By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
Internationally recognized Ghanaian female act, no, Ghanaian female musician, Wiyaala made headlines over the weekend, as she vent her spleen on the music industry with special mention to myself and celebrated record producer, JMJ.
What was intriguing was the kind of applause and cheers she received from other entertainers/celebrities who scrimmaged under the post to show their approval of the outburst, when they had not even watched the video or listened to whatever comment that was passed to elicit such an attack from the artiste.
As loved and cherished as she is, she garnered support for her rant and just like her fellow entertainers, most commentators, without watching or listening to whatever instigated such emotions, jumped to casting invective on me and ultimately, the entire industry.
For most of these fans and observers, one can easily forgive them, most would continue to wallow in their ignorance and insanity regardless; there’s no hope for such. What is difficult to shrug off, are these so-called analysts who sat on radio and chided me when they had not watched to understand the commentary that got Wiyaala riled up. How do you to call yourself an analyst, pundit or critic when you don’t research to attain knowledge on the subject for discussion? That’s buffoonery!
The high points for Wiyaala in that outburst were; her ability to speak her mind, albeit under awkward circumstances plus the fact that, she had to act out of character to make the trends and generate a buzz – something she’s not received in Ghana for a longtime, and I mean, a longtime.
What Was Said
JMJ, in his assessment of what he believes is the low vibrancy of female artistry in Ghana after the prime period of Kaakie, MzVee and Ebony gave Wiyaala a mention, stating that she is doing well out there and could be an exception.
In my analysis of JMJ’s statement, I rebuffed his opinion stating that, the current generation of female acts are doing well to keep the scenery vibrant, with the likes of Wendy Shay, Adina, Sista Afia and a host of others putting in a lot of effort to keep the local scene active, however, with Wiyaala, she is not ‘out there’ in Ghana – meaning her buzz or the attention given to her in Ghana is low, as compared to her prominence on the international music market, where she is noted for her quality songs and has a bigger appeal.
I went on to state, that Wiyaala and her handlers are concentrating on the international music market where she gets to play on a lot of music festivals.
What She Said
In her video, Wiyaala claimed that, we said, she doesn’t count in the Ghanaian music industry. She also stated that, it is the wish of the media to see her being controversial, get into fights, show skin, insult others in order to get the mention.
She accepted the fact that she is concentrating on the international front and assigned reasons such as royalties for that decision. She then stated that, she won’t act a fool to win ‘Artiste of the Year’. She also went to say that she is not the ‘Artiste of the Year’ type of musician but ‘Artiste for life’. She then hollered that, she is not like others who would do foolish songs in order to win awards.
Then she talked about how we should encourage artistes and not put some down while we elevate others.
Finally, she snarled that we stop talking about her if we felt she doesn’t count in the music industry.
The glaring low points in her video are the anomalies she spewed and what actually has pertained or pertains in the industry.
By stating, “Why won’t we concentrate outside?” – Wiyaala confirms my indisputable statement that her buzz in Ghana is low, so, essentially, she and I had the same stance.
Her talk of not wanting to be controversial, getting entangled in fights or showing skin to gain attention is acceptable, but it is not abominable in show business. If any artiste wants to engage in any activity that is not against the law and doesn’t affect the sensibilities of consumers, that action(s) is allowed.
Indeed, she has shown skin in some of her videos and exhibits a lot of skin during her riveting stage performances.
There are several music awards in the country and none of them has a set criteria that rewards songs for their foolishness. That statement is an affront to music award winners and the award schemes in the country.
She insinuated that she won’t fool in a bid to win ‘Artiste of the Year’. That statement is also an indictment on all the hardworking artistes that have won that prize over the years and an insult to all the industry folks and fans that selected these artistes to win.
Finally, she talked about how we should not put others down while we lift some, yet, she was in that video, talking down on some of his peers, telling them they do foolish songs to win awards. Interestingly, she won a plethora of awards both locally and internationally including the ‘Songwriter of the Year’ prize at the popular Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) in 2015. Did she win by acting a fool or producing foolish songs?
Support for Wiyaala
Wiyaala is super talented, original and has a splendid stagecraft – attributes that caused me to pen the article, ‘No Challenger: Wiyaala is the best live performer in Ghana’ – after watching her ‘Lioness Concert’ in Ghana in December 2018.
I have had such affinity for Wiyaala for years, supporting her in all regards, and many observers can actually attest to this fact. I have never hesitated in doing stories of her concerts both locally and abroad as well as every feat she chalks on the international front.
Generally, there’s so much affection for Wiyaala as music lovers and stakeholders do appreciate her works and her efforts to project her brand and Ghanaian music to the world.
However, the fact must also be made that, her buzz, relevance or vibrancy in the local terrain is low. She hardly makes the news or the trends, her music is rarely on rotation on radio and her videos are hardly played on television.
In fact, in my article about her 2018 concert, I did state that she doesn’t get any critical mention in Ghana, and the artiste and her Manager actually endorsed that article, sending me a congratulatory message on the said article.
She is actually doing stuff in Ghana, playing gigs and fixing projects in the Northern part of Ghana and signed to endorsement deals, yet, the media fixation on her activities is low.
The concentration and projection of her works and her brand can improve as the media must place emphasis on her works here in Ghana to elevate her level of relevance and prominence.
It’s Your Business, Fix It
The media has a responsibility to put the spotlight on every player, especially for those who are doing well with the craft, however, candidly, nobody owes anybody anything. That media outlet is projecting stories that would appeal to its readers and potential sponsors.
As a musician, your business is music, so, it is a no-brainer that you invest time, resources and energy into that business to make it successful and viable. That investment means getting the right structures in place to see to the business including contracting a publicist, engaging event promoters for gigs in Ghana and connecting with media owners, radio presenters and DJs to get the music/videos on their respective playlist.
That media house or media personnel you are criticizing and depending on to see to the elevation of your career is looking out for him/herself, so, it is only sensible and imperative that as a musician or a handler of a musician, you look out for yourself too.