Deputy Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey, has attributed today’s artistes’ reluctance to make Highlife music to the positioning and image of the genre.

Speaking on Joy SMS, he explained that a brand’s image drives the showbiz industry and thus if a brand does not appeal to a younger audience, they are inclined to seek out new alternatives.

“They [younger artistes] would take elements of the same genre but they won’t be happy mentioning that, that is what they do. Every young person doesn’t want to be called an old person,” Mr Okraku Mantey said.

He mentioned artistes like Kelvyn Boy, noting that while he creates highlife music, he does not identify himself as a Highlife artiste. Mr Okraku Mantey also mentioned Kuami Eugene expressing uncertainty about whether he is remaining faithful to the genre he initially rose with during the early stages of his career.

The Deputy Tourism Minister believes that if Highlife undergoes repositioning and its image is revamped, it would attract younger artistes and audiences ensuring its future in the Ghanaian music space.

Citing an example he said “When Fred Darko decided to manage Amakye Dede, his value was not that high, he was declining. He [Fred Darko] wanted to manage Amakye Dede, change his image and how he dressed…He did one big show for him [Amakye Dede] on December 24, had giant billboards in town and gave him some image. The same year Joy FM had Amakye Dede for Night with the Stars.”

“The same year, Shirley Frimpong Manso in Perfect Picture told a story about Amakye Dede, which is some brand positioning she did for Amakye. So, that year putting these together, his event at the conference centre gave him a new image. [Former President] Kufour was there and all the big boys were there to see Amakye. After that his value and price changed, so positioning is everything in business. So highlife must be re-positioned.”


Watch the conversation on Highlife music’s evolution above: