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    People should watch out for Brother Philemon - Bro Philemon

    by Francis Addo, Daily Guide
    posted Friday, 28 February 2014 17:02| 0 Comments

    Gospel musician Ishmael Philemon Ackon otherwise known as Brother Philemon has told NEWS-ONE that Ghanaís gospel music industry has not only upgraded within the past year but is also currently crossing borders into other countries, with the emergence of Cwesi Oteng and others.

    However, he said the gospel musicians are not doing justice to that genre with the introduction of secular trends into gospel music, citing the 'Azonto' dance as a typical example.

    In this interview with Francis Addo, the 32-year-old gospel musician, who is based in China, also spoke about his first album, expectations for the year and his family.

    What is up with you Brother Philemon?
    The year 2013 was a good one when it comes to music and weíre trying to push it this year too.

    Anything new?
    We are working on a project as of now but it is not going to be released somewhere this year. I am going to release some singles as the year goes by and sum it up with an album in 2015. Currently, we are still trying to push the ëMo Bo Wodziní track which got me two awards. ëMo Bo Wodziní features Morris Babyface and it is a song that got nominated for Best Collaboration and also Best Songwriter at the Ghana Gospel Industry Awards. I was able to get the Best Collaboration Award.

    What inspired that song?
    That particular song ministers to me. It talks about me telling people about what God did for me and mankind in general for dying on the cross for our sins. There have been so many wonderful things that Jesus has done with the blood and everything.

    How did your career start?
    Well, I come from a Christian home. My dad was a minister of the church, the late Rev. Emmanuel E.E. Ackon of the Methodist Church. So I grew up listening to Gospel music, belonging to the Methodist Junior Choir and other singing groups in the church. Thatís where the music really started and after secondary school, I went to the University College of Education to pursue a two-year certificate in Music after which I proceeded to Legon for a four-year degree programme in Fine Arts.

    Officially, when did you start music?
    My first demo was in 1997. But officially I would say 2001, but I didnít release any CDs though. I recorded songs that were supposed to be released but they never got released. So it was just up until the latter part of 2012 that I was able to sponsor my own recordings and also release CDs. While I was in college and the university, I was involved in music activities. I recorded an album with the Legon CVC Choir and I had the opportunity to sing two songs on that particular album.  Afterwards I moved to China, where I am currently based operating my business. So I am trying to do music and also be an entrepreneur.

    What business are you into?
    I am with a company that is into manufacturing Harley Davidson Motorcycles and components. We ship them to the USA.

    Your album?
    It is titled 'M'asan Aba' and it is an eight-track album.

    What are some of the challenges you are going through as a gospel artiste?
    There are a lot of challenges; spiritually and physically. Spiritually whatever good you try to do, the devil tries to fight against it and we have had some many instances from last year and the latter part of 2012. Physically, trying to reach out to certain people in the industry to help you sometimes is very difficult because I am an independent producer. No producer produces me, I do everything. Financially it is a bit draining. Those are some of the challenges weíre going through and also trying to reach out to the DJs.

    What should your fans expect from you?
    My upcoming album; I have songs in China too. I belong to Freedom 61 band in China. That is the city I am based in. We are a band but we also do evangelism. We organize concerts to spread the word of God. I have the chance to minister my Ghanaian African songs to other African churches that are based in China. People should watch out for Brother Philemon and buy the copies of my first album that will be released onto the market soon. It is going to be at Cebex Music and Pat Thomas shops.

    Who is Brother Philemon?
    My full name is Ishmael Philemon Ackon, I am 32 years old. I am from Winneba but I am based in Takoradi. I attended St. Johnís Secondary School in Takoradi and also went to the University College of Education before University of Ghana to read Fine Arts.

    Is there a woman in your life?
    Yes, I am married to a non-Ghanaian. She is from the Philippines and I have two lovely daughters.

    What do you think about the Ghana Gospel Music industry?
    It is like the industry has upgraded right now, when it comes to the music and video productions. It used to be so mediocre but now you can see that people are trying to look outside the borders of Ghana rather than just Ghana. We have people like Eugene, Cwesi Oteng and others who are now cutting across Africa. People are listening to them. And so I think the gospel industry in Ghana is currently on the right path. Those who started gospel have also done their part. It is what they did that inspired some of us to get into the industry.

    What setbacks have you noticed in the gospel music industry?
    This is a tricky question because if I answer this question, I donít know how it is going to come out. But I will say letís stop bringing secular trends into gospel music.

    What do you mean?
    Like there is Azonto; we donít know where the Azonto comes from. That dance is, excuse me to say, this could be controversial but that dance itself is a dance for a deity or whatever in the Bukom or whatever area. Because secular musicians are doing Azonto and bringing it up, now Christians too are bringing it into the church, trying to say we are dancing to glorify God. But why didnít we create our own dance or whatever but we just trying to bring what is out there into the church. Thatís one thing that I think we could try to improve. Now some musicians are creating beats in Azonto. So when you listen to that tune and listen to what is out there in the secular world, you canít tell (the difference). Please write well, so I donít get crucified. I am only using Azonto as an example. What I am trying to say is we gospel musicians and Christians should know our limits. There are certain things that we donít have to take for granted. If secular people are doing it, we donít have to do it. We donít have to offer second-hand stuff to God. We should create something for the love of God, so that it will be first time; not something that somebody brought up that you will repackage and give to God.

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