Award-winning musician, Charles Nii Armah Mensah, popularly known as Shatta Wale, has urged Ghanaian musicians to patronise the Highlife music genre.
According to him, it is the only music genre that can give Ghanaian artistes identity abroad, adding that, it has been the mother genre of veteran highlife musicians such as Agya Koo Nimo, Ampofo Adjei Snr and Nana Tuffuor among other renowned acts.
Shatta Wale, in his earlier State of the Industry Address, said this idea came after he had a meeting with major record labels in the United States not long ago.
He explained that he got stunned when music agents asked him what genre Ghanaians can be identified with because there are too many genres being championed by artistes in the Ghanaian music sphere.
I will say we should champion Highlife. I went for a meeting for the first time and after playing my songs to these big labels [Atlantic and Universal] they asked me what type of music Ghanaians do and that was where my heart started beating…
They knew I was a dancehall act but they told me to prepare and come for my next meeting… I went back and told them we do Highlife mentioning predecessors like Agya Koo Nimo, Ampofo Adjei…, he told Don Tsegah on Hitz FM‘s U Say Wetin Drive Time show.
The musician, who is yet to release his upcoming album dubbed Gift of God, added that he went further to explain how the music system in Ghana has been flooded with foreign materials.
I had to sell everyone to them for them to know how we do it. I told them Sarkodie and Kuami Eugene do highlife… I told them we love foreign things so we need to fuse them in our life.
According to Shatta Wale, at the climax of the meeting, they settled on projecting Highlife because it has the potential to break barriers.
One white man told me I think we can go with it. It’s about how we sell the music outside. We still have to keep all those genres but we have to sell it like a pot of soup. So they will understand what we all have, Shatta told Don Tsegah.
Medikal and Sarkodie cannot go to America and say they are rappers… they cannot have that identity to call themselves an artiste of this genre. That is what the world is waiting on us to tell them that this is what we are ready to do. People are going to sign with us when people in the diaspora understand our genre, Shatta Wale said.