VGMA 2019: The Curious Case of Praye

New VGMA Statuette

I must admit that, this was not the original piece I wanted to pen, but the rants of Choirmaster, a member of the music group, Praye, on social media over the failure of the group to get a nod at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) nominations piqued my interest.

Agitations of artists over their inability or failure to garner nominations and annex awards are nothing new and are prevalent across the world with every recognized music awards scheme. They add up to the chatter and frenzy that come with such awards.

Before I dig into the raving of Choirmaster, I must commend Charterhouse, organizers of the VGMA in the celebration of 20 editions of the awards and extend salutations to personalities who supported this initiative and have contributed to its growth.

There’s no shred of doubt that the VGMA is unequivocally the biggest and the most highly anticipated event on our entertainment calendar and one of the captivating events in the country, across all disciplines.

On Choirmaster, Praye and the supposed failings of the VGMA Board, I have the conviction that the group deserved nomination in at least, ‘The Group of the Year’ category, however, I scoff at how Choirmaster is going about the rejection of his group.

Slow Your Roll, Choirmaster!

Praye Honeho, also with the moniker, Choirmaster is too experienced and grown to be engaged in all that rhubarb on social media over his disagreement with the nominations. Among other foul words thrown at the organizers and the Board, he has also called the Awards fake and has even initiated the hashtag, #FakeVGMA.

Unfortunately for Choirmaster, his campaign to court negative attention and call out the initiators of the most popular music awards scheme is not attaining that traction and it is understandable – he is going about it the wrong way, doing the most and it is quite irksome.

It is laughable how these artists glorify the awards when it goes their way but are quick to condemn it when they feel aggrieved – and if one considers the fact that, Praye has won VGMA before and received lots of nominations in the course of their career; it makes such demeanor by Choirmaster extremely exasperating.

Failings of the VGMA Board

The VGMA Board, the body responsible for categorizing and nominating songs for awards, is an assemblage of highly experienced industry practitioners that have enough expertise and the technical know-how to execute its mandate, however, it is also a human institution and fallible in that regard.

They did a good job with the nominations except a few misgivings I have with some categories including the exclusion of Praye from the ‘Group of the Year’ category, Kuami Eugene not in ‘Male Vocalist of the Year’, the ‘Artiste of the Year’ category without Kwesi Arthur and Medikal, the no- show for Pono Biom, Eno Barony and Strongman in the ‘Rapper of the Year’ category and the exclusion of Nana Yaa from the ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’ category among others.

Praye Deserved A Nod

The category definition for ‘The Group of the Year’ is; the Artiste(s) adjudged by the Academy, Board and the General Public as the group with the highest audience appeal and popularity. They must comprise of at least 2 or more members and must have released a hit single/album during the year under review.

In 2018, the group attained a high level of audience appeal and popularity, thanks to the attention their reunion received across the country. The group backed it up with major performances on high profile shows including the 2018 VGMA, as well as the S– Concert, AFRIMA, Decemba 2 Remember, Ghana’s Most Beautiful Finale among other notable events.

The group, in the year under review, released several songs with ‘Gban Gbai’ becoming that single with garnered enough appreciation by the general public to get the group in that category.

I strongly believe that the group did very well to grab the attention of the Board, ticking every criterion in the requirement checklist for the category and by failing to nominate them for the category, the VGMA Board, on this score, had it wrong!

Inconsistencies With VGMA Nominations

Over the years, there’s been so much inconsistencies with nominations for the Awards and one wonders if history guides the Board sometimes on how they engineer the names and songs on the nomination list.

Clearly, Praye may have missed out most probably due to the Board’s stance of the group not having a hit song but strangely, this same Board nominated the likes of AK Songstress and Epixode to the ‘Reggae/Dancehall Artist of the Year’ category.

The category definition for ‘Reggae/Dancehall Artiste(s) of the Year’ is; the Artiste(s) adjudged by the Academy, Board and the General Public as the Artiste(s) with the highest audience appeal and popularity in the Reggae/Dancehall genre. The Artiste(s) must have released a hit single/album in the year under review.

So, what hit songs were released by Epixode and AK Songstress respectively in the year to merit them spots in that category?

Awards Are Morale Booster

Awards are important as they are not only a testament of excellence or hard work but recognition in the form of a nomination for many artists who may not win, but may derive lots of encouragement to surge on to do more.

Aside everything else, the Awards are also meant to strengthen, solidify and elevate the industry and one of the things that needs strengthening is the maintenance of music groups. At a point, they were very limited groups to even nominate for the category as in the case of 2018, where only 3 music groups made the list, VVIP, Wutah and R2Bees.

Yes, these guys are not mainly doing music for awards but you must also not be thinking right if you disregard the impact awards like the VGMA have on these guys!

By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo


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