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    Episode should consider pulling out of VGMA "Unsung"

    by Elorm Beenie
    posted Thursday, 10 April 2014 21:15| 1 Comments

    Before I speak on this topic, I would hasten to say if I were Episode or his Management, I would have pulled out of the VGMA “Unsung Artiste” thingy.

    Days after the unfortunate incident in Tamale, some of us thought Charter House or somebody from the VGMA Board would have come out to explain to the public why things happened that way – not even the MUSIGA President or any of the MUSIGA top hierarchy came out to speak to investigate the issue and give feedback to the artiste or the public – a clear indication that ‘NOBODY CARES’ about Episode – which has always been the case always, anyway (but it has to change).

    Or maybe they will do that after reading this note? It would be nice if Charter House or VGMA Board or MUSIGA comes out to speak or issue a press release on the incident – but I’ve not read or heard anything from them a little over 3 days after the incident. I am JUST SUGGESTING he pulls out, in my point of view I would have done that but the sole decision relies on him the artiste or his Management.

    Don’t get me wrong, VGMA is a VERY VIBRANT PLATFORM to unearth any act and in this case, Episode’s face, if he gets chosen – “credibly” – to perform on that platform. But again questions I had to ask myself were….what if Episode doesn’t end up chosen? What if people within Charter House begin to victimize him ahead of the show and something similar is repeated? Will they even pay the artiste a token after his fans have voted for him with several GHC 1.00 on multiple texts?

    Even if Episode performs on the platform he is not winning any award home, so why does he have to be handled as if he is begging for the stage? We have seen Episode perform and wowed BIGGER and BETTER STAGES than VGMA stage. If people “assume to take you for granted or try to treat you as if you are unimportant from day one, the probability of them continuing to treat you same deepens.”

    I would however commend Episode a lot for acting very professional during the Saturday saga that ‘sacked’ him from stage. On the normal, most artistes would have fumed anger or acted wild out of the blue in such circumstances but he was very humble to peacefully move out of stage giving the microphone to Black Boy with quietude. If it were to be any other artiste maybe….MAYBE…it would have been a different scenery, or maybe if I were Episode and in that muddled moment I would have reacted in an untoward way and the result would have been an ‘unplanned confrontation’ on stage.

    I heard even after the show Episode went up to Nii Ayi Tagoe and apologized, which in my personal opinion, Episode was NOT wrong in anyway, but to calm the waters or stop that tea-cup-storm he had to apologize. Truly, apology is needed in circumstances like that to “win your case internally” than to ‘challenge’ anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I am not writing these words to make Episode or his Manager or any artiste feel honeyed in their minds or make them feel pompous – I am just spilling my personal opinions (you are free to put a rejoinder if you disagree with my words).

    I would ‘narrowly’ understand Nii Ayi Tagoe when he explained to me on the phone that “I was not contracted to deejay for artistes performing on the show. I was only contracted to play between sessions/interludes and wow the crowd within open slots of the show. So to have Episode talk to me that way as if he was ordering me to keep up with his performance was what made me leave the music wheels and step aside. If he had come with his personal DJ, his personal DJ would have known the flow of his act and ride along but because it was not scheduled that way the whole thing was disturbing my flow. Other artistes brought a show CD but Episode presented a folder of 8 songs and it was difficult for me to know the coordination of it all.” For that aspect I would agree with Nii Ayi Tagoe that “he was not contracted to singularly play for Episode and that he did not know the flow of his performance” – that I would agree.

    Details of all these I would not want to delve deeper into else the back and forth comments would continue on this topic. Besides, NONE of you should think I am putting out these words to propagandize Episode into popularity or stardom. We know every artiste needs to continue working through his musical career but those of us who know Episode can testify that the genre he mostly stands for (Reggae/Dancehall), he is a THOROUGH-BRED youth in that field – he has paid his dues enough to get to where he is now – the fact that his face is not what we see on the front pages frequently doesn’t mean he is a feeble head. Some of us and even people before me who knew/know the worth of Episode even before Charter House/VGMA Board.

    His several collaborations with the notable figures in the game already like Edem, Shatta Wale, Tinny, Stonebwoy, Iwan, Five5 among others speaks volumes. We even hear he’s currently cooking up something in studio with Samini. If he’s not good enough or already baked for the market I am not sure any of the afore mentioned names would share the booth with him.

    It’s about time we protect our upcoming acts and stop treating them as if they are “no show” on gigs. If they are “ironically unimportant” then why would you use them for your gigs? It’s a trend so definitely the food chain would reach their turn and they would have the space to lick stardom.

    This goes out to all Ghana Reggae/Dancehall artistes – don’t allow yourself to be manipulated by any individual or event promoter or organization because they now feel ‘our genre’ is the viable nugget now so they are all hungry paying lip service to Reggae and Dancehall. Don’t allow your years of struggle and effort behind the scenes to be squashed by anyone on stage. The case of Episode is a clear example for us all to learn from it and position cum reposition ourselves well. Our genre, especially Dancehall is like a Karate bout or Taichi – if you don’t understand the genre well you would misunderstand certain gestures or utterances of Dancehall artistes when they climb the stage. Even the way a Dancehall artiste dresses for the stage itself speaks volumes – they don’t appear ordinary and they work it “crazy” anytime they are on stage and people who don’t understand the flow of Dancehall artistes say they are arrogant (and or but on the other side too, some of them also ride on the rudiments of Dancehall and act arrogant too).

    Dancehall is a “stubborn style of music” or maybe a “corrugated style of music” that comes with an OPENLY EXPRESSIVE ATTITUDE (I am NOT saying Dancehall rides on explicit content – just analyzing that Dancehall rides to SAYING THINGS AS IT IS, unlike other genres who would ‘proverbialize’ issues – with Dancehall the artiste directly using plain language in a RAW state) – (eg) A Dancehall would say “The goat is shitting” instead of say “the goat is having a nature’s call”….OR….if a Dancehall artiste wants to say “Gyal, me badly need your vagina fi come squeeze me into coma tonight till a mawning” they will not beat around the bush and say “Girl, I want to have a taste of your yummy puffy chicken tonight till the sun sets in.”

    Reggae/Dancehall artistes who happen to get platforms that honour them on VARIETY shows MUST KNOW….and I repeat, THEY MUST KNOW that sometimes the jargons or lingo we use to alert DJs or Band or Technical Crew might not be understood or might not be familiar (would be misinterpreted) so you have to REMIND YOURSELF that the gig you’re playing is a VARIETY SHOW (cluster of varied genres of performances).

    But if you are playing on our usual Reggae/Dancehall gigs you are FREE to use all our related jargons or lingo because you are automatically assured or aware that the people you are dealing with “know what you are about” and get the import of your show down. But if you forget and use certain words or jargons on a variety show that the DJ paying for you (unfortunately if he/she is not your personal DJ or does not understand your style of flow, they would end up messing up your show and the crowd or people monitoring at home would think you are not a good performer even if you are dope).

    Also, the very moment you step on stage as an artiste and the DJ or Band is acting too bossy or putting up attitude that would destroy your performance, just speak into the microphone and tell the crowd that the DJ or Band is messing up your performance so you can’t continue the show – give the microphone to the MC and leave the stage. That is how it is professionally done – you don’t have to use derogatory words against the DJ or the Band because at that moment they are the ones ADDING UP TO YOUR PERFORMANCE so if you sound unruly to them, they will mess you up the more. At that moment, if the Band is playing the wrong set for you or the DJ is doing a different thing for you, all the crowd knows is YOU THE ARTISTE STANDING BEFORE THEM so most of them would forget about the DJ or Band who is messing up your show (which they are or might not be aware of at that moment because not all of them are technical folks watching from a distance).

    To add, it would be nice if you HAVE YOUR PERSONAL DJ or PERSONAL BAND to play for you (if you can afford it). One key reason why performances from artistes like SAMINI, Edemonline, Sarkodie, Obrafour will never flop is because they have their personal DJs or Bands playing for them so their respective DJs know what they are about and even if there is a technical glitch somewhere you the artiste would realize and know how to complement the act. In cases like this I would give a standing ovation to Hammer of Last Two, he will not take any slackness from any DJ to mess up Obrafuor’s performance. Masoul will never allow any DJ or Band to mess up Edem’s performance.

    Tony Pun (Anthony Daning) is one robust Manager who plays multiple roles efficiently for Samini when he is on stage. Before any DJ will want to fool with Samini’s performance, Tony himself will sack you the DJ and take over the music wheels and play for his artiste – Tiny Pun is always there in the midst of the Band that is why NO band member can mess up with Samini’s flow – if you want to act funny TonyPun will blast you and you will play that guitar or keyboard or drums well.

    Then also, it is about time our musicians start rehearsing with their DJs or bands – the more you rehears, the more you are well informed of yourself and your act and your lines. DJ Mensa and Sarkodie I hear always do frequent rehearsals that is why when Sarkodie steps on stage everyone is itching to see him start his act and watch him forever.

    If you don’t rehearse with your DJ or your band frequently it definitely affects your flow on stage.

    I would beg every artiste to take these words seriously and or if you can’t afford having your personal DJ or Band, make sure you have your act right and NEVER go to perform on any stage without your Manager or your Road Manager or Stage Manager or Publicist – it is always best if you have somebody or people around you as TEAM to help you out on stages because MUSIC is NOT a ‘one-man-job’ as many of you are doing. If you try to do it alone, that is where the Event Organizers manipulate you like Chinese robots.

    Artistes Managers too need to be firm – the fact that you are booked for a show – whether well paid or paid or null – you should be firm. Don’t just go there and allow the MC or any technical fellow you give you instructions that UNFAVOURABLE TO YOUR ARTISTE – if you know those conditions are not good for you or your artiste, ask for better options where necessary and or if there is anything that would add up to your artiste’s performance, make sure you make that request timely before session. If none of these work out and the conditions are still not favourable, simply turn down the show and REFUND THEIR MONEY or RESOURCES BACK TO THEM – I bet you, if you do all these, the Even Promoter would respect you. Don’t go there and be acting too bossy or make wild requests as well – all I am trying to say is that YOU HAVE TO COORDINATE THINGS WELL FOR YOUR ARTISTE to have a parallel performance. Thumbs up to the artistes and their managers/crew as well as Event Promoters who ‘do it right’.

    Finally, all Ghana artistes and their managers NEED TO READ A LOT on the BUSINESS OF MUSIC – if you are well informed about the essentials of the trade, nobody would treat you like a break-away toe nail.




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