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Kojo Antwi searches for ‘gems’ 2/9/2007
The contributions of the ‘Mr. Musicman’, Kojo Antwi to entertainment in Ghana cannot be overemphasised. Nonetheless, the maestro yearns to do more. He is almost ready to roll out variety TV show that will create an opportunity for young ones with the gift of playing instruments and singing. Appropriately titled ‘GEMs’ (Gifted Emerging Musicians), this talent hunt show aims to encourage complete musicianship. Some segments of the show will deal with the artist’s own original compositions and others will deal with other people’s compositions. The age limit is the broadest for any show of its kind -- from 13 to 50. With this talent hunt, Kojo Antwi will seek to give to Ghana an excellent taste of what true music should sound like. Coming from the point where he did not really see himself as a performer, he knows exactly what these young ones need to help them use their gifts.
In an exclusive interview with JIVE, Kojo Antwi said his long quiet walks (his favorite pastime) have been the source of his creative compositions, even though he draw musical inspiration from the likes of Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis. Intriguingly, he enjoys a variety of music styles, from rock, to jazz to soul to anything that sounds good to him. He set out to become a good musician, and doesn’t regard himself necessarily as a star. He puts it this way: “Some of us were just blessed with music. Where some were talking, I was singing.”

He is worried that the current music wave in Ghana “has not been spearheaded by the artists themselves, but rather by radio presenters.” The artists, he says, compose songs to suit the market trend when “they have the power to direct which way the music should go.” Kojo believes that this is not allowing the artists to grow because “we make idols of them when we have not seen the full extent of their potential”. It is disconcerting for The Maestro that Ghanaians are not creating giants out of their artists. “Filling places like the National Theatre and Conference Center is not enough -- we should be able to fill stadia. We need to create a proper music industry in Ghana.”

And that’s what Kojo expects the GEMs search to do. Contrary to public fears that he is planning to shut off his mic and retire, Kojo says his career is very much alive. He believes that “as an artist, you never retire.” He is just putting more time into GEMs show -- including the construction of an ultra modern complex on the outskirts of Accra. “This is an opportunity to put certain things that have gone wrong right”, he says. “With this show we are setting standards and raising up the bar.”


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