After the official closure of the call for entries for the 21st edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA), the board, research team and the VGMA secretariat reviewed a total of 632 submissions of works by entertainment stakeholders in the country and across Africa.
The annual event which was established by Charter House Production in the year 2000 has grown into a festival of music and entertainment that has gone beyond national boundaries to engulf the continent.
It is held mostly to honour great artistes, musical producers among others whose art have gained global acceptance.
The organisers of the awards scheme, last Saturday in Accra announced the names of artistes, producers and other stakeholders who after a month of careful scrutiny made it on the nominee’s lists.
The awards which is mostly referred to as “Ghana’s prestigious awards” indeed meant a lot to musicians, fans and music lovers, thus become very emotional when things did not go as how expected.
Capturing the hearts of many music and non music lovers, the awards scheme has not been without controversies, from categorisation to nominations stage, as usual, the announcement sparked lots of controversies.
As some artistes and their fans were happy with the categories others were also unhappy, especially Shatta Wale and Wendy Shay fans who felt “Stevie Wonder” should have made it on the collaboration list.
Others also condemned the awards board’s decision to have entailed dancehall prodigy Samini in the Reggae/dancehall artiste of the year while none of his songs was nominated for the Reggae/Dancehall songs.
Some also winked hard after seeing the afro beat singer, Lord Paper who has been in the industry for more than five years got nominated in the best new art category while others raised concern on the criteria they used in the selection of the vocalist Category.
Speaking with spotonnews.net in Accra on Thursday, The Head of Public Event of Charter House, Mr Robert Klah explained that the board followed a tandem procedure and took approximately four weeks to coordinate and select qualified persons for the nomination.
He stated that each category had a specific standard the awards board was looking for, adding that the artistes who made it to the lists all deserved their respective nomination.
Mr Klah indicated that although Lord Paper was already known to some Ghanaians the board only received his debut entry for this year’s edition which fetched him the best new art nomination.
According to him, the Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the year category specify on any artiste adjudged by the Academy, Board and the General Public as the artiste with the highest audience appeal and popularity in the Reggae/Dancehall genre, thus the selection did not necessarily dwell on songs that made it to reggae/dancehall songs list.
Mr Klah debunked any suggestions that the award had ever been manipulated since its inception to suit specific individuals.
Touching on the collaboration, he indicated that the major focus of the award goes to the owner of the song and the person who got featured on the track, hence any collaborations with artiste who the board has banned disqualify.
Mr Klah however revealed that his outfit had introduced free voting system, a method that he believed would support the citizenry to vote without any cost to increase the chances of their favourites artistes winning.
He also mentioned that there would be “high school stars,” a talent hunts show as part of this year’s VGMA edition to help unearth and develop talents of people at early stage in improving the integrity of the awards.
Mr Klah observed that the awards is slated for May 2 and outlined activities like Music Business Seminar to educate musicians and producers on how they could work to improve the nature of the country’s music to meet international market.
He said there would be nominees jam across the country, starting from Koforidua and promised his outfit’s commitment to beef up actions to secure patrons’ life during the main event at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).
Mr Klah urged the citizenry to believe in the awards scheme as “a winner is determined from percentages garnered from the combined voting activities embarked upon by the three blocks, the public holds 40 per cent voting power while the other two blocks hold 30 per cent each.”
He further stated that all votes would be supervised, monitored and collated by one of the world’s most respected accounting firms, KPMG.
However, this year’s edition of the VGMA looks promising for big stars like Sarkodie, a two-time Artiste of the Year who is battling all outs with Kofi Kinaata, Kuami Eugene, Medikal and Diana Hamilton.
Another compelling category which is the best new art of the year which Kofi Mole, Fameye, Tulenkey, Lord Paper, J Derobie and MOG Music would all be battling for the awards.
Dancehall goddess AK songstress for the second time locking horns with Samini, Epixode, Ras Kuuku, Jupitar and the new Dancehall artiste J Derobie in the Reggae/Dancehall artiste Category.
Sarkodie led this year’s nominations with 10 nods, followed by Kuami Eugene with seven, Kofi Kinaata and Kwesi Arthur with six within the 26 categories.
These artistes fates would be decided through the act of voting by fans and music lovers to gain the coveted awards for the year under review.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE