Ghana’s fast-rising music star, Felix Lambert Dangmaa, known in the entertainment industry as DaGaow, has hauled fellow musicians over the coals for a “sickening” level of disunity and rancour he says is eating up the country’s show business.
The young entertainer, who returned to Ghana not too long ago after an 18-month tour of the United Kingdom and has launched his latest track, Checkpoint, featuring Zeal of the VVIP fame, told Starr News Ghana’s musiscape, to the detriment of his homeland, lacked the goodwill and the support seen among artistes in the other countries around the globe.
He proposed Ghanaian professional performers, especially the old war-horses in the industry, borrow a page from their counterparts in Nigeria and the UK.
“There is no unity. Let me use Stonebwoy as an example,” DaGaow told Starr News in Bolgatanga, Upper East regional capital.
“When it was announced that Stonebwoy had been nominated for the BET Awards, we were all expecting calls and comments from all angles on both social media and mainstream media platforms commending him for the good work done. But what I observed was that musicians were behind the scenes complaining that he didn’t deserve the award. Whether he deserves the nomination or not, it is a plus on the image of Ghana. His nomination has a potential to attract investors into the country in all sectors. I think he deserves the push from everybody.
“Another observation is what is going on between the famous artistes and the yet-to-be-famous artistes. The popular artistes do not want to associate with those who are not famous for unexplained reasons. Off stage, musicians are on their own, each one mindful of their own business. The famous ones look down on the up-and-coming ones, rejecting harmless approach from new faces in the industry with a devastating look. In the UK and Nigeria, the situation is different. I have been on several international platforms where accomplished artistes do not care what your background is or if you are a beginner; they support you. Our industry has got a future, but if we don’t love and support each other we would not get to where we should,” the Afro-pop singer affirmed.
What you didn’t know about DaGaow
DaGaow is a news editor at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). Born in Accra, Ghana’s national capital, he hails from the Upper West region and he is an alumnus of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) with a master’s degree in Media and International Development from the University of East Anglia in the UK.
The songwriter, who is also a hip-pop artiste, until recently was known as Odumja- a stage name that became popular from his schooldays at the Tamale Senior High School (TAMASCO), a premier second-cycle institution in Ghana’s Northern region where his music dream gained foothold. He says he is currently undergoing a rebranding and has chosen “DaGaow” as his showbiz name to depict his “identity as a descendant of the Dagara people who rebelled against autocratic rule in the olden days”.
“In short the name implies a revolt against all forms of failure in this life,” he reveals.
His latest song, Checkpoint, is the first he has released so far among the tracks he is set to launch in 2017.
“Checkpoint is an Afro-pop love song, well-crafted from lyrics, chorus, hooks and beat resulting in a harmonic pattern that gives the song a striking dance tune. Production credit goes to one of Ghana’s finest sound engineers, Roni Turn Me Up. The video of the song, which is also going to be released this year, is directed by famous music video director, Prince Dovlo,” said DaGaow who is also scheduled to tour the UK (where he is partly based) soon to shoot another music video.
He added: “The song articulates the need for young people to desire to succeed in life. It speaks about giving your dreams and aspirations the best shot possible. The melodious afro-pop song seeks to encourage young people not to listen to voices that discourage them from achieving their dreams. That song is so dear to my heart and so it took me two months to finish recording and mastering it. One unique thing about this song is that, I didn’t just write it to sing it but it is a package of an experience I have had myself. I defied all odds and dedicated everything- time, effort and money- into the making of that particular song and I am anticipating it will storm the Ghanaian music scene”.
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The rapper, who began his music life way back at the 1st Signal Junior High, Burma Camp, Accra, says he taps inspiration from Ghanaian hiplife artistes Okomfo Kwadee, 2pac and Nas. He hopes to reach the youth everywhere through music and charitable gigs, to inform and educate them about such social problems as domestic violence and drug abuse.
Songs released so far by DaGaow include: “Kaba” 2000, “Follow me” 2005, “Let them say” in 2008, “Look Sharp” (2010), “Black Panther (2011) and Akesiemu which featured Dobble in 2012. The rapper’s song “Ma world” was one of the hit songs of the Volcano Eruption compilation produced by Sasco and Hilix music production in 2009.
“I think my performance at the British Art Show in the UK was my all-time best. That show brought out the best in me as I had to free style creatively by blending the various artists and their works and still made sure that the fans were on their feet. Most importantly it was in line with my music principles of educating and informing people,” he recalls in his memoirs.
His new singles (including Checkpoint) are being promoted in Ghana and the UK amid plans to embark on a nationwide tour of Ghana by the close of 2017.