There’s no argument on what the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) represents; that reality on how impactful and influential the award scheme has been and is, in the shaping of our music industry – has been played out.
In essence, the VGMA awards excellence – a tribute to artistes that worked hard during the eligibility year; putting in such effort to release songs, promote them to make hits and dominate the headlines for the right reasons.
Making a hit song is not easy and staying consistent for years in such a fickle industry could be such a herculean task, however, some artistes have surmounted and still prevail over all these industry-related challenges to ensure that, their respective brands stay on top.
If the VGMA mirrors the level of hard work, commitment and dedication to the craft, then in deed, some artistes need some special recognition for their ability to always be in the fray. For consecutive years, these artistes from different genres of Ghanaian music, have stayed super relevant, ensuring that they attain critical mention when matters of VGMA come up.
Sarkodie, Stonebwoy and Joe Mettle get our attention this week for some stellar work they have put in consistently over the years. Let me explain;
‘Artiste of the Year’ Accolade
For the past decade or more, the most coveted category at the VGMA has been the ‘Artiste of the Year’; which has become the ultimate prize among all honours for the year. Winning it essentially makes you the undisputable ruler of the music industry for that particular year. Aside the bragging rights, such a win also comes with prestige, leverage and many business opportunities.
The definition states; “Artist of the Year is the topmost award at the Ghana Music Awards, given to the artist(s) adjudged by the Academy, Board and the general public as having the highest audience appeal and popularity. The artist(s) must have released a hit single/album during the year under review.”
A better grasp on the dynamics of awards show that, a nomination is as good as a win and once you are nominated, you are as good as the eventual winner.
It is no child’s play to have Sarkodie, Stonebwoy and Joe Mettle to constantly feature in this category in the past year.
Sarkodie is the most decorated artiste ever in the history of Ghana music, yes, I said ever! What’s more; he is also the biggest winner of the VGMA since its inception, an achievement that should see him win the VGMA 20th Edition’s ‘Artiste of the Decade’ with ease (I will delve extensively into this next week).
The compliments above are not my concern today; not to tout the honours he has attained over the period but just to highlight how consistent he’s featured in the ‘Artiste of the Year’ (AOTY) category alone.
Sarkodie first got into the VGMA as a new act in 2010 and featured in the AOTY too, winning both categories, plus others. He will get into the mix again and win in 2012, equaling VIP’s record as the only 2 artistes to win AOTY twice. Again, that is not my interest today.
My fixation is on Sarkodie’s knack to feature in the AOTY category for 6 straight years – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019; incredible! It is unprecedented to have any artiste in the history of the awards garner consecutive nominations in the AOTY category for those number of years.
How is not a ruler of the VGMA? He has not only dominated his specialized genre of hip hop/hiplife, the gentleman has also controlled the entire industry for the past 10 years, getting 8 out of 10 VGMA AOTY nominations. Wow!
Stonebwoy’s feat in the VGMA is almost as incredible as Sarkodie’s but with a different kind of finesse. The Reggae/Dancehall artiste entered into the VGMA AOTY chatter for the first time in 2015, a year in which we won.
Since 2015, he has remained relevant and consistent in matters relating to the most-sought-after AOTY category, getting consecutive nominations for 5 years – 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019! Yet another incredible achievement.
Stonebwoy also sets his own record as the only Reggae/Dancehall act to have consecutive nominations for the AOTY, cementing his status as one of the rulers of the VGMA – and unlike Sarkodie, who missed out on 2 AOTYs before his consecutive run, Stonebwoy is yet to miss out on any year.
Aside being one of the strongest brands in Reggae/Dancehall where he’s won the most awards in those categories of the VGMA, he also has become such a pivotal brand in the entire music industry; remaining consistent for the last 5 years.
For years, Gospel music, albeit touted as the most-patronized genre of Ghanaian music, has not had such influence at the VGMA – with regards to conversations that hover on the AOTY.
Gospel musicians like Daughters of Glorious Jesus and No Tribe remain some of the biggest winners of that genre when it comes to the VGMA, with the likes of Kwaku Gyasi and No Tribe coming close to winning the AOTY in 2006 and 2011 respectively.
It had to take the young, vibrant, affable Joe Mettle to break that jinx – becoming the first gospel act to ever win the AOTY laurel. Once again, that is not even my interest.
My interest is on how Joe Mettle has gradually become a mainstay in the VGMA and the AOTY for that matter. The gentleman, since garnering a nomination in that category for the first time in 2017, has not relented – gaining 2 more nominations to make it 3 consecutive nods; 2017, 2018 and 2019.
3 consecutive AOTY nominations make him the only gospel artiste to ever chalk that feat – never done before for the past 19 editions; a testament of how dominant he has become, not only in the gospel fraternity but the entire music industry.
Thumbs Up To These Guys
These guys; Sarkodie, Stonebwoy and Joe Mettle deserve such plaudits for what they have achieved respectively with regards to the VGMA. To become a household name in the industry, to sustain and maintain such dominance and consistency is a torrid task and for their ability to maneuver their way to the top and still maintain such a grip; they deserve all the compliments.
With the same or a higher level of hard work, dedication and commitment to the work, it is almost a surety that these guys have more records to break and more honours to win with regards to the AOTY of the VGMA!
By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo