Over the last few years, the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) Artiste of the Year spot has been a clear cut that you don’t need Baba Fakunle to foretell you who the winner would be. Let’s cast our minds back over the past 5 years. In 2012, Stay Jay was the winner, 2013 – Kaakie, 2014 – Joey B, 2015 – MzVee, and 2016 – Kofi Kinaata. It was only last year that Fancy Gadam took us by surprise when everyone thought Medikal had worked enough to earn the crown. Apparently, home support for the “Total Cheat” hitmaker was off the roof.
However, this year we have a different case. This year has been a year that saw new artistes spring up across the globe. And it’s no different in Ghana, as most major hits we’ve had this year were made by rookies. I can mention 5 potent contenders for the spot of VGMA 2018 Best New Artiste, all of whom are deserving winners – KiDi, Kuami Eugene, Kurl Songx, King Promise and B4Bonah. These acts worked very hard, paying their dues to the game, and in turn gaining nationwide hits and deserved attention. Usually, artistes nominated for the Best New act category have only one breakthrough song. This time, these young people have packed at least 2 hits in their bags.
KiDi, the Lynx Entertainment signed artiste has “Say You Love Me” and “Odo” (both the original and remix version with Davido and Mayorkun) to his name. Kuami Eugene struggled to break through the nationwide market with “Boom Boom Bang Bang”, “Hiribaba”, “Show Dem”, “Ebeyeyie” and “Fadama Boy”, till he finally had the people’s favourite, “Angela”. Kurl Songx had his breakthrough when Sarkodie spat a line which made the Krobo tribe furious. Whilst people shared different opinions on the tribalistic-driven line, the song “Jennifer Lomotey” became popular. He had another follow-up titled as “Whistle” with the same rapper, Sarkodie. Like this wasn’t enough, he delivered another banger with the most buzzing artiste this year, Ebony, entitled “Feeling.”
King Promise after a glut of features, slaying hooks, finally had us dancing to his self-owned song “Oh Yeah”. “Hey Sexy” with Stonebwoy was a miss. He then bounced back with “Selfish”, which is gradually gaining grounds. B4Bonah had everyone singing along to “Dear God”. He then collaborated with King Promise, giving us “My Girl.”
There are a couple of acts which you’d question me as to why they didn’t make the list, including favourites Kwesi Arthur and Darkovibes. The two didn’t garner much success compared to the artistes mentioned previously, coming out with only one hit song each which didn’t do well across the country. We saw Darkovibes perform to a stadium crowd who didn’t know his song. I bet you have a lot of relatives who’d legit ask you “who’s Kwesi Arthur?”
The big question now is who will be the best new artiste? From the VGMA board, The New Artiste of the Year is the Artiste(s) adjudged by the Academy, Board and the General Public as the most promising and talented emerging artiste (s). The award goes to a relatively new artiste(s) who released a SINGLE/ALBUM that FIRST shot the artiste(s) into the limelight during the year under review.
Lynx Entertainment artistes have been pushing for their acts to win some awards and recognition which sometimes they don’t even deserve. In 2014, MzVee was the Unsung Artiste. The following year she was the best new act (deservedly). Kuami Eugene announced his presence by winning the Unsung Artiste in 2017 when I couldn’t even mention one of his songs. So this drives me to the question, will Richie and his crew use their influence to overcome the others?
Some say KiDi leads the pack because he’s the only one who has been able to break through a non-Ghanaian market i.e. Nigeria collaborating with Africa’s favourites, Mayorkun and Davido. Kaywa, who happens to be part of the management of Kurl Songx also has a great influence in the game. Will that have any effect on his chances of winning? Would B4Bonah’s inspirational song see him through to kiss the trophy? This is a question that would be on our lips till the fateful night of the 19th Edition of VGMAs.