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    Mark Okraku Mantey @ 40

    by News-One
    posted Monday, 27 January 2014 22:18| 17 Comments

    Last Saturday January 25 was the 40th birthday of Mark Okraku Mantey, a renowned music producer, chief executive of Slip Music and a regular judge on TV3 Mentor.

    NEWS-ONE caught up with him for a rather revealing interview that touched on his life, career, family and future. The interview was conducted by Halifax Ansah-Addo, who once had a well publicized misunderstanding with Mark.

    Happy birthday Mark!
    Thank you.

    You do not look 40. What is the secret?
    Thank God. Well, it may be because of my diet. I was actually not trained with certain types of food. My mother’s favourite food was green plantain with Kontomire, my dad also likes that but occasionally did eat fufu. Along the line, he got diabetic and stayed off fufu. So I grew up eating particular types of food and it has remained with me.

    I once called you a ‘complete idiot’.
    Hahahahah . That’s right. I remember.

    I am sorry.
    Thanks for the apology. Well accepted.

    How did that episode make you feel?
    Ermmm, I just felt I was older than you at least. If you were older than me, you would not gave used that word on me. I just said to myself oh, you would grow and you would change one day and you have grown and you have changed.

    Mark at 40. What has your life been about?
    I’ve done music right from secondary school at St. Augustine’s College, DJing , all through to the days of Osu Prime Cut, then I went to Joy FM when I was 21 years, and did music until I went back to school. My music catalogue, or as Francis Doku would say, repertoire is big.  I’ve also done a little television. Executive Producer for Efiewura and a few others.

    How many albums have you produced so far?
    Eighty.

    That’s huge. Take us through?
    I cannot recollect all. I can recollect most of them but certainly not all.  My first breakthrough  as in a hit album that brought money  and popularity was Daasebre Dwamena’s ‘Kokooko’. I’ve also worked with Lord Kenya, Adane Best, Slim Buster, Oheneba Kisi, Nana Tuffour, Mr. Solomon, Kojo Akan,  Swazi B, Joe Fraizer, George Jara, Ewura Esi, OD4, Okurasini Samuel, Nana Yaw Kumi my latest boy, Benji,  Nana Yaw Asare, Felix Bell, Rev. Mensah Bonsu, Ernest Addison…

    Has it paid off monetary wise?
    I got 70 percent goodwill, 30 percent money. Because I see goodwill as money, I would say it has paid off. You are interviewing me at 40 today because of my goodwill. I am able to contribute to a lot of big things in society today because of my goodwill which I got through music. So it is not all about direct cash because I can use the goodwill to get the money.

    On TV3 Mentor, you come across like as a snub?
    There are people you see from afar and create a certain impression about them but meeting them in person or getting closer, you would realize that your impression may be inaccurate.

    My training as a typical Akwapim Presbyterian makes me principled and straightforward. You don’t beat about the bush. You say things as they are. I am just not lucky that my kind of job is music but if I were a medical doctor who comes on TV to give an expert opinion on tuberculoses, nobody would challenge me.

    But giving my expert opinion on music means I would step on toes because not everyone would agree with me. Someone watching from home likes the contestant’s performance so how can I be liked by all when I start pointing out flaws. But it is all good. Your view and my view all combined is what makes TV3 Mentor a show. It is a concert, not academia.

    Why have you gone back to school? What are you doing there?
    I am studying Marketing with the aim of doing my Masters in Communication. And then later PhD. The idea is that the Creative Arts needs someone who can speak the language that the professors, academia, politicians and the corporate world understand. So if we need something done, we can find one of us who can go do the lobbying. If we just focus on the creative side, who would take the mantle to do the lobbying? Billy Ocean is done with his MBA, Kwamena Billson is in my school as a teaching assistant, and Nii Lantey is a medical doctor so gradually we would have a lot of us out there.

    I also want to inspire those with the ability and the desire to further their education to do so. Education brings some changes and some beauty.

    Does Mark Okraku Mantey have a romantic side?
    This question should not come to me…hahahaha.. It should go to the woman…she can best tell. I think on a very good day, I have a romantic side. Even if I am not romantic, I learn to be. I learn to be sweet and do the things that would make a woman happy.

    For example?
    Oh I can’t really tell what exactly tickles my wife but all she says is that I am good at conversation. I hear it is a big thing for women when you actually have time to chat with them. There are times I am home all day just chatting with her and watching TV together.

    How many children do you have and how many more should we be expecting?
    I have three for now, be expecting a maximum of one.

    What should we expect from Mark at 40?
    I would be pursuing my education. I won’t stop Music and entertainment but would add a few other businesses to sponsor my education and make my home a very happy and peaceful place where the children would be guaranteed the best of education. I may also be taking up a job at Hitz FM as a programmes manager very soon.

    Final words?
    I am proud of Ghana and no matter how bad it seems now it is our collective and individual strengths that would grow the GDP. Let’s all do out bits with all the confidence we have within us without looking down on anyone. Confident people come across as ‘too known’ in this country. I want to be an epitome of such character, I am a simple person who loves Ghana, love what I do and very passionate about it. If we all become passionate about what we do, we would all excel and if we all excel, Ghana is on top.




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