By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
UK-based Ghanaian artiste, Fuse ODG made some startling proclamation last week, claiming that Ghana is above the Grammys.
In an interview with Hitz FM’s Andy Dosty, he stated, “And for the Afrobeats scene, next to Nigeria, Ghana has contributed more than any other country in the world. We have broken records that nobody has ever gotten to. So Ghana to me is way above the Grammys.”
How Fuse came up with that assertion beats imagination, especially for minds that truly understand the dynamics of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, also known as the Grammy.
His contention is based on the premise of critics judging Ghanaian artistes by their inability to win a Grammy. According to him, Ghanaian musicians’ talent and hard work are way above the Grammys.
State of Confusion
In 2018, Fuse was credited as co-writer for Ed-Sheeran’s Grammy-winning album, Divide, which won for ‘Best Pop Vocal Album’ at the Awards. He was overly elated and took to twitter to express his joy over that critical mention and recognition.
In 2019, Fuse lashed out at journalists, Ameyaw Debrah and MzGee over what he claimed was their intention to downplay Shatta Wale’s mention as a Grammy nominee by virtue of his involvement in Beyoncé’s ‘Lion King: The Gift’ project.
Fuse has on different occasions, expressed such emotions when it came to the Grammys, yet, here he is, painting a picture of the Grammys not being that important to the Ghanaian artiste.
If the Grammys offered little or nothing, then he should not have basked in the glory of being mentioned by the Academy and he surely should not have bothered scowling at the two journalists for their views on Shatta Wale’s nod.
Trolling Is Normal
In the interview, Fuse ODG raised the issue of the trolling of Ghanaian musicians when it comes to the Grammys.
The fact is this; in the era of social media, trolling has become a permanent feature – a phenomenon that is not only restricted to Ghana. It is everywhere!
Artistes are heavily trolled for varied reasons in USA, UK, Nigeria and many others – and especially when it comes to the Grammys, Nigeria is worse than Ghana, yet, the likes of Fuse make it seem as though it is a ‘Ghana problem’.
In Nigeria, the likes of Davido are trolled excessively when it comes to the Grammy conversation considering the fact that, his contemporaries like Wizkid and Burna Boy are gaining massive recognition in that regard.
So, Fuse and co. should give Ghanaians a break when it comes to matters of trolling.
“I feel like we need to be careful about equating the Grammy to talent. Ghana has some of the best talents the world has ever seen,” he said.
There’s absolutely no doubt about the fact that Ghana is abound with lots of talents, discovered and yet-to-be-discovered. It is a no brainer!
“The Grammys doesn’t equal the talent of the artiste, Bob Marley has never won a Grammy in his life, but to me and everyone as well, he’s one of the best musicians in the world,” he added.
The Grammys recognize talent and the quality such talents deliver. It has nothing to do with ratings, charts, sales and business; it is all about the talent.
It makes sense for an artiste not to be dependent on awards for survival and sustenance but it also doesn’t make sense for anybody to discount a prestigious awards scheme like the Grammys and all the good tiding it brings.
Tell Them the Truth
Fuse ODG is a beneficiary of the Grammys. He is credited as part of the winning team for Ed-Sheeran album at the 2018 Grammys. He is privy to what that recognition did to his brand and career. He should tell everybody the truth!
Worldwide online music platform, Spotify released the top 10 artists in Africa with the most streams, as reported by Charts Africa.
Making the list with significant numbers, Fuse ODG became the only Ghanaian artist on the list in Africa with over 1 billion streams. He had 1.32 billion streams placing third in Africa and the only Ghanaian artiste to make it to the world list.
He came behind Nigeria’s Wizkid and Burna Boy who ranked first and second respectively, who are also beneficiaries of the Grammys.
The truth must be told that a nomination and a possible win at the Grammys open doors, offer opportunities, provide mileage and leverage and essentially elevates the brand.
Aspire For the Grammys
In an article for Forbes in 2012, “The Grammy Bounce: How Much Is an Award Really Worth?” Senior Editor, Zack O’Malley Greenburg provided an overview on some of the benefits of winning a Grammy.
According to him, a sampling of performers and producers shows a “Grammy Bounce” of at least 55% in concert ticket sales and producer fees during the year following a Grammy win.
The financial benefits of the award can be tremendous for big touring acts as well, according to concert data provider Pollstar. In the year after grabbing Grammy No. 1, crooner Bruno Mars’ average nightly gross swelled from $130,000 to $202,000 (+55%); multi-instrumentalist Esperanza Spalding swung from $20,000 to $32,000 (+60%); and pop-country superstar Taylor Swift surged from $125,000 to $600,000 (+380%).
The afterglow can last even longer: though Swift got a 380% bump following her first Grammy win in 2010, her nightly gross earnings jumped again in 2011–to $1.1 million.
Rapper/producer David Banner, who won in 2009 for his work on Lil Wayne’s ‘Tha Carter III’ says his typical producer fee soared from $50,000 before winning the award to $100,000 or more afterwards; fellow producer Jim Jonsin’s jumped 90% in the wake of his win for producing Lil Wayne’s smash single “Lollipop.”