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Okyeame Kwame eyes MUSIGA Presidency 9/15/2008

For many years now the Musicians’ Union of Ghana - the umbrella organization for Ghanaian artistes – has been bedeviled with a lot of administrative problems, the solutions of which seem very remote.
One popular musician who has expressed a high degree of ambition to head the Union in the near future, with intent to find lasting solutions to the myriad of problems is Okyeame Kwame Nsiah Apaw, known in the music industry as ‘Rap Doctor’.
In an exclusive interview with The Saturday Statesman in Accra, he stated, “I  want to become the president of MUSIGA in the near future because the problems in the industry now are not any huge things that can’t be solved”.
According to him, ignorance had been the major bane plaguing MUSIGA and any other society in the industry. He affirmed, “These problems are not anything that can’t be dealt with; the people at the top are just ignorant about how to go about them.”
Heindicated that the main predicament facing the music industry is the copyright system. In ‘Rap Doctor’s estimation, there should be a database management system for all issues relating to copyright. “The most absurd thing about the system is how the royalties are distributed among. Those whose songs are not popular receive almost the same amount as those with popular ones”, he bemoaned..
Okyeame Kwame further pointed out that the main reason why the pirating business had over-shadowed the market was because the producers don’t work hard enough to place the CDs at the disposal of everyone. “They are always at some particular places, like Kantamanto and other distribution points, and for that matter, those who can’t go there will prefer pirated ones from any place close to them.”
Okyeame Kwame described some musicians as lacking focus, adding that “instead of them to focus on their tradition, they always want to copy the western styles”. Again, he said, “they and some event organizers are not creative because they don’t provide any logistics for us to produce our songs; it is always miming throughout”.
Asked what he thought about his other colleagues who sing at rallies of political parties, he replied, “I wouldn’t want to comment about that, but all I will say is that it is a very big shame that none of the governments, both past and present, have been deeply concerned about the welfare of musicians, and yet when it is political season they use us. Even when George Bush visited Ghana, he was accompanied by a musician, but have you seen any of our musicians accompanying some of our Presidents outside the country?”
As the interaction went on, Okyeame disclosed certain things about his personal life to this paper.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I was born in Kumasi on April 17, 1976. I grew up there and also schooled there. We are eleven, five boys and six girls. My Dad was an accountant and my Mum a teacher.

How did you come into the music industry?
It all started in 1992 when I met my friend Okyeame Kofi. We started doing the hip-life thing in SSS , now SHS. We also participated in many rap shows so in 1997, we met a producer of Spiders Web Records called Andrew Opoku Amankwah, who led us to our first album, Nyansa Po from the Okyeame group and we were managed by Mark Okraku Mantey of Slipp Music.
Were you confronted with any challenges?
Not really, but our main problem was money because it didn’t do well at all in the market We were able to sell only 14,000 copies. The only thing we gained from it was exposure.
So how many albums have you come up with so far?
The group Okyeame, thus myself and Okyeame Kofi have come out with four albums namely, Nyansa Po in 1997, Ma San Aba in 1998, Ntoasuo in 2000 and Apamfofro in 2003; then in 2002 I did an album with two of my brothers, Kwaku Nsiah Boamah as ‘Stone’ and Kwaku Nsiah Amankwah as ‘Kintakunte’, so we named the group as Bradez and the album title was 419-afrifie. Then in 2004 I came out with my own album, Bosheba and the latest that was released a month ago is M’awinsem.
How many awards have you received so far?
A lot which I can’t remember but I can recall that of the Africa Music Awards.

What do you do aside singing?
I’m a 100% musician and I also operate an entertainment house in Kumasi known as One Miller Entertainment, where I organize events, seminars and rent out musical equipment. I’m also a third year student in KNUST.
Can you brief us about your love life?
I knew you were going to ask that question, he humorously said. Hmmm… it’s been three years now since Nana Ama and I broke up so I wouldn’t want to stress much on that because I’m seriously engaged to another sweet lady who is a final year student in KNUST.
Really? That means you met in that same school?
Yes but she is way ahead of me because she is doing her bachelorship in administration, and we intend to get married soon.
And how soon is that?
No, not yet but it is just around the corner.
Do you have anything else to talk about?
What I will say is, not only am I a musician but I’m also an advocate for higher education. I move from school to school to educate the youth on the importance and impact of education, and currently, I’m planning to embark on a project to empower the musicians in some areas thus; acquiring a loan, social security, investment shares and management. So I’m liaising with SSNIT and other banks to organize seminars and workshops for us. I know it is the work of MUSIGA but since they are not doing it someone has to take it up.
That’s very thoughtful of you; I wish you all the best and thanks very much for your time.
You are always welcome.

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