Opinion

INTRIGUE! The Enigma of Kwabena Kwabena

By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

FOR someone who has been somehow hesitant about media engagement for quite a while, it is interesting and refreshing to see popular crooner, Kwabena Kwabena having such detailed conversations with the media now.

In the space of three days or so, the artiste has had interviews with Kofi TV,  ZionFelix TV, SammyKay Media, Hitz FM, Joy Prime among others – and intriguingly, all the conversations have been deep and no holds barred and that is definitely not an attribute of Kwabena Kwabena.

Understandably, there’s a new album coming but the fact is, he’s released five previous albums and the media engagement was not this profound. Something has changed; it could be a re-orientation of how the artiste sees the media or his new management is alerting him on another perspective of media relations.

Legendary status

If the industry had anything like a ‘Hall of Fame’ setup, Kwabena Kwabena would be a potential inductee. There’s absolutely no equivocation about his prowess as a consummate musician and songwriter. After five albums, a plethora of hit songs, multiple awards and ‘hit’ shows, there’s also no argument about his impact in the industry.

Arguably, he features in the Top 20 most talented Highlife musicians of all time, in the Top 10 most prolific songwriters of all time and Top 20 most alluring voices of all time.

But wait, there’s more! Kwabena Kwabena, in the last decade or more, has had one of the most commanding stagecraft in the industry. From when he struts onto the stage till he exits, no patron to any of his shows ever loses concentration or fixation on him and his stagecraft.

Media apathy

For quite a long time, the relationship between the artiste and the media has been frosty, predominantly from his side. It was not always like this, there have been good times.

Kwabena Kwabena has had some unsavoury words for the media in the last couple of years and he is still throwing salvos on his most recent media tour.

When he emerged in 2005 with his breakthrough song, Aso, it was all rosy for him and the media; a relationship that saw the projection of his brand and his music. There were no qualms until 2009 when issues with his first marriage came up.

At the time, tabloid newspapers were trendy, blogs were emerging and entertainment talk shows were gaining grounds, so marital issues of a popular, well-loved music star was not something the media was going to ignore.

Till now, the artiste seems not to understand how he quickly metamorphosed from being the darling of the media to being the ‘butt of jokes.’

Dwindling appeal

Kwabena Kwabena had it all: artistry, looks, swagger, physique and that genial smile.

Candidly, he’s not lost the skills but so much of the appeal has dwindled and much of it can be attributed to the many negative stories about his personal life, which had a telling effect on his personality as a musician.

For an artiste who penned and belted such captivating love songs and seemed to live that life of a romantic, loving gentleman who had so much respect for women, stories of two failed marriages and circumstances that surrounded the collapse, came as a disappointment to many of his fans, mostly women.

That fizzling appeal was manifested in the lack of acceptance and patronage of his last album, Ahyesi in 2017, albeit being such a well-produced album.

Strained media relations, speculations of drug use and stories of relationships and dalliances with women further damaged the appeal.

Hiatus

The last album from Kwabena Kwabena was in 2017 and a many music follower and critic believe that is too long. Ideally, it shouldn’t be seen as a long break considering the fact that, it is the average period between albums from the artiste. Aso in 2005, Bibini in 2007, Debi in 2011, Daakye in 2013, and Ahyesi in 2017.

Probably, unbeknownst to the artiste and the respective teams that handled him, the dynamics of the industry change all the time so, having a four-year break in between album releases may be your ruination, especially when a certain Bisa KDei became the face of highlife in the first four-year break and the likes of KiDi, Kuami Eugene, King Promise and many of these young ‘cats’ also filled the void in the most recent four –year break.

The fact is, this generation of music consumers do not have time. They won’t wait on you for even one year of no activity. You go off and they move on to the next ‘hot’ star. You lose the element of consistency, you lose out!

Rejection

In one of his recent interviews, Kwabena Kwabena disclosed that, in recording his yet-to-be-released album, he sought collaborations with five other artistes but only one obliged to be part of the album, Efya.  After six months of back and forth with these artistes and their managers which yielded no results, he had to close the album.

This narration is disappointing and funny at the same time!

It is funny because, there’s absolutely no way any artiste in his/her right faculties in Ghana would miss a call from Kwabena Kwabena to feature on his album if this was in 2013 – no ‘freaking’ way!

It is disappointing because how does any artiste reject to feature on a project and support a consummate artiste like Kwabena Kwabena?  How?

But of course, there could be a 1,000 reasons these artistes rejected the offer. But the point is if this was Kwabena Kwabena of 2013, the same Bue Kwan and Adult Music hitmaker, if this was the Kwabena Kwabena with all the relevance, clout and influence – there’s no way any other artiste would miss his call.

To them, Kwabena’s relevance and influence has dwindled to a point where they feel they don’t need him. That’s a sad reality!

Support

Make no mistake; artistically, Kwabena Kwabena is still Kwabena Kwabena. The voice is still strong and his pen game is still on a high level.  All he needs is the support.

His 6th studio album, Fa Me Saa is scheduled for release on October 17, 2021, with the first single off the album prepped for release on Friday, May 28.

He needs full support to elevate the album, project the songs and reinstate the brand to such relevance and dominance.

Kwabena Kwabena is overly talented, more skilled than many of the acts attaining all the attention now and it’s only prudent that the media offers unwavering support for this new project.

The blogs and websites should write about it, radio and TV stations must play the songs, and most importantly, the masses must patronize the album.

 

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