Ghana Music Award, and the winners are…My Predictions

I have predicted the winners for the Ghana Music Awards (GMA) ahead of the ceremony with some 70-90% accuracy in the past three years. However, this year’s nominations and the nature of the music industry make it a bit difficult for me to predict who wins what at the keenly anticipated ceremony tonight. I believe that the big winners on the night could be the artists that topped nominations from the three main genres of Ghanaian music as it is today (hiplife/rap, highlife and gospel), namely Trigmatic, Kwabena Kwabena and Cecilia Marfo. But there will be some major upsets from the likes of Castro & Baby Jet, Nana Boro, VIP and Eazzy.

The ‘Artist of the Year’ can really go any way. I know a lot of people have talked about the possibility that for the first time ever; a gospel artist could pick it up. If I gospel artist would win, it would be Cecilia Marfo because she was the gospel artist that stood out the most in the past year with at least two major hits. Kwabena Kwabena also had a good year but wasn’t strong enough to pick this up although he was perhaps the strongest highlife artist during the period. Castro had a mega hit with Asamoah Gyan and if he had at least one more memorable hit apart from ‘Africa Girls’, he would have been a stronger contender for this nod. Samini’s album definitely had some memorable songs but generally the past year wasn’t ‘his year’ so I think he will miss out on this one. VIP had several hits from their ‘Progress’ album and they were very visible throughout the year so they surely can pick up this one to become the only group to have won the GMA Artist of the Year twice. I think the two top contenders for the nod are Cecilia Marfo and VIP but when it comes to shove, VIP has the extra edge to pick the award up.

The Hiplife/Hip-hop Artiste(s) of the Year also presents a dicey situation not only because the nominees are strong but also because it a faceoff between the increasing diverging types of Ghanaian rap music. R2bees had a very strong album but the devils of the calendar year for releases would haunt them again this year and so they may lose out on this one. D-Black had some amazing collaborations in the past year but don’t think he stood out individually enough to pick this one. Trigmatic is perhaps the strongest voice of hiphop in this category and he will go head to head with the competition from the hiplife folks. Eazzy had a very good year with some good hits and but I don’t think Ghana is ready to have a female emcee as best rap artist yet. Castro still didn’t stand out as a complete artist for me last year so I don’t think he would pick this up. My money is on VIP and Trigmatic and again VIP may have just enough juice to steal this too.

Like I said previously, Kwabena Kwabena was easily the strongest voice of highlife in the past year and I think he will up the Highlife Artiste of the Year nod. Daddy Lumba and Adane Best had some nice songs but were not strong enough. Bless had one nice song that people would remember when they hear it but, he didn’t stand out as an artist either.

Unlike the highlife and hiphop/hiplife categories, all the nominees in the Gospel Artiste(s) of the Year category really stood out as individual artists, with more than one hit songs to their credit. But although Herty Borngreat, No Tribe, Ernest Opoku, Cee and Florence Obinim all had a great year, Cecilia Marfo seems to be on everybody’s lips and minds and so I can say she has this in the bag!

For Discovery of the Year, I have a little bias for Jay Ghartey and I hope he wins because of the impact he made with his somewhat unusual music in Ghana. ‘My Lady’ and ‘So Wild’ were smash hits and an impressive introduction to the promising artist. Eazzy had an amazing debut and IWAN was simply an overnight success in the reggae/dancehall arena. Although Trigmatic had been on the underground for years, his commercial debut in 2010 cannot be overlooked. Bless doesn’t stand out in the category at all, and Nana Boroo is strong because of one hit, ‘Aha Yede’ so I wouldn’t pick him. Herty Bongreat says she isn’t new so that’s all I have to say about her. For me it’s between Jay Ghartey, Eazzy, Trigmatic and IWAN but my guts tell me it could be Eazzy.

The Best Collaboration of the Year would be another cracker. Easily my picks are Castro feat. Asamoah Gyan – African Girls; R2Bees feat. Wande Coal – Kiss Your Hands; Cecilia Marfo feat. Ernest Opoku - Afunumu B; and Cee feat. Ampong & Isaac – Halleluyah. Three of these songs are also competing for the ‘Most Popular Song of the Year’ but I will eliminate ‘Afunumu Ba’ from this category because it is not strong in the minds of people as collaboration as much as the others. And when it comes to shove, I think the pair of Castro and Asamoah Gyan has too many strong elements that would win this award for them.

The Hiplife Song of the Year for me is a straight battle between Castro feat. Asamoah Gyan (Baby Jet) – African Girls; Nana Boroo – Aha Ye De; and VIP – Away. My guts tell me Castro would grab this too but if there is any voice of reasoning from any sector of the voting public, then Nana Boroo will pick it up because song of the year may evade him as well. I would also reduce the Highlife Song of the Year to a two-way race between Adana Best – Gyata Bi and Kwabena Kwabena – Dadea Anoma. But I think Kwabena will grab this too.

Most Popular Song of the Year is another keenly contested category and I would narrow it down to R2Bees feat. Wande Coal – Kiss Your Hands; Castro feat. Asamoah Gyan (Baby Jet) – African Girls, VIP – Away, Cecilia Marfo – Afunumu Ba, and Nana Boroo – Aha Ye De (Bebia Ewu). I will narrow it down further to Cecilia Marfo, Castro and Nana Boroo, and finally decide on ‘African Girls’ based on current buzz.

As for AfroPop Song of the Year I am still in the dark as to what really is Afropop Music but I think it would be one decided a ‘voice of reason’ between Jay Ghartey – My Lady; R2Bees feat. Wande Coal – Kiss Your Hands; 5Five – Move Back and Eazzy – Wengeze. I have a feeling 5five will grab this. Hip Hop Song of the Year very likely would go to Trigmatic for ‘My Life’. Gospel Song of the Year I think will go to Cecilia Marfo for ‘Afunumu Ba’.

I feel that the Reggae Song of the Year hasn’t been as competitive as it is this year in a long while. Rocky Dawuni clearly stands out as the biggest Ghanaian international reggae artist at the moment and IWAN was clearly a leader of the genre in the streets of Ghana. So in spite of the strong showing by Sonni Balli, Samini and Sammi B, I think it would be between Rocky Dawuni’s ‘African Reggae Fever’ and IWAN’s ‘Thanks & Praise’. And my guts tell me IWAN could win this.

I still don’t know what makes one rapper better than next but based on which rapper made the most impact in terms of popularity and mass appeal in lieu of lyrical content and rap style, I would say that Trigmatic would also pick up the nod for Best Rapper of the Year.

As for the committee voting categories they could really go any way since it not based necessarily on popularity. Here are my picks all the same:

Album of the Year

VIP – Progress

Best Male Vocal Performance (Solo/Group)

Kwabena Kwabena – Dadea Anoma

Best Female Vocal Performance (Solo/Group)

Efya – Little Things

Record of the Year

Jay Ghartey – So Wild

African Artiste of the Year


Songwriter(s) of the Year

Trigmatic – My Life



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