nominations will ever have a discourse free year as it is evident that for the past years, every nominations list is met with a number of criticisms and surprises. As a human institution, these will always arise, however, the rate at which such discourse arises will determine whether we need to change to move forward.
One of the usual complaints, over the years, has been about a particular musician or group making a lot of waves during the year under review and yet only managing to make one or at most two, and sometimes no nomination at all. In the past few days since the 2011 GMA nominations list has been out, some people have expressed disappointment about one artist or the other not making it with a lot of people sympathizing with Empire Entertainment’s Ruff ‘n’ Smooth.
To me, there is more about making it into the nominations list of an awards ceremony than making so much noise with one record when you have other records on the album. Some artists have up to ten records and yet, only one becomes a hit with the second one trailing. For such acts, people may enjoy the one song over and over again when it is played over the radio but when it comes to a live performance, the audience may want to throw stones at them. A personal experience is Eazzy’s performances since her first stage appearance. It has always been the same old Michael Wacko Jackson sort of dressing (sometimes I think Richie has a lot to do with this) and her ever so similar stage moves and oh, it always felt like the songs were in the same order. In one of the editions of The Graphic Showbiz, columnist Francis Doku stated that if he should witness Eazzy perform the usual, he might be forced to throw his shoe at her on stage! Give us showmanship girl, not repetitions!
Then there is Nana Borro whose song, “Aha ye de” was so much of a hit that it got to the lad’s head too fast. He started feeling like he is the best lyricist and rapper and knew perfectly well what he was about. People said the song was just a one day hit. Indeed, it was a chance hit. He got some interesting lyrics to go with a danceable beat (mind you Ghanaians will nod to any beat danceable and might not even be thinking about the story in the song) and there, he was already seeing himself in the Hiplife Hall of Fame (if there is one). This guy raved and ranted about himself being a good musician on almost every interview and that to him, every good musician like himself must have good lyrics, must be marketable and a third which I have forgotten. Homework for you: what happened to the other records on his album and do you know that the first single off his second album has been out for a while now?
On yet another noise maker. Ruff ‘n’ Smooth had a lot of partying in the past year with their ‘swagger’ record. They went to the BBA All Stars in South Africa and ‘swaggered’ the audience and the entire continent. Seems like all promotions for their album was dwarfed on the ‘swagger’ record and even though they might have had other equally good songs, they did not have enough swag to perform it on stage to move an entire audience. It was always and always had been ‘swagger.’
There are musicians whose records are such that they will hit for a period but will still be among audience favorites. They will go on to bring other records which will be equally good. Mostly, these are the artists who sit and chat and drink with their producers that they actually cook records and not merely do songs. All those ranting about their favorite noise makers not making the nominations at all or not making enough should pause to ask. . .Are they good enough contenders for the acts in the categories they would have loved to see their noisemakers in?