It was Daddy Lumba who set the standard when he was adjudged the first ever Artiste of the Year in 2000. Since then, that category has become the most coveted award at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
The winner of this award receives with the plaque, the bragging rights for 365 days will all the respect and exposure that comes with it.
Who wins it this year? The category definition reads, “The Artiste of the Year is the artiste(s) adjudged by the Academy, Board and the General Public as the artiste(s) with the highest audience appeal and popularity. The artiste(s) must have released a hit single/album during the year under review”
This definition is clear, the Artiste of the Year must be a whole package and according to the 2015 VGMA Board, Sarkodie, Samini, Guru, Lumba, Edem, Stonebwoy and MzVee are such artistes.
Sarkodie is not new to winning this award having won it twice already (2010, 2012) and if he wins it this year, he will be the first artiste to have won it a record three times. He is arguably Ghana’s hottest entertainment export. Sarkodie has grown from an underground artiste to the best rapper alive as authenticated by the hiplife grandpapa himself.
But Sark will face stiff competition from the 2007 Artiste of the Year, Samini. From the days of being known as Batman to now, Samini has established himself as a brand on the music scene. Prior to winning the Artiste of the Year, he won the Best African Act at the 2006 edition of the MOBOs and two years after that, he was the best African Artiste of the year at the Headies.
He has won the hearts of many with hit collaborations and his stage craft. He is described by many as one of the top five live performers in GH. In the year under review, he did not allow a feud with the reigning artiste of the year to distract him, he kept dishing out hot tunes, he kept collaborating with other top artistes and he kept entertaining the nation.
One phrase best describes Stonebwoy, show-stopper. This guy literally leaves audiences spell bound with his rich vocal ability. He has been underground working hard, bidding his time, waiting for the right moment to shine. Many believe it is Stonebwoy’s year to win the Artiste of the Year although he is in competition with his “teacher”, Samini. A classic tale of a student surpassing his teacher?
Daddy Lumba is back in contention and the adage that wine gets better with time aptly describes him. He burst onto the music scene in 1980 and has been responsible for countless hits from Aben Wo Ha to Ye Nea Woho Beto Wo he is arguably one of the most versatile and controversial artistes.
One minute he is releasing a gospel song, the next minute he is releasing songs with interesting but risque lyrics and among all these twists and turns, one thing is certain, the list for possible winners of the artist of the year would be incomplete this year without Daddy Lumba’s popular chorus, “yentie obiaa”.
Now enter the man who has made rapping in a native language cool again. When Edem began rapping in Ewe, many were of the view that he would phase out as others who tried before him. But hit after hit, song after song, show after show, Edem shut his critics up and proved that his unique style and talent were here to stay.
Edem has been incredible in the year under review, his Koene hit which featured Lil Shaker and Ice Queen was the toast of many at parties, hangouts and shows. The amazing thing was that the song has been embraced mostly by non-Ewe speaking Ghanaians, certainly using music to break down language barriers. Edem has certainly worked hard since he burst on the scene and he deserves a place in the coveted category.
The next contender is Guru. This artiste makes music that resonates with virtually everybody, from the man on the streets to the man in the office. His music just cuts across. Maybe it is because he uses everyday slang such as ‘kpa kpa kpa’ or ‘boys abr3’ or maybe it is because he has a unique style of rapping that makes it hard to forget about him.
Guru has proved himself as a contender in the hiplife game and ever since he burst onto the scene, he has constantly re-invented himself to ensure that he is on top of his game. If hard work truly pays, then Guru may just have a chance of winning the ultimate prize this year.
Any artiste who manages to emerge from an ‘unsung category’ to be worthy of nomination for “Best New Artiste’ , “Best Female Vocal Performer’, ‘Album of Year’, ‘Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year’, and even for the ultimate category, Artiste of the Year, certainly deserves more than commendation.
That is MzVee and she is one of the ladies holding it down in dancehall and performing creditably well giving the men a run for their money. She may be the only lady contender for the most coveted award in GH entertainment but she is not the least of the artistes in terms of pedigree.
She is one hardworking artiste who has not compromised on her style and stage performance. MzVee may be young in the music industry, she may not be as experienced as the other six contenders, but she has certainly earned a place at the table of the big guns.
So the big question remains, who wins the coveted artiste of the year at the 16th Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, will it be MzVee, Sarkodie, Daddy Lumba, Samini, Edem, Guru or Stonebwoy? This Saturday has the answer.
The Vodafone Ghana Music Awards is presented by Charterhouse, supported by Star Beer and GHOne Entertainment Television and sponsored by Vodafone.