Award-winning dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale, has explained that his constant criticism of his fellow artists and for that matter, the Ghanaian music industry is because of his desire to see the industry thrive on the global stage.
According to him, the attitude and mentality of his colleagues do not depict people who are serious-minded and business-focused.
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In a television interview on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana programme, Shatta Wale said although his criticisms are hurtful, they are the hard truth.
“My criticism is for change in the industry; change of attitude and mentality towards our work. I believe most of them are not serious when it comes to music. People have sung since time immemorial and have made people see musicians as band boys and so we are not taken seriously.
“I’ve taken music seriously so when I see some artistes pretending that life is good for them, it makes me feel that pain. Osibisa was one of the successful groups globally. When it comes to my colleagues, we have not taken music serious,” he said.
Explaining further, Shatta Wale, known in real life as Charles Nii Armah Mensah blamed the media for compounding the problems in the music industry.
According to him, the media has over-hyped musicians and have created the impression that “they’ve made it.”
“Presenters make them feel swollen-headed even with a single song and so when they move out there they move with some hype and they think they’ve made it. I’ve been there before. When I came out as Bandana, that was the same thing I went through. But I was living in a single room and I wasn’t making money,” he said.
According to him, what hurts him most is that some of these musicians who are seen playing on the international stage are paid as low as £100 and £200.
“Some of these artistes are paid £100, £200. You’ll see this person is travelling and I go like when you went there how much money did you make? Do not lie to the next generation. Do not let them feel like travelling and meeting people out there is the business. The business is how much money are you putting in your pocket? How much are you saving? Cos we are all growing…it’s a seasonal thing.
“I’ll grow one day and see that at this age I have to stop doing music so when I stop what am I going to do? So, I’ve started now, doing businesses here and there. If you think that this is going to be forever… that is why you find old musicians coming out and complaining and it makes me feel sad,” he lamented.
I’m the only serious musician in Ghana
In 2018, Shatta Wale was billed to perform at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards held at the Accra International Conference Centre but he failed to turn up.
Explaining why he did not perform at the awards, he said he had no contract with CAF and that he wanted to prove to them that “I’m a very serious artiste who takes his business seriously.”
“CAF didn’t sign a contract with me. They didn’t link any of my management team so when that whole thing came up I was a bit surprised that how come they would want to pay me some money without a contract.
“It wasn’t because they paid my Nigerian counterparts more than they offered me. It wasn’t because of the Nigerians. I wanted to show them that this is a serious artiste who takes his business serious. If you wanna put me on a show there are procedures that you have to go through,” he explained.
In his opinion he is the only serious musician in Ghana and it was evident from his collaboration with American singer, Beyonce
“I’m very, very serious,” he said.
Asked if there was no other person in the industry he would consider serious, Shatta had this to say: “I don’t know who to mention. I can’t mention any.”
“What I’m saying now is the truth and it’s the hard truth. They will find it difficult to understand. All those names you are mentioning they are names that I have spoken to and I have educated them on how we should move this music thing,” he explained.
According to him, a serious artiste does not “chase” foreign artistes for collaborations.
“All those artistes you are mentioning are chasing Nigerian artistes. I don’t go chasing Nigerian artistes. They come to me. They love me for the work I do so they come to me with a good heart. It’s not just about talent. I take my business serious.
“When you know what you have, you’ll always sit down and wait for the right time. Like I waited for Beyonce’s collaboration to happen,” he added.