PRINCE HAKEEM TO UNITE GHANA WITH MAIDEN SINGLE

As Ghana heads to one of its most crucial election, renowned Ghanaian guitarist Prince Matthews popularly known as Hakeem is set to release his new single ‘We are One’.

Speaking in an interview Prince indicated that the only sure way to sustainable development is first, a peaceful environment and a people with a common goal to make it happen. The message of peace and unity is not only needed during election periods but as a nation there is so much we can achieve in a peaceful environment. He also believes that music plays a very significant role in spreading the message of peace.

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The song emphasizes peace with string and vocal expressions. The song is a perfect blend of his unique style on the guitar and passion for music. He is one of the best, if not the best on the strings in Ghana. Gifted with exceptional musical talent Prince has played with musicians including Donnie McClurkin, Vashawn Mitchell, Kwame Yeboah,Isaac Aryee,Nii Okai, Cwesi Oteng, Joe Mettle, Pastor Helen Yawson,Joyfulway Inc, Eugene Zuta,KODA, No tribe, Uche Agu, Irene Logan, Sarkodie,Mary ghansah, Marvin winans, Deitrick Haddon, Michelle Hammond,Micah Stampley and many others.

“We are One” promises to be a binding chorus as Ghana heads to the polls this December.

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IS THERE A FUTURE FOR THE GHANA GOSPEL MUSIC INDUSTRY?

SONNIE

The Gospel Music Industry over the years has faced major challenges but before I get into that and how some of these predicaments can be rectified, let’s begin with a ride through the genealogy of Ghanaian Gospel music. It chiefly begun with people who were inspired by the great commission of Christ to evangelize through music. They translated the word of God into melodies attached with great Ghanaian rhythms heavily laden with percussion beats and Yaa  Amponsah melody ( original guitar piece that is used as the foundation for many Ghanaian music).

Pioneers of this music includes Bro. Asiamah And His ‘Som Nyame’ Gospel Band, The  Ahinsan Happy Gospel band, Esther Nyamekye, Prof. Kofi Abraham, Yaw Sarpong, Wofa Asumani, Comfort Annor, Mc Abraham, YABS, Helena Rabels, Joyful Way Incorporated just to mention a few. Then came another breed of the Genre in the early 80’s with a fusion of contemporary music through to the late 90’s. These breed included , Tagoe Sisters, Bernice Offei, Daughters of Glorious Jesus, Amy Newman, Rev. Thomas Yawson, Rev. Kusi Berko, Elder Mireku, Stella Seal, Rev. Mary Ghansah, Soul winners, Danny Nettey.

In the early 2000’s The Baton was handed over to another generation of gospel musicians who fused a bit of the generic rhythms  and foreign styles to meet the rising demands of the new Ghanaian whiles the old folks were adapting to the new trend of the industry. For the past 15 years, some of these new faces have been, Christiana Love, Cindy Thompson, Esther Smith, NanaYaw Asare, Nii Okai, Evangelist Diana Asamoah, Philipa Baafi, Lady Prempeh, Uncle Ato, Joe Beechem, Ohemaa Mercy.

In recent times, the industry has witnessed a crop of Gospel musicians who have incorporated foreign styles and beats into our conventional styles, this kind they call Contemporary Gospel Music. Some of these songs has a mix of genres like RnB, Pop and ballads. In the last five years, such record producing artists include Cwesi Oteng, Joe Mettle, No Tribe, Eugene Zuta, KODA, Joyce Blessing, Sonnie Badu amongst a few other contemporary choirs.

I was surprised to find available copies of Gospel songs recorded in the 70’s by Bro. Asiamah And His Som Nyame Gospel Band and The  Ahinsan Happy Gospel band on the famous e-commerce platform, eBay. The shocker made me conduct a thorough research into the commercialization of Gospel Music in Ghana and why the current breed of Gospel musicians are struggling to breakthrough into the mainstream music scene. Speaking to a few of the successful pioneers, I discovered these were people who had a sense of direction guided by industry technocrats who helped to shape their art and brands. These industry experts knew what talents/gifts were when they came across one and in a short space could turn raw talents into valuable assets. A few names come to bare with respect to these artist managers.

Kofi Apeadu, manager of the Daughters Of Glorious Jesus, Rev Thomas Yawson, manager of Tagoe Sisters and Winfred Daniel Nii Adjaye, former manager of Sonnie Badu.

In recent times, artists managers like Kwesi Ernest, manager of Kofi Sarpong and Joyce Blessing has also taken the baton and achieved a great deal of success in the industry. Charles Sarpong, owner of Cebex Music Production and manager of artists such as Selina Boateng and Cecelia Marfo cant also be left out of the equation. These guys work hard and make huge monetary investments to put an artist out there on the market and they are major stakeholders of  the financial inclusion associated with the music industry.

In the modern Gospel music environment where artists like Joe Mettle, Koda, Danny Nettey, Denzel, Akesse Brempong, Francis Amo, Pastor Isaiah, Eugene Zuta, Cwesi Oteng and a lot more exist, the industry is been faced with great challenges. Most of these artists have no management systems. They are their own artist managers, brand managers, event managers, production managers, creative directors, publicist and what have you. They find it difficult to differentiate between business and ministry as they call it. These artists have failed to hire the services of technocrats to handle the commercialization of their art. They cry out loud on radio stations and other platforms about sabotage, fairness and indiscrimination denying themselves of the fact that the biggest part of the problem exists internally.

My question to all these contemporary gospel artist is, who will buy your product if no one knows it exists? Certainly not me. They spend all their investments on concerts rather than promoting the songs to be heard around the world as a form of evangelism. Truly if the real essence of producing Gospel music is to preach the word of God through songs then I don’t think recording songs, sharing them amongst friends, playing them on sunny fm and sweet melodies and having annual concerts is doing enough in preaching the Gospel and impacting the world at large. The annual concerts are filled by same audience that cut across every concert and that brings patrons of these environment into a very small circle with a delusion that once the songs are been sung in a few modern day churches, the songs are known. This frame of mind has influenced the actions of the contemporary Gospel artists and has deterred  potential investors from plying the industry.

Truth be told, If these artists don’t realize the dynamics in music business and adapt to standards, the industry will continue to suffer and might go worse. Apt managers must be hired for the job of pushing one’s art, music and brand to join the mainstream music industry. Success has already been achieved, no need to reinvent the wheel. It can be done because it has been done before. Gospel Artists should be willing to listen to technocrats and adjust to constructive criticisms to help shape their career and build a better industry to transcend generations.

Watch this space for an extension of this article…

STORY: Nick Solomon

Prosperity Preaching must STOP!!!! – Bishop Dag-Heward Mills

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Outspoken Presiding Bishop of Lighthouse Chapel International,  Dag Heward-Mills says prosperity preaching is false religion and nonsense.

“Today Christians are into happiness preaching – everything to make you happy – Christ did not come to make us happy – Christ came to save us from our sins  – and to put happiness and prosperity as the reason for Christianity is a false religion – that is not Christianity.

“Let us not follow comfort – to be a good Christian you cannot be comfortable – to be a good Christian you cannot always try to be happy – this prosperity, money gospel is a nonsense gospel that is not why Jesus came to this world…” he said.

Bishop Heward-Mills made the statement during his Easter message to thousands of church members who gathered at the Independence Square for a Good Friday Convention this Easter.

Preaching on the topic “the token of the blood”, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills noted that Jesus did not come to make people happy and comfortable but to save man from his sins.

He said some preachers have made the gospel about prosperity and money and are therefore directing the attention and trust of Christians off Christ and God to the extreme desire for comfort, happiness and success in secular life, rather than in things that pertain to God.

The Bishop said the focus on comfort, happiness and prosperity is a sign of a backsliding Christians and God will bring judgment on such people.

Bishop Dag Heward-Mills contended that because of the extreme focus on prosperity preaching, most Christians have placed their businesses and politics above God and they lie, steal, cheat and do everything for business and political success, without thinking about pleasing God.

“Today when a Christian says ‘I am blessed’ it means business is working – today a lot of Christians will sacrifice anything for business to work – you put aside Christ, you become a liar, you become a thief – you cannot see the difference between Christians and non-Christians because of business,” he said.

The outspoken corruption crusader also warned Christians who are into politics not to place politics above God and rig elections because “God will bring judgment on you if you did that.”

He said it is about time people saw the clear difference between Christians and non-Christians in all aspects of life.

WHICH GOSPEL ARTIST WILL BE NOMINATED FOR VGMA 15?

Charter House, organizers of the nation’s biggest honors in music, GHANA MUSIC AWARDS will finally release the list of nominees for the 2015 edition of the awards this Friday, February 27.

The nominees for the awards, dubbed ‘Ignited By Passion’, will be revealed at an event at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel. The event, according to organizers, will also preview what to expect at this year’s awards, which will be the sixteenth.

Gospel Music over the years has the potential to appear in about 13 categories out of the 24 and these includes:

Gospel Song Of The Year

Gospel Artiste Of The Year

Best Female Vocal Performance

Best Male Vocal Performance

Best Collaboration Of The Year

Best Music Video of the Year

New Artiste Of The Year

Album Of The Year

Vodafone Song Of The Year

Gospel Album Of The Year

Song Writer Of The Year

Record Of The Year

Artiste of the Year

The question is, which Gospel artists deserves these nominations? Have we done enough to even be nominated? Are Gospel songs that popular? Do we have artists like Cwesi Oteng and Sonnie Badu to compete the overall Artist Of The Year Award?  Let’s get talking………

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TOP CHRISTIAN MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONALITIES IN GHANA

According to a ranking done by ETV GHANA, these are the top Christian most influential people in Ghana. The whole ranking of 100 people was topped by our own Dr. Mensah Otabil, General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church(ICGC) and the Vice Chancellor of the Central University College.

Out of the 100 people on the ranking, 9 Christian personalities made it to the list including singer  Sonnie Badu who is currently the Gospel Artist of the year.

Below is the list of Christian personalities who made it to the list:

1 DR. MENSA OTABIL

2.ARCHBISHOP NICHOLAS DUNCAN WILLIAMS

3.BISHOP DAG HEWARD MILLS

4.BISHOP EMMANUEL ASANTE

5.FATHER ANDREW CAMPBELL

6.SONNY BADU

7.CARDINAL TURKSON

8. BISHOP CHARLES AGYIN ASARE

9. BISHOP BONEGAS

SONNIE