By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
It is interesting to note how Rocky Dawuni is all over the place now, in our faces; granting interviews all over Ghana; from Accra to Takoradi to Tamale. This is something the multiple Grammy-nominated artiste has not been able to do for almost his entire span as a musician in Ghana.
Understandably, Rocky’s recent predominant feature in the media can be attributed to his second Grammy nod and that’s a good thing, albeit he not doing same when he got his first nomination in 2015. Clearly, he and his team have learnt a few things.
While noticing that the artiste has been taking advantage of the Grammy situation to project his brand, it is also crucial to point it out to him and his team, that, over the years he has been lackadaisical and tepid with his publicity mechanism in Ghana.
He should not wait for a Grammy nod to level up on his promotional and PR strategies in his homeland. He must step up!
Rocky’s international appeal has never been in doubt and his multiple nominations at the most prestigious music awards in the world cement that hold on the international music market.
Although the Grammy elevated his stock to different heights, Rocky was already making big strides internationally – making big statements in varied industries including sports and movies.
In 2010, Electronic Arts (EA SPORTS) revealed the 28 artistes across 20 countries that ushered in the EA SPORTS(TM) 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa(TM) with an international soundtrack that celebrated the cultural vibrancy of the first FIFA World Cup(TM) held in Africa. Rocky was one of such artistes.
There are just a handful of songs produced by African artistes that have been used as soundtracks to Hollywood blockbuster movies and Rocky is on that honourable list. His 2016 Grammy-nominated single “Shine A Light” was featured in Richie Keen’s ‘Fist Fight’, starring Ice Cube.
Just few days ago, his song was also used by French soccer side, PSG as part of the celebration of Lionel Messi’s 7th Balon D’or prize.
Wobbly Popularity In Ghana
Rocky is not popular in Ghana and that’s a fact! Until some appreciable noise was made over his Grammy nomination this month, many people had not heard of his name before. It therefore came as no surprise when the likes of Sista Afia, S3fa, Fameye and Krymi sat with UTV with Nana Ama McBrown and displayed their genuine ignorance on who Rocky Dawuni is.
The millennial in this current dispensation of Ghana music industry are only privy to Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, Medikal, KiDi, Kuami Eugene and others. Rocky lags behind in that popularity contest among Ghanaian artistes in Ghana at the moment.
He has a following in Ghana but not comparable to what artistes like Stonebwoy commandeers in Ghana, reason, the latter got the biggest shout moments after Grammy released nominations for the 64th edition, even when Stonebwoy is not a nominee.
When Rocky lost out in the 2015 Reggae Album of the Year at the Grammy, he attributed his failure to annex the award to the lack of noise from Ghanaians on his historic nomination.
He’s right; the noise level on his nomination was at a disappointing low but the people could not be blamed. They didn’t know the persona and had little or no inkling about his music. To make the matter worse, radio hardly played his songs, the television stations rarely showed his videos and the print media barely wrote about him and his projects.
Rocky has been based in America for quite a longtime but that is no excuse for his lukewarm reception in Ghana.
Diana Hamilton is based in the UK, she has been there for years, yet, she is one of, if not the most popular gospel artiste in Ghana. Her songs are on heavy rotation both on radio and on TV and she gets to perform almost every week in Ghana. To cap it off, she won the VGMA ‘Artiste of the Year’ just last year. She is not a magician, she simply put in the work.
To put it bluntly, Rocky and his team have just been sluggish in elevating his publicity in Ghana and the repercussions are glaring.
Can You Feel The Change?
Before the announcement of his Grammy nomination, he was lethargic with his PR in Ghana. Radio hardly played his songs, TV didn’t play his videos and he was hardly mentioned on the blogs and portals – but right after the nomination, he is virtually everywhere.
He has strategically fed off these content-hungry media houses looking for news by obliging them with interviews, compelling them to talk about him while showing his videos and playing his songs.
In a bid not to let the momentum fade, he is organizing a concert to commemorate his Grammy nod. That’s the difference, a clear and drastic change from what he refused to do in 2016 and then after.
Some of his interviews have not been well-received but this a competitive industry, you can’t win by always acting like the Pope. Get controversial, get into that conversation by all means necessary and make the headlines.
Thus far, it’s all been about Rocky to the point where his liking for Agriculture becomes topical. A month ago, nobody even cared about the artiste to the extent of paying to attention to whether he prefers Agriculture to hiking. That’s a refreshing change.
PR Must Improve
In a recent interview with YFM, Takoradi, Rocky stated that, what Ghanaians can do to aid him pick up the Grammy award in January 2022 is to play his songs constantly. That was an honest assertion but he and his team must do their part.
They must improve on the PR.
If he now reckons that the Ghanaian market can play a role in his gains on the international market, then he must put in the work. He must invest in the publicity in Ghana. Make time on his calendar to engage the media frequently, ensure his songs are on rotation and get his news on the blogs.
Yes, getting that international recognition is grand but it is wholesome and fulfilling when the home support is overwhelming.