In the lead up to the release of his Xpensive Style EP, we had a conversation with Stegue to find out who he really is.
Ghana Music – What is Stegue like? We want to know what Stegue is like on a normal day.
Stegue – Well, Stegue on a normal day is that reserved guy more of an indoor type of person I would only step out when it has to do with music literally or meet up with my OG’s once in a while on the weekend which even one way or the other has to do with music meetings, because they are also into music .So yeah, Stegue is all about his music and I don’t play with it .
What was your introduction into music (in general) like?
At an early stage I realized I loved music because I could mime to every song. So basically, I was a music lover until one time a friend of mine took me to the studio then right there I wrote and recorded my first single then I became a Song writer.
Nevertheless, I have always had interest in music because I used to sing at church and play drums when I was 9years so music has always been a part of me
Why did you choose the genre of music you do?
I think with that I didn’t choose it, my genre rather chose me because I could vibe to almost every genre but one way or the other I found myself always vibing more to the Afro Pop /beat and Reggae Dancehall sounds more so I stuck to it since I am good at it and it came to me naturally.
For how long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?
I have been doing music professionally for close to 3 years now but like I said music has always been a part of me.
Some might be getting to know you for the first time, what famous song or sound production can you say ultimately describes how your music sounds like?
When you listen to Stonebwoy, Burna Boy and a few of Afro Beat artistes you would have a feel of my Afrobeat style. I also fuse it with a little bit of dancehall which I learnt a lot from works of Damian Marley, Chronixx, Buju Banton, Kabaka Pyramid etc.
Do you think your music is mostly enjoyed more for the beats or for your lyrics and wordplay?
I have a unique and soothing voice which is obviously one of the reasons why my fans love my music.
When you listen to my music, my lyrics are deep so basically, I think my music in a whole is a full package so a little bit of the beats, lyrics, word play and everything counts when listening to my music
If you could choose to work with some of today’s established artists or producers, to move your game to the top, with whom would you like to collaborate?
I am open to working with any artiste as far as you are serious with your work and I like your vibe to be honest, I can’t mention names.
Which ingredient is the most essential in making your style sound the way it is?
My voice and how I am able to juggle both the afro and dancehall same time.
Out of every emotion existing, which emotion currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or fear. And why?
I would go for a little bit of joy and sadness because most of my songs are about LOVE and “love is dynamic and not static”.
During the music making process, what aspect excites you the most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
There are stages to the aspect of excitement in the process. The first process is when I hear the beat and it gets me in the mood to jump on it.
The second process is when I am in the booth writing a song and it matches it perfectly. Then the last part is when I record what I wrote on the beat and it comes out as a RECORD.
The most discouraging aspect I think is when I am done with all these three processes and the fans/media don’t patronize it as expected. Aside that I think every aspect of creating music is encouraging to me.
How directly are you involved in the recording, producing, mastering and marketing processes needed to make and sell your music?
I am involved in every aspect of all these processes and I think every Artiste has to be involved knowing very well what you want.
Do you or have you thought of outsourcing any part of these processes?
Yes, I am working on myself since I have my indoor studio set up, I record myself and try to mix and master some of my records so I am a co-producer as well.
Would you say modern technology has just created a mass of mediocre artistes who flood the web, making it difficult to distinguish between good music and bad music?
Modern technology, i must say has helped all creatives in a whole because the digital stores pays quicker and much better as compared to back then when you had to wait to sell a CD before you eat. Also, it has created a mass of mediocre artiste too but if you have good ears you should be able to distinguish between good and bad music. Only if you’d want to turn a deaf ear to it.
How well has modern technology and social media impacted on your career?
It has helped me a lot it makes it easy for the fans to connect with me and my music digitally worldwide.
Are you an independent artist? If yes which is the one factor, above all else, that you wish for the most?
Well I am currently under a record label “Sidi Entertainment” and together with my team we execute the works.
All though I am signed to a label I have a team that manage my distribution which I think every artiste has to be focused on, be it independent or not.
In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today?
Afrobeats is now making waves worldwide and we have had predecessors who started pushing it “Fela Kuti ” is one of the pioneers.
Here in Ghana, the likes of Gyedu Blay-Ambolley, Pat Thomas etc are also pioneers but at the moment the likes of Stonebwoy have been able to take it to the world alongside with Shatta wale taking Dancehall from here to the world as well.
If i am to talk about the most successful Afrobeat artist it would be Burna Boy.
Numbers don’t lie! Burna Boy have been doing the most with the Afro beat and he is undoubtedly the most influential and successful artiste today, I stand to be corrected though.
How important are music videos to you?
Music videos gives a feel of the sound to the people again after enjoying the audio.
I would say it demonstrates your composition of the song in a whole to even the deaf who can’t listen to your music but can at least see your visuals and know what it speaks about.
Do you finance your videos yourself also?
No management takes charge of that.
This question still causes some debates around the industry. Is going popular in Ghana or winning an award important?
Going popular of course is one way or the other every artistes dream and winning an award means your hard work has been recognized and appreciated which encourages you one way or the other.
My focus is how my music is going to be able to impact people and change their way of living, so I come as a preacher to inspire the youth with my lyrics that I think is the most important.
If you were forced to make only one choice, which of the two would you choose and why?
I would go for award.
Depending on the award I get, it would push me to a certain level and open doors for me to be able to sell my music to a different people.
Your upcoming album, Xpensive Style, when will it be out?
Together with management we have planned to be able to release it this year but no date has been picked yet but it is a 2020 project.
Stegue, what is the entire EP about?
The entire body of work was put together to give the people a feel of both my Afro and Reggae Dancehall side of me.
It is an inspirational piece and should change lives when released .I won’t brag or say much about the EP but it is one of the best EP’s to be released this year!
Xpensive Style suggests a lavish lifestyle type of music. Is the EP for the bourgeois in society only?
Ha-ha I wouldn’t blame you for thinking this way because most people will take it this way but no that is not what it means.
It goes beyond materialistic or boujee or whatever flashy thing people would think of.
Xpensive Style is just basically how antique my style of music is and how rare my type is in this Industry. People will understand this when they listen to the Introduction to the EP.
Was it difficult getting some artists to feature on the EP?
Initially we had plans of making it strictly solo with no features but things changed so one way or the other getting some features delayed the process but it is all set now and ready for the market.
Do artists charge to be featured on songs?
It depends on the relationship between yourself and the artiste.
If you have that relationship you would get to work together in the studio and create music together but if not, you have to go through management and that involves money because it is business.
Now, many people have touted Kelvyn Boy to be the next big thing in Ghana irrespective of his past. After working with him, do you also believe this assertion?
Kelvyn is talented I must say he has style so yes; I believe so because I believe he is working hard.
Production and content wise, what are we to expect on the EP?
Xpensive Style is a Solid project from production to content wise. The worlds should expect nothing but RECORDS only off the project.
Most of the production on Xpensive Style were played live from guitars to violin to everything.
The attention span for albums and EPs have had a short average rate over the years, how well are you looking at changing this for Xpensive Style?
I think this year has been a different one people have been paying much attention to body of works now.
It all depends on the marketing strategy and myself and the team are working so hard to make sure my debut album is heard by the world.
Are you prepared to accept the overall financial and musical returns from it?
Yes, the right procedures are been taken care of to make sure everything falls in place.
What in your opinion is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself, has to face and overcome, to gain any commercial success?
Making commercial music is not a problem for me at all because I know what my fans want so I give them what they want. It is just a matter of time.
Every artiste has to build yourself and just don’t go in for commercial music because it is selling such musicians don’t last.
I want my music to be played 100 years when I am no more so I am going to keep making authentic Records and not just focus on commercial.
Are you content with the kind of audience you attract?
Yes, so far so good but I am not content until we take it to the world which I believe my debut Album will do so; keep fingers crossed.
Would you want to expand beyond that niche and gather a much bigger audience?
Yes, taking my music worldwide has always been the plan.
In closing, tell us something about any projects and ideas you are working or have in mind to work on?
Looking forward to my debut Album after I drop Xpensive style.
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