For the first time in the history of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA), the ceremony-organized by Charter House and sponsored by Vodafone- came with a lot of twists, shattering expectations of many who have observed over the years, how the awards have followed a particularly predictable pattern.
This year, the top award of the night was conferred, deservedly on Ebony. She became the first female artist to win this award in the 19 year history of the music award.
Ebony died tragically along with two other friends- Frankie Kuri and Von Dee- on February 8, through a motor accident while returning from Sunyani after visiting her mother.
In addition to winning the top prize of the night, she also took home the ‘Afropop Song of The Year’ and ‘Album of The Year’ awards respectively. Her manager, Bullet was adjudged the best ‘Songwriter of the Year’ for his work on “Maame Hw3”, a song that highlight the evils of domestic violence. (Her album, ‘Bonyfied’ contained 15 tracks 13 of which was written by Bullet with 8 songs ending up as certified commercial hits).
But, her win wasn’t the only ‘twist’ in this year’s event. Another twist on the night came during the announcement of the winner for the ‘Best African Artist’. Over the years, since the introduction of this category, the award has ended up with the artist present on the night.
This year, two of the nominees-Nasty C (from South Africa) and Nigeria’s multiple award winner Tiwa Savage, were present and both performed on the night.Despite being in Ghana for the event, none of them went backstage with the trophy. Rather, it was the Nigerian pop star Davido who picked the award.
Another interesting twist came by way of Fancy Gadam winning both ‘Hiplife Song of the Year’ and ‘Popular Song of the Year’ awards off the back of ‘Total Cheat’. Even though Fancy Gadam put in the desired work last year, many thought KiDi or Kuami Eugene would end up with the award considering how huge their hit songs ‘Odo’ and ‘Angela’ were.
However, his win is comprehensible considering these categories are voted for by the public. If you have an artist who fills the Tamale Sports Stadium that holds 25,000 fans, you can’t be mad at his win.
Tema based rapper, Kwesi Arthur and TeePhlow went home with an award each on the night in the categories of ‘Best Hiphop Song’ and ‘Record of The Year’.
The night wasn’t only one of twists. There were interesting moments as well, both positive and negative. Here are a few
I have never seen an artist celebrated in this manner on a VGMA stage like what transpired on the night. The organizers rightly selected the best female acts around to serve a benefitting tribute to this young talent whose life was cut short by her tragic passing. MzVee, Efya, Adina and veteran, Akosua Agyapong took to the stage, offering a very memorable performance in honour of the late talent.
This year’s event hadn’t solicited the kind of backlash that comes along with each edition; from fans being mad their favorite artists didn’t win to rants by artists who feel cheated. It appears, the outcome of this year’s winners were to be expected. Months before the nomination list were even announced, the consensus was that Ebony deserved to pick the biggest award of the night, not out of reverence for the dead but because she worked hard during the year under review.
Samini, Sarkodie and Stonebwoy made a claim once more why they are some of the best performers in the country. Backed by a choir, Sarkodie performed for two song performances, he turned it up, performing songs from his old catalogue, relatively old and new ones off his ‘The Highest’ album.
Samini, backed by a live band was flawless with his performance. With a set including some of his very popular tunes, he proved himself a master of live performances. He improvised, bust freestyles and introduced a young act, Deon Boakye as one to keep an eye on.
Except for his outfit on stage, Stonebwoy also offered an exuberant performance. He performed songs from his latest album, Epistles of Mama, which won Best Reggae/Dancehall Award . Despite the poor performance of the band (we shall talk about them), he was did his thing.
Didn’t see this coming at all. Seeing them on stage dishing out some of their best known hit songs on the night was pure nostalgic. They reminded everyone of how important a group they were before their personal issues suck out their unity. Hope their reunion means more than just showing up for the show.
The MCs and Band Were *Yawns*
What goes into the selection of MCs and Band for the VGMAs? Can someone have the answers? Let start with the MCs on the night. Both Berla Mundi and John Dumelo were absolutely awful. Their body language, dry jokes, face in palm antics failed to make an impression. They looked too self-conscious, scared to make a mistake.
The VGMAs have always scored low when it comes to MCs since ace radio/TV presenters Kwame Sefa-Kayi and KKD ‘retired’ and actor Chris Attoh last hosted it. The last MCs to thrill the audience were KOD and artist Eazzy (Baby).
Oh gosh. The band was terrible. Charter House must realize that, a show like the VGMAs, beamed across the country, continent and rest of the world shouldn’t be mediocre. Excitement and experience must be their priority. What unfolded on the night was unforgivable. With the exception of Samini and Stonebwoy who held their own, the poor performance by the band contributed to the lackluster display of some of the artists.
If the VGMA organizers want, I’d suggest to them three bands who could do way better than what we heard last night: The Musical Lunatics, The Band FRA and Senku Band. I’d have added Kwame Yeboah’s “OBY” Band but maybe they won’t be able to afford.
Aww What A Pity, TV3:
I know how people can be petty but last night, I witnessed the real meaning of pettiness from TV3, broadcast partners of the VGMAs. It happened when out of nowhere, they cut the live feed when their former employee, Nana Aba Anamoah came on stage to hand the ‘Best Video’ award.
This was the height of pettiness and again, why should a company of that reputation black out the whole of the country from watching that a presentation because they hold grudges like bad judges?
Bullet Was A Disappointment:
How do you choose such a platform to ‘sell’ your two new artists while taking an award on behalf of your deceased artist? That was a very low level to descend if you ask me.
King Promise’s Sneaker:
Man, that $850 Balenciaga Triple S sneaker though. Wild. And why didn’t King Promise bring out former Black Star captain, Stephen Appiah out on the night? That would have gone down as a memorable moment, even if he went home with no trophy.
The organizers need to be commended for the befitting tribute to Ebony. But, I felt they could have extended a little of that to the veteran legends we lost like Paapa Yankson, Ewura Badu and C.K. Mann. If for nothing at all, to remind all of the incredible music they made and introduce to younger music lovers who may not know them, what these artists did for Ghanaian music.
The VGMAs will be entering it’s 20th year in 2019 and as the CEO of Theresa Ayoade indicated, the 20th anniversary event would be a grand occasion. We hope all the flaws that would be identified in their post analysis of the event would be fixed.