|The nation’s entertainment personalities will gather at the biggest event on the entertainment calendar to decide which amongst them deserves to be honoured at the 17th edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards(VGMA) on Saturday, May 7.
As has always been the case, the VGMAs throws up competition in almost every category as Ghanaians look forward to knowing which of their idols would win what on the night when they and their colleagues gather to determine who most deserves to be rewarded.
This year has been no exception as every single category in the 2016 VGMAs has been competitively fought since the nominations were announced some three months or so ago. From the Most Popular Song of the Year category through Album of the Year to Music Video of the Year, all nominees have been upbeat about winning.
However, the one category that has traditionally thrown up a lot of debate and which has predictably done same this year is the Artiste of the Year category. Since the GMA organization elevated this category as the most prestigious on the night it has been the focal point of what to expect on any given night at the VGMAs.
The list of nominees that the board of the VGMAs selected was massive. One group and five individual artistes who had showed their artistry in the previous year were pitted against each other to determine which among them most deserves to be named Artiste of the Year.
VVIP, Sarkodie, Bisa Kdei, Stonebwoy, SP Kofi Sarpong and EL were the artistes named as nominees to compete for Artiste of the Year.
Each of these artistes has their unique styles which they have showed over the years and especially during the year under review, but which among them will the public, the academy and the board choose?
VVIP has had some energy back since Reggie Rockstone joined the group which was then known as VIP when prominent member Promzy left. They have since had a couple of hits and over the last year on the wings of Skolom and Dogo Yaro they have shown relevance and public appeal.
However, will that be enough to propel them to the to prestigious award? Judging by conversations among the public and comments by pundits on entertainment shows, it doesn’t seem as though Rockstone, Zeal and Prodigal would be mounting the podium to give a speech with regard to this particular award this Saturday.
Sarkodie has been the most relevant Ghanaian artiste over the past six years or so as he keeps being nominated in this category. As a former winner he comes up strongly again as one of the nominees likely to pick the award.
Some have referred to his lack of many shows compared to other artistes nominated in the category.
His fans will, however, refer such people to his campus shows, his very successful Rapperholic concert, his many shows outside Ghana and most especially his record making event at the Apollo Theatre in New York as good enough to earn him the award.
Bisa Kdei has been maturing as an artiste and year after year he gets closer to the point where he would be called a music great. Last year was a breakthrough year for him, and the title of his album supports this assertion. There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that among those who have been nominated in this category Bisa has more popular songs than any.
His two big songs Mansa and Brother Brother seem to have rallied many to root for him to emerge as Artiste of the Year. Some have even argued that if he doesn’t win that award then there must be a problem with the awards and yet some also argue that his lack of good performance on stage would prevent him from winning.
Stonebwoy is the reigning winner of the Artiste of the Year award and the Ghanaian public will know on Saturday night if he can retain the award or if someone else will pry it from his hands.
Since emerging as the leading artiste in Ghana at last year’s VGMAs, Stonebwoy has gone on to win the Best International Act – Africa at the BET, got nominated to MAMAs, won Best Reggae and Dancehall Artiste at AFRIMA and has performed on many big stages both in Ghana and around the world. His fans and many pundits think he deserves to retain the title.
SP Kofi Sarpong is known for his great performances anytime he mounts the stage to perform at any event he is invited to. His songs are also popular, especially among Christians and gospel music enthusiasts.
However, his nomination was greeted with mixed reactions as some thought it was meant to make the gospel community happy, especially as the Gospel Album of the Year category was dropped from the list this year.
SP Sarpong has, however, allowed his music and his performances do the talking for him in the hope that they will make him the first gospel artiste to win this particular award since its inception. Showbiz’s monitoring of public conversation since the release of the nominees suggests, however, that the gospel fraternity have to wait a while longer before their kind wins this award.
EL has been unsung for awhile although he has been showing some gradual rise to the top of the pole as one of the artistes who takes his work seriously and ready to take on the establishment.
Last year EL was the only artiste who released two albums on which he had some good songs like Shelele and Koko. He also showed up at almost all the big shows and concerts and had his own show as well which was sold out. Could this be the year that EL surprises everyone and emerges as the Artiste of the Year at the VGMAs?
Sources close to the board of the VGMAs have been tight-lipped about which of the artistes is likely to win the award. “We cannot say who will win even if we knew. We do not know because it is only KPMG which has access to the votes and they will present them on the night,” a source at Charterhouse said.
Showbiz reckons that the leading candidates for this award are Bisa Kdei, Stonebwoy and Sarkodie in that order. However, we are open for any surprise the public, academy and board are willing to lavish on us this weekend when the big event comes to the Accra International Conference Centre.
List of past winners:
2000: Daddy Lumba
2001: Kojo Antwi
2002: Lord Kenya
2005: Bice Osei Kuffour
2006: Ofori Amponsah
2008: Kwaw Kese
2009: Okyeame Kwame
2014: Shatta Wale