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KING PROMISE: Future Custodian Of Ghana Music.

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“Bro, I have been on the road, and trying to promote my new album,” King Promise tells me via a telephone call from Kumasi. A few hours before we speak on the phone, he explains that he was talking into another mic as a guest on a talk radio show, announcing to listeners that his debut album “As Promised,” was worth their time. King Promise sounds mildly hyped – his vocals undulates when he refers to the project released in July, 2019 – as his current promo run has been a success. “I’m just happy for this project, it’s been a long time coming!”

Born Gregory Promise Bortey Newman, the 24-year old Nungua Native is one of Ghana’s most exciting young voices redefining the soundscape of West Africa. First gaining recognition as a collaborator on The Ghanaian Vision DJ’s ‘Double Trouble, released in July 2017, Promise embraced the limelight with a string of local releases. But it wasn’t until his work on ‘Oh yeah’, a sappy romantic ballad where he began to come into his own. Other songs such as ‘Selfish’ and ‘CCTV’ elevated him beyond Ghana to other parts of the continent, including neighbouring Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, where his music has found new homes. His stock has grown, paid performance requests have come from some of the most distant places. In 2018, he toured the USA, playing sets across venues in Washington D.C, Ohio, Philadelphia and Worchester.

In December, his headline concert in Accra, titled Promise Land was sold-out, with supporting performances from a handful of local stars including Sarkodie, Medikal, Stonebwoy, La Meme Gang and Sister Deborah. “I’m sorry I keep mentioning King Promise’s name, he is my best artiste of the whole Ghana,” Afrobeats superstar Mr. Eazi disclosed in an interview on Hitz FM in 2018. It’s a praise that has been echoed in many corners which promise processes as necessary inspiration rather than external pressure. “It means more motivation to keep growing because it means we are doing something great,” King Promise explains. “And you know, to be acknowledged as one of the best is a big thing, so it therefore gives me inspiration to keep going because it means people love what you’re doing. So it can only get better.”

With the streams pouring in, and his base of supporters expanding, Promise has come a long way in two years. It’s a journey that began in Nungua, a town in Accra where he was born to Francis Newman and Angela Quaye, businessmen who raised him with music. “My father had a good taste in music,” Promise remembers. “He only played the best stuff and these are things that have influenced me to be the kind of artist that I am today, because of the kind of music he played at home and the music I heard growing up.” That music comprised a variety of genres. Traditional Highlife grooves, mixed in with Dancehall from Shaggy, and pop from the boy groups Westlife and Backstreet Boys formed the foundation of his music education. “When you listen to my music, you feel like a lot of highlife vibes and then you feel like some R&B vibes in it and then you feel like Afrobeat in it and sometimes some dancehall,” Promise explains. “So like, so many different genres and all of that shaped me to be who I am today.”

Promise says although his father was influential in his choice of career, he found out about his music career when he blew up while studying for a degree at Central University. He graduated in 2017, a feat that enabled that his music received parental blessings. “I personally like to learn. I love education. When I was in school, I loved being in class, I loved listening and all of that,” says Promise. “Just like I love my music, I also like to learn. So it wasn’t really hard for me to keep my eyes in school. The only issue, I’m not going to lie, is the distractions, missing a couple classes here and there. But at the end of the day, I was determined to go through and I did it.”

You can find that pursuit of growth in his July-released, 15-track debut album, As Promised. The project leads with Highlife harmonies layered over lyrics drawn from youth, happiness, and the beauty of being in love.  On album lead, ‘Commando’ he reinforces his undying love for his lady with sappy lyrics that come alive with syrupy crooning: “Maybe me anever see another girlie like you/The way you move your body move your body, me alike girl/Come make abi your commando/Ago fight for you, commando.” The single, another career hit, was picked out of over 30 songs recorded for the project. Promise tells me that although his recording process results in hits, he never sets out to deliberately make them.

“I had no theme in the beginning but it was more of love, happiness and just having a good time that was all I was trying to put out. I actually didn’t even put like a number together,” he says. There’s also a glow in his voice when he talks about Wizkid, the Nigerian superstar who was a guest on smash hit single, ‘Tokyo’. The Killbeatz-produced song was made in Ghana, as an organic labour of love between both artists. “What you hear on ‘Tokyo’ is Wizkid’s first take. Wiz just did one take and it was perfect. We were just in the hotel room, we didn’t even plan it. It just happened. I also jumped on it, did my verse. He came back to Ghana, we shot the video and boom! It just took over,” Promise says, smiling.

Life for King Promise should be lived with happiness. And why not? He is young, he is rich, and he is in a prime position to influence his country’s music for years to come. There has been some weak talk about him taking the baton from legendary Highlife greats, and ushering the genre into the future as a custodian of the culture. Ghanaian Highlife is famous for its legendary performers, including E.T Mensah and Nana Ampadu. The genre is influential as a musical export running throughout sub-Saharan Africa and taking diverse forms in different countries.

African music has been the subject of a scramble by the major labels, with Universal Music, Sony and Warner Music stepping up operations across the continent and signing up talents to deals. Promise has had to watch his colleagues including Stonebwoy, and Cina Soul snag deals to amplify their music to a broader audience in foreign spaces. He believes that it is necessary for these partnerships to happen, as it benefits the culture to make the music travel. But he isn’t looking at getting signed to an American record label right now. There’s still space for him to grow into locally and on the continent. “I’m signed to a label in Ghana called “Legacy Life Entertainment” and that’s owned by Killbeatz who is a legend out here and Africa in general,” Promise says. “And this is a label I’ve been able to work with, with them having my interest at heart and wanting me to go all the way to the top and we are just taking our time working on the music and progress has been immensely beautiful and it can only be better. So I’m in no rush for no big label deal whatsoever.”

Despite possessing one of 2019’s best albums, Promise believes it’s the smallest of achievements on his belt. True legacy, he believes, comes from inspiration, and spreading your blessings beyond your family. He dreams of a time when his existence will be motivation for Ghana’s youth, looking to get ahead in life. “Considering where I’m from, who I am to believe that I could be who I am today and actually push for it and be here today?” he asks. “It’s something that’s crazy!” I want the youth from the ends, when they look at me, they should be able to say “if King Promise did it we can do it.”

(This article was written by Joey Akan; he tweets via JoeyAkan)

(Source: tushmagazine.com.ng)

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Meet the New Vocal Goddess – NaaNa Blu.

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Abigail Mensah, stage name NaaNa Blu is a Ghanaian musician who hails from Shama in the western region of Ghana. She completed her Senior High School education at Shama High School also in the western region and is a recent graduate Teacher of French from the prestigious University of Education, Winneba. She is multilingual and is fluent in Fante, Twi, English, and French.

NaaNa Blu is one of three children of Madam Comfort Mensah a baker and Nana Mensah Annan a fisherman. She has a brother and sister with whom she shares a great relationship.

NaaNa started her career as an artist signed to Darlings Records from 2015 to 2019 and was managed by Mimi Andani-Michaels. She amicably parted ways with the label in November 2019.

NaaNa Blu is currently signed to Quophimens Musiq, a Record Label and Talent Management Company. NaaNa has had the opportunity of performing at the Golden Movie Awards in 2016 and 2017, on DKB’s Point of View program and recently at the Phidel’s Fashion Week in Takoradi. She’s also performed with the Chickens band at Smokes and Barrel in Osu.

Although NaaNa has been performing music for a while now, she’s recently catapulted to the limelight with her cover of the award-winning artist, Kofi Kinaata’s “Things Fall Apart”. She has received a lot of positive reviews from music lovers both at home and abroad. The video has over a million views across social media platforms and is still trending.

https://youtu.be/3kWvEt2C5cQ

…“🔥🔥🔥 Shouts to @NaanaBluOnline 🙌🏾🙏🏾” - Kofi Kinaata - Award-winning Artist and song owner

“Cover of the week…” - Y-FM 107.9

“ This girl really sang @kinaatagh song soo well” - Asamoah Gyan - former captain, Ghana Black Stars

“…NaaNa if you work hard errrh, you'll sing at the queen’s birthday one day…” - Kwame Aplus - People Project Gh

NaaNa Blu describes her music as a fusion of Highlife and Afro Beats. She writes and performs predominantly in Fante which is her mother tongue infused with French and English. She is inspired by Asa, Bob Marley, Akosua Agyapong, Ewurama Bedu, Fella Kuti, Whitney Houston, and Sarkodie.

NaaNa is expected to become the next big thing in Ghana and her growing Fanbase is anticipating nothing but hit after hit from her camp. On any hidden talent, NaaNa can play a mean sound on the guitar and is a member of the fancy-dress troupe Supreme in Takoradi.

Written By: Angelina Taylor

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WALE & JIDENNA: How the American Artistes Maintain Relationship With Their African Roots.

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These American-based stars have constantly searched for their blackness in music and other places.

Artistes who have a multi-cultural background usually draw inspiration from this. Depending on their relationship, the product of this inspiration can be conflictual, or blissful. In the world today, many blacks outside Africa paint a philosophically obscure picture of Africa. Many of these are quick to label it Africa “the Motherland” – in other words, a heavenly place of no earthquakes and wars.

One problem: Africa isn’t heaven – hell, there’s no “Africa”. The continent, one of fifty-four countries, is the second most populated in the world, and attaching a “one” status to it is demeaning at worst. Yet, there’s music, which binds Africa, even as the dangerous politics which terrorize its nations threatens to divide it. More so, music reaches outside Africa connecting with blacks, sharing with them, their lost sound and history. In recent years, this has blown into the “Afrobeats to the World” movement which has witnessed the international success of artistes like Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido.

There are also another set of connecting points: first generation Africans, who were born in the West or have lived there the most. Nigerian-born artistes Jidenna and Wale, represent this set. Naturally, their music (and off-studio moves) reflects their love for the country and its culture. Like custodians, over the years, they’ve called on their African background to serve as inspiration for their music.

Jidenna

“Classic Man” introduced Jidenna to the Nigerian audience. It was a successful one, but one more popular outside the shores of Nigeria. In Nigeria, it was his 2017 debut album “The Chief” that made him truly popular amongst folks of the West African country. The album was rooted firmly in Nigerian aesthetics, and its first words even, is a disciplinary appropriation of Nigerian elders – parents and all.

Jidenna’s insistent grasp to the culture of his motherland is reflected in the album, its Sahari-esque drum patterns and wild horns and African wise sayings. There was “Adaora,” a moving ballad (its first seconds) held by the vocals of Jidenna. A name native to the Igbo tribe, Jidenna’s love interest had no other option but to be black and African. Igbo, especially.

Till this day, Jidenna seems to be an artiste who finds fulfilment in seeking Nigeria, and finding it in music. The meaning of his name lends divine perspective to his artistic interests. Translated, “Jidenna” means “Hold onto the father”. Perhaps, the insatiable thirst for Nigerian tastes.

Alongside his breakout song, Jidenna’s rise saw him glossy and embossed on magazines. His style, a curious marriage of African and European prints, have earned him many admirers. Ever one to embrace his origins, the intent behind the picture that has cut across continents isn’t hard to see. Jidenna loves Nigeria, and he’s eager to show it.

Currently, the 34 year-old artiste is on his second album. Titled “85 to Africa,” the album is more expansive in the sense that its influences are more varied. Whereas his debut borrowed from the cultural hubs of Wisconsin and his native Igbo tribe, 85 is a more robust album, a marker of Jidenna’s willingness to expand the frontiers of his artistry. In an interview, he had this to say:

“I’ve always toyed with the idea of creating a kind of sound highway across the Atlantic Ocean with my music. I think it’s so important for the diaspora to feel connected, so the album is supposed to feel like a road trip across our various experiences. 85 to Africa isn’t just a country or even one continent. We were in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Swaziland, South Africa, and Ghana, but we also started out [in] Atlanta.”

A vehicle of some sorts, “85 to Africa” was Jidenna’s trusted vehicle to spread the music of the motherland. His first album was the proverbial return. In his second album, two years later, he’s stripped himself of the three-piece suits and clean beards, and sporting braids now. And tattoos. And muscles. His music is strengthened, guided by his freedom from the branding schemes of his former label. In another interview, Jidenna’s reveals 85 as the album he’s always wanted to make. And in putting out the album, he was psychologically positioned to make an album which joins hands with Nigeria, digging the gold from its trenches – experiences and all.

https://youtu.be/DdeKOG22gNU

The first track, “Worth the Weight,” features the enigmatic Seun Kuti (on a sample). Interluding his verses, was a spoken word about the end of the domination of the Oyinbo, another name for a white person. This energy is reflected throughout the album, as in eleven tracks, Jidenna’s philosophy of Pan African unity is reiterated.

85 to Africa, though it features Mr. Eazi as its only African-based artiste, is firmly rooted in the music of Nigeria and in particular, Africa. Highlife drums and Afrobeats chants rise from beneath, the production smoky, Jidenna’s raps worthy fire in itself. Revealed, Africa, connected through the words spoken by the man born Jidenna Theodore Mobisson; the production of Ghanaian-born Nana Kwabena cannot be understated too, as for most parts of the album, its pristine quality is the perfect sparring partner for Jidenna’s raps.

Wale

Maybac Music Group veteran Olubowale Victor Akintemehin is also Nigerian-born. Although easily gleaned from his names, Wale is “less showy” (compared to Jidenna) about his Nigerian origins.

Born in Washington DC, the rapper had a loose sense of Pan African consciousness, with Nigerians affiliating with Folarin (as he’s fondly called) because of his growing success within the American music industry.

Wale, perhaps, due to his experimental tendencies, has established connection with Nigeria through its artistes. In 2013, he first explored this with “Drop,” a collaboration with Wizkid, Africa’s man at the moment, who so happened to strike an artistic connection with Wale when he toured America in 2012. Instagram pictures and all, it was clear that Wale and Wizkid had hit it off, and while starting a personal friendship that continues to this day, it would pique Wale’s interest in making more Afrobeats–inspired music.

Wizkid would again, collaborate with Wale, handling chorus duties on the summery “My Love”. In 2017 album “Shine,” another Afrobeats star, Davido gets a feature on “Fine Girl”. Olamide was on the song, marking his second collaboration with Wale, after “Make Us Proud,” released in 2014.

That song, which sampled a popular advert on African football legend Nwankwo Kanu (“Papilo I know say one day you go make us proud”) is the perfect anecdote for explaining Wale’s relationship with Nigeria. There, he’s viewed as a foreign expatriate in America, whose glory reflects on his parents’ country. We are, like cheering fans, telling him to make us proud. And while there are few safari-sounding songs in his six-album discography, Wale wears his Nigerian on his sleeve.

On social media, he’s present in matters of the contemporary, as it affects the teeming youths of the country who wield their phones as their fiercest weapon. He posts Nigerian food (among others), too, cultural connoisseur that he is.

Although in different ways, Jidenna and Wale represent black men loving themselves (and their artistry). This love, prompted by their relationship with Africa, also connects them to the world. And wow, what a thing to see.(pan african music)

https://youtu.be/jzf1GbCf6G4
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MEET THE COMPOZERS: The Band Elevating Ghana’s Culture In Europe.

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UK (www.georgebritton.com) - The Compozers are a group of young four black British boys who believe music can be used to transform the lives of people around the globe. Music is a universal language. As #ThePoeple'sBand, they use their talents to reach out to those who are unreachable through the touch of their instruments. They have travelled the world doing what they do best, performing with various award winning artists such as Wizkid and Fuse ODG who have a. Through the production of their annual show 'A Night with the Compozers', the Compozers, truly "let the music do the talking".

Nana Pokes - (BASS)

Nana 'Pokes' Ntorinkansah was born in Enfield north London where he began his love for music. From the age of four, he started playing drums and keyboard which led and grew to his love to music which spiked his love for the bass, in which we know him for today.

Throughout his education he has been actively invovled with the craft of music, from playing the drums throughout his primary school life and in his church, where he has religiously been playing since he was around five years old. From playing in the school christmas plays to playing for singnig assemblies, Nana Pokes love for music grew and grew as the years went on, which made him want to learn and develop other instruments such as the keybard and bass.

Being in a musical and strong christian family, his involvement in the church has always been priority; and with the use of his ability to play various instruments became a key contribution to his development as a musician today.

As a musician, it is always key to hold various musical influences, and Nana Pokes is none the less inspired and driven by a variety of different artists and entrepreneurs such as Snarky Puppy, Fifteen hundred or nothing, Kirk Franklin, Ron Kanole who have shaped and are continuously shaping his musical perspective today.

He is the Co-CEO of a Entertainment company called Decadence Entertainment in which manages the Compozers which he began with his long time friend Brian Boateng because of their love for arts and performing arts this also contributed to the sole idea surrounding the development of a company such as Decadence. They developed this organisation during his time at university which was driven by his love for music and the entertainment industry.

Watch The Compozers Ghana 62nd Independence Concert Highlights

https://youtu.be/tWCk_1xf5GE

David Melodee - (KEYBOARD/KEYTAR)

David 'Melodee' Ohene-Akrasi was born in North London on the 19th October where he endured his love and his electrifying ear for the dynamic sounds of the keyboard and keytar which contribute to the collective authenticity of 'compozers'. Throughout his education, he always fond himself falling for music and the technical aspect which surrounds it, steaming from his love for gospel music through his involvement with his church. As his mother was in the church choir, he became exposed to the idea of music from a very young age, which led him to indulge in the drums.

Throughout his primary school years, where they would frequently hold music lessons, is where David realized his talent and gift in which he has for music. From this original love and appreciation for the art, he became more and more involved within the music scene, were from the ages of eleven and twelve he became giging at various events where he wold interact with various other musicians through the enrollment of the music school which he was put in by his parents.

As he grew older, and moved to secondary school, he developed the ear and eye for music through the use of Youtube, which taught him various skillful skills and runs, in which pushed him to go and join his mothers church band, where he resigns. When he hit the age of seventeen, he started gigging with the boys which lead to the formation of The Compozers.

With the assistance of his love for various artists such as Michael Jackson, and his ability to be so diverse within his music, with the ability to still appeal to a vast audience, his ability to captivate the audience with his talent inspires David to aim to achieve the same with the use of his instrument.

Watch The Compozers - Afrobeats Medley in the 1Xtra Live Lounge.

https://youtu.be/Qe8LtDpXwkU?list=RDQe8LtDpXwkU

​Stephen - (DRUMS)

Stephen 'Drummerboy' Asamoah-Duah was born on the 31st Decemeber to a Ghanaian family. He attended St Ignatius college where he obtained his GCSE's including a GCSE in music which was driven by he being awarded Young Drummer of the Year 2011.

Stephen developed his love and began to play the drums from the age of three, which grew and grew as the years progressed, which led to gain a GCSE in the craft. His love and ambition for business and entrepreneurship also pushed him to study Business in college to aid in his understanding and development of collaborating his passion and skill into a business.

Winning the young drummer of the year award really made a large impact on his life and drove him to truly pursue his love and passion for music. This allowed him to develop greater confidence in his ability to become one of the greatest musicians out there.

Through his active involvement with his local community, he became an ambassador to the Enfield Sounds Great charity which is run by Enfield council, which illustrates his love for not only music for himself, but his need to help the younger generation truly utilize their skills and persue their career like he did.

Through his years drummers from gig to gig, performing in various churches is where he also developed the relationship in which he holds today within the musician industry. Here is where he came in contact with Charlie Biggz, Nana Pokes and David Melodee, which developed the group in which we know today.

Watch Davido O2 Arena Intro Featuring The Compozers - Aye

https://youtu.be/-NqJHv7ewBo

Charlie Biggz - (KEYBOARD)

Charlie 'Biggz' Mensah-Bonsu was born on the 6th July in North London where he attended and achieved the majority of his educational achievements. He began playing the keyboard from the age of thirteen in 2005, which was brought onto him from his father who wanted him to stay out of trouble and be proactive in his life by learning an instrument. With this, Charles used the keyboard as a 'safe place' in which he can go to and allow his creative mind to go wild.

During his secondary school years, he would attend the music room during breaks and lunch times to go and record beats and tracks, which sparked his love for producing and production as a whole. As he went onto college, he began developing beats and track for various friends, which created a name for himself in the music industry.

Alongside producing tracks for various artists and friends, being a christian, he was also an active musician contributing to his church band which truly shaped him into the musician he is today, by developing his musical understand of the various dynamics of a band choir and the understanding of being under leadership and the various perks which are attached with it.

Charlie Biggz is seen to be one of exquist musicians out there as he has the ability to fuse the attributes of a singer and nicorporate harmonic characteristics to create voicings that replicate sound sand approach similar to one wo uses their voice. Carlie Biggz is what extraordinary looks like, which contributes to the key phenomena which makes up the Compozers today.

Watch Koffee ft The Compozers - Ye LIVE (Burna Boy cover)

https://youtu.be/sIqiZ4PnBLM

The Compozers will be performing at the Afronation Festival live in Ghana, December.

On social media, they're @compozers

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MEET JUNIOR PSL: Young Ghanaian Rapper Championing Road Safety With His Songs.

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Ghanaian hip hop artist Junor PSL has joined forces with the Road Safety and multimedia communications company PSLmuzik group to promote road safety during the upcoming festive season. The lad has released a single on traffic safety titled, "Road Safety", campaign intends to reduce fatalities in a country where thousands of people lose their lives on the roads every year.

This is in response to road traffic accidents around the country, 90 percent of which according to Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development are caused by human error. Released last month, the song will be used as a campaign tool against drunk driving, driving without a licence, failure to adhere to road rules and driving while fatigued among other mishaps that have caused loss of lives and injuries on the country’s roads.

Junior PSL is determined to use his voice and experiences in ensuring that the roads are safe for all that use them. According to him, in the song, he will hold road safety campaigns around the country. As a musician I feel it is my duty to educate and inform people on pressing issues affecting our society. PSLmuzik group signee implored drivers to be cautious on the roads during the festive season, and urged the government to fix bad roads in the country.

Watch Video below;

https://youtu.be/loyVvq2_a84

Kingsley Baffour Awuah aka Junior_PSL, a member of PSLmuzik group ( consisting of Scrip_T and Pappy_PSL) He officially started music around 2008 and released 1st official single (Foowaah) on 2016 after a couple of mixtapes. He studied Architecture at Central University in the 2018 and now working as a recording artiste and an Architect.

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