There is no doubt that the biggest prize for any artiste to receive at the Ghana Music Awards for some time now is the award for Artiste of the Year. For about half a decade when the scheme started it was the winner of the Most Popular song of the Year who was said to have taken the best prize, but that changed along the way.
So which individual artiste or group is likely to take home the biggest award from the Dome of the Accra International Conference Centre and to join the ranks of the great musicians who have been picking this award over the last 12 years?
The nominees in this category cut across music genre: No Tribe (gospel), Cecilia Marfo (gospel), Samini (cross-genre), Castro (hiplife), VIP (hiplife) and Kwabena Kwabena (highlife).
There is no doubt in the mind of any entertainment pundit that this is a very strong and competitive category for this year's event.
All of the above performers did greatly in the year being reviewed. No Tribe for example came from nowhere to demonstrate their well timed and well choreographed stagecraft to the admiration of many who showed up at the shows they performed.
Kwabena Kwabena was very active on the event scene with his new album and so were Samini and Cecilia Marfo, who's hugely popular song dominated every gospel gathering.
Castro showed prominently at major events, especially after the World Cup with his collaboration with Asamoah Gyan on African Girls topping the charts and leading the way for him to show up to perform. VIP came back from their hiatus and re-branded their audacious performance style on the minds of those who witnessed it at the numerous shows they performed.
I tip VIP to win this award again after six years or so of winning their first Artiste of the Year award.
To me, they stood out mostly among the six nominees and deserve more than the others to win the title. But then it should be mentioned that this will go through a voting process with the public, selection and planning committees all voting to choose and though you may be the most popular artistes the voting might just not favour you.
Another category which promises a stiff competition is that of Most Popular Song of the Year where some of the top hit songs released in the previous year would be battling each other. The list includes R2Bees feat. Wande Coal – Kiss Your Hands, Castro feat. Asamoah Gyan (Baby Jet) – African Girls, VIP – Away, Cecilia Marfo – Afunumu Ba, Eazzy – Wengeze, No Tribe – Bohye, Nana Boroo – Aha Ye De (Bebia Ewu).
If this was taking place in July 2010 I would have had no worry at all naming Nana Boro's song as the one like to win this big award, but since a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and now I will stick my neck out for two songs: African Girls and Afunumu Ba. I will be surprised if any other song beats Castro's or Marfo's songs to the prize.
The category for Best Collaboration of the Year is indeed another tough area with stiff competition among those nominated. D-Black feat. Kwabena Kwabena – Somebody, Castro feat. Asamoah Gyan (Baby Jet) – African Girls, R2Bees feat. Wande Coal – Kiss Your Hands, Cecilia Marfo feat. Ernest Opoku, Tinny feat. Donaeo – I Need It, Florence Obinim & Princess Ifeoma – God Never Fails, Cee feat. Ampong & Isaac – Halleluyah. My money is on Castro featuring Asamoah Gyan or R2Bees featuring Wande Coal to win it.
The Hiplife/Hiphop Artiste(s) of the Year category which has D-Black, Eazzy, VIP, Trigmatic, Castro, R2Bees as nominees looks competitive on the surface but easily predictable. I don't think I will earn any extra cedi if my prediction that Trigmatic would pick this award comes true.
He was tremendously ubiquitous on many stages and he proved himself worthy to be named as the king of this category. That would happen only if it should slip past VIP who happen to be the leaders on my card.
Again, I think Castro feat. Asamoah Gyan (Baby Jet) – African Girls would soar above Guru – Democracy, Akoo Nana – Mugu, Nana Boroo – Aha Ye De (Bedia Ewu), Reggie Rockstone feat. Quabena Maphia – Female Friend and VIP – Away to win the Hiplife Song of the Year award.
Kwabena Kwabena will, in my view, pick both highlife categories on offer viz. Highlife Artiste of the Year and Highlife Song of the Year by beating the likes of Bless, Daasebre Gyamena and Daddy Lumba.
He is also likely to slug it out with Nii Lante to win the Best Male Vocal Performance of the Year award leaving the likes of Ernest Opoku, Morris D'Voice, Nana Fynn and Nacy a few miles behind.
The female version of the Best Vocal Performance would go to Efya who showed a lot of potential in that department over the year being reviewed. But there would be strong contest from veterans Cyndi Thompson and Christiana Love as well as Cecilia Marfo.
There seemed to be only one gospel music in Ghana in the year under review and that song was Afunumu Ba. It was hugely popular I would not be surprised if it beats all the others to give gospel music its first Most Popular Song of the Year award.
I will therefore be very surprised if any other song apart from this one emerges as Gospel Song of the Year.However in view of the definition for the artiste categories that leans more towards performance than popularity I will stick my neck out for No Tribe to the Gospel Artiste of the Year award as they showed up more in that area than Cecilia Marfo. I will however not be surprised if the performance of her song tricks people into voting for Marfo to win this one as well.
Who is the Discovery of the Year? Now this one is a very difficult one what with Trigmatic, Jay Ghartey, Nana Boro, Eazzy and Iwan all fighting for the title! This one is very tough and I will let it pass but it you hold a gun to my head I will go for Nana Boro….no Trigmatic.
Song Writer of the Year will go to either Kwabena Kwabena for Dadea Anoma or Trigmatic for My Life. I will really be happy if Nii Lante picks the Record of the Year award with his Lagos to Vienna but I won't mind if it goes to Kwabena Kwabena for Dadea Anoma.
There have been times in the past that it had been difficult to find one decent nomination for the Reggae Song of the Year category but they seem to be in abundance this time round with very competitive songs on offer.
It will be a strong fight between Rocky Dawuni – African Reggae Fever, IWAN – Thanks & Praise, Samini B – Tongue Tied, Samini – Trigga, Na U – Independence Day and Sonni Balli – When You're Gone. I predict a straight fight between Samini's Trigga and Dawuni's African Reggae Fever with the latter edging ahead a little.
K'naan rocked this continent with his Waving Flag song before, during and after the world cup in South Africa last year and if there's any justice in the world he should be named the African Artiste of the Year. But then he would have to beat 2 Face, Asa, Uche Agbo and Meiway to get that. I hope he does, but I am not sure he would.
Who wins Afro-Pop Song of the Year? Is it Jay Ghartey – My Lady, R2Bees feat. Wande, Coal – Kiss Your Hands, 5Five – Move Back, Samini – Sweet Mistake, Eazzy – Wengeze or 4×4 – Miss Doctor? It's a fight between Sweet Mistake, Kiss Your Hands and Move Back with the latter likely to rely on late entrance to nick it.
There'll still be enough time to look for who will be the Best Rapper of the Year with tough fight between Sway – Intoxicated, J-Town – Guns and Roses, Guru – Democracy, Trigmatic – My Life and Reggie Rockstone – Female Friend. I invoke my right to remain silent on this one.
When all is said and done which artiste would have their collection of songs from last year awarded as Album of the Year? Contesting for this award are Trigmatic – Permanent Stains, Jay Ghartey – Shining Gold, No Tribe – Three (Father, Son and Holy Ghost), D-Black – Music, Love & Life, VIP – Progress, Cecilia Marfo – Faithfulness and Samini – C. E. O.
This category together with six others is solely for the committees to vote on without public involvement. If I were a member of any of the voting committees I would be voting for either Permanent Stains or Progress to win the Album of the Year.
What I have done is to stick my neck out here but hope it is not chopped off. Plus it promises to be an entertaining event as well with some of the big name local and international artistes performing.
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