By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
It is intriguing to note how unsung Rocky Dawuni is in Ghana, his homeland but heavily acknowledged on the international music market. The achievements of Rocky even outside the Grammys are mind-blowing; yet, we fail woefully to tout them.
This man’s music has featured on sports games since 2007. He has appeared on EA/FIFA Sports Game for both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup respectively. His songs have featured predominantly in movies and television in US over the period with hit shows on major networks such as CBS, NBS, TNT, Showtime and others.
Another year and Rocky has got a nod from the Grammys and albeit the news not being as loud as expected if it were a Black Sherif or a Sarkodie, the reception given to the only nominee in Ghana could be better.
The National Academy of Recording Arts & Science or the Grammy is without any form of equivocation the most prestigious music awards scheme in the world, and almost every musician across the world aspires to either get a nomination or win it.
February 2023 would be the 65th edition and Ghana; a music-loving country is yet to win any. In fact, until 2015, we had nothing to gloat over when it came to the awards, except revel in other African acts pick nominations and wins over the years.
Rocky Dawuni’s record as a Ghanaian at the Grammys is not really amplified, not in a tiny bit. Not only is he the only Ghanaian to ever garner a nomination, he is etched in history as the only Ghanaian to grab multiple nominations – 2015, 2021 and 2022.
It would take some effort for another to equal and beat that record.
It seems like a very tall feat if one mulls over how any other artiste would equal Rocky’s three nominations. Wait for this!
Rocky has been nominated in 3 different categories since 2015; ‘Reggae Album’, ‘Best Global Album’ and ‘Best Global Performance’ respectively.
In 2015, his ‘Branches of the Same Tree’ was nominated for the ‘Best Reggae Album’, in 2021, his ‘Voice of Bunbon Vol. 1’ album has earned a nomination in the Best Global Music Album category and just days ago, singer’s ‘Neva Bow Down’ featuring Blvk H3ro has been nominated in the Best Global Music Performance category of the 65th Grammy Awards.
Aside being the only Ghanaian to ever grab a nomination in the 64-year history of the awards, he has bagged 3 nominations in 3 different categories – a feat that would really take some hard work, commitment, dedication and strategy to equal or best.
He sits on top with such an enviable record that would be in the history books for a very long time.
Let’s Learn From Him
Some have openly declared their intentions to get a nod at the Grammy while many others have that desire to chalk same feat. The fact is; it is the yearning of every musician to appear in the nomination and winners’ list of the Grammys.
Last year, after nabbing his second nomination, some young Ghanaian artistes were on television and his nomination was being discussed and these artistes claimed they have no inkling on who Rocky Dawuni is when they were asked about him. Yes, they had no idea an artiste called rocky Dawuni existed.
How will these young artistes ever get close to Grammy nominations when they do not even have any idea that a fellow Ghanaian has surmounted all the challenges that barred the Ghanaian from getting there in the last 50 years?
For somebody who has triumphed three times, it should be quite easy for these young ‘cats’ to stay humble enough to approach him and learn the ways, the mechanism and the route to the Grammys.
Rocky Must Show The Way Too
In as much as fellow artistes should be willing to learn from the 3-time Grammy nominee, Rocky should also be willing to show the way.
Since his first foray into the Grammys, he’s been accorded the opportunity to tell his countrymen what it took or takes to get to the ‘Mecca of music awards’ in the world. In all his explanations for the past years, he tries to offer the appropriate circumstances that could lead any Ghanaian artiste to be considered by the Academy.
Some feel he could do a little better!
In all his explanations, Rocky fails to mention the fact that, one of the biggest criterion to enter into any form of consideration by the Academy is to have your music marketed and distributed in the USA. He is signed to Cumbancha Records, a US-based record label.
In his engagement with the media over his stellar performance at the Grammy, he has deliberately not told his fellow musicians that they need to present quality songs, especially when the Grammy does not recognize sales, charts and popularity.
He has also not elucidated the essence of having some traditional effect and element in their songs especially when they vie for categories of ‘Best Global Album’ and ‘Best Global Music Performance’ respectively.
Rocky deserves all the plaudits but it is also crucial for Ghana to do more than play ‘one on top’ when we have abundant talent that could see the nation garner multiple nominations from multiple artistes.
Give Him the Center Stage
Rocky’s nominated song, ‘‘Neva Bow Down’ is hardly played in Ghana. In fact, his songs rarely get airplay in his homeland – a situation the artiste has bemoaned over the years.
The failure of the Ghanaian media to project the artiste and his music has had no baring on his ability to have any influence in the nomination list of the awards but it may be a reason for his inability to win any.
The choice of potential Grammy winners does not lie with the general public. It is the responsibility of members of the Academy, who do not pay attention to the popularity of the artistes and the songs, as well as their charting or sales records.
However, members of the Academy are also members of the public, who see and hear what pertains in the media. Unfortunately, Rocky gets low or no mention in the Ghanaian media.
We need to do better!
We need to celebrate Rocky Dawuni more, by giving him the well-needed attention; mentioning and discussing him more while playing his records in the media.