By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
When I saw pictures of Wendy Shay cutting a cake to commemorate 2 years in the music industry, I laughed. My laughter stemmed from the thought of how others have labored and excelled in this same industry for decade(s) and have not attempted to make any noise about it, but, in all honesty, it’s her anniversary, her money and her cake – she can celebrate 1 week in the industry and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Personally, I didn’t like Wendy Shay in the early stages of her musical career and it was all because, as a core Ebony fan, I was devastated by her death, agitated over the inability or refusal of her label to put out her unreleased works and was confounded by what seemed like her replacement.
However, as time went by, I fell in love with Wendy Shay, as she ‘fought’ her way through all forms of adversity to become one of the most relevant acts in the last 2 years.
Not in Ebony’s Shadow
For many, the sight and sound of Wendy Shay was irritating, especially during her first 6months- 1 year of being here. We just couldn’t shrug off the pain of losing a talented and ebullient artiste like Ebony and we channeled all our anguish and angst on an innocent artiste. For us, every song Wendy produced during that period was meant for Ebony and we even pictured Ebony in Wendy’s music videos.
But credit to Wendy and her handlers, she’s been able to beat the odds and carved her own niche. She is her own woman, her own artiste, her own brand.
As sad and unfortunate as it seems, Ebony has been forgotten, but that’s all attributable to Wendy’s determination to win and not let the ghost of Ebony derail her chances of making a mark in this music industry.
Her dedication, perseverance and focus have been telling in the last 2 years and if she maintains these same attributes, she is most likely to hit another 8 years, still on top.
There’s no question on where Wendy Shay sits in terms of positioning in the industry. She is among the top 10 most relevant artistes in Ghanaian music now and Top 2 most relevant female acts in the country. Interestingly, she’s been on such a pedestal for the past 2 years.
Since her maiden single and accompanying music video in June 2018, she has hardy dipped. Instead, she’s been rising steadily and maintained her grip on top of that ladder of most relevant acts in the business.
She ticks all the boxes on what relevance in music represents; high profile shows, hit songs, quality music videos, appreciable following and influence.
In the spate of 2 years, she signed unto endorsement deals and won a plethora of awards – VGMA, 3Music Awards, and Ghana Music Awards UK etc.
Understanding the business
Any person who ventures into the music business without having basic and deep-seated comprehension about the business would suffer and there are many artistes within that bracket. Wendy is not!
Thanks to her handlers, she clearly understands the intricacies of show business. She understands that, it is not rosy and there are trolls, detractors and genuine haters and she has to maintain a thick skin to ensure any form of longevity in this venture.
She also understands controversy too, the fact that such rhubarb helps the craft and she plays it well. She understands hype and plays to the gallery, and thus far, it has worked for here.
In this age of digital dominance, one needs to appreciate the wave so not to lag behind. Wendy is not being left behind as she maintains a level of control in that digital space.
Although quirky, her ‘Ghana Wake up’ tag on twitter is funny yet trendy and keeps her grounded in the minds of Ghanaians.
She says she is the queen of Ghanaian music. Why blame her? Self-aggrandizement is allowed and anybody can brand themselves with whatever title. Even Michael Jackson started branding himself as ‘King of Pop’ and insisted on journalist inserting it in their write-ups anytime they wrote about him. Later, the tag became universally accepted when he backed it up with good music.
Candidly, Wendy Shay still has a lot of growing to do, both sonically and business-wise but she needs credit for how far she’s come in the last two years. She has improved tremendously with her approach to everything the business requires.
Her vocal dexterity is getting better, albeit still needing vast improvement, her interviewing skills is of better quality and she exudes such intelligence.
After the President Kufuor meeting that got her lots of backlash due to her choice of apparel for the occasion, she has improved on her sense of fashion – what to wear and to what event.
In a system where many celebrities have succumbed to the harsh environment of trolls on the internet, Wendy has, in the last year or so, perfected or has a near-perfection on how to manage the trolling on her social media pages.
Growth is a process and the ‘Queen of Gh. Music’ is definitely on the right path.
Super Stardom Awaits
Women in the craft needs support, considering how they are marginalized and always in the minority, a phenomenon that prevails in show business worldwide. Wendy needs support.
The constructive criticisms are okay but what she and other female acts need critically, is the support from the media, music lovers and stakeholders in the industry.
If she can gloat of all these achievements of hit songs, high profile shows, endorsement deals and critical acclaim, all in the short spate of 2 years, then greatness awaits her.
She stands a chance of solidifying her positioning in the space, maintaining her dominance and most importantly, attaining prominence on the international music market.
Congratulations to her and her label for such an eventful 2 –year journey!