There is no denying the fact that 2020 has been one of the most difficult years we have witnessed with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) bringing lives across to a halt.
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Aside from the loss of lives, COVID-19 has affected businesses making the lives of many people take an unexpected turn.
One of the hardest-hit groups of people whose livelihoods and professions have been badly affected have been entertainers (music and movie stars and their likes).
In Ghana, the situation has not been different as there have been restrictions on public gatherings which in turn have affected musical concerts and other such activities.
To this end, many music artistes have lost what could be termed as good money from concerts and other shows.
While the year has not generally a favourable one for musicians, there have been many positives we can take from the year.
Many of Ghana's music artistes have had very impressive achievements even in unfavourable conditions.
As part of our end of year review of the entertainment industry, YEN.com.gh sampled the views of entertainment industry people and compiled a list of Ghana's music stars who made it big in 2020 despite everything.
1. Shatta Wale:
After hitting a snag in 2019 with his infamous storming of the stage after Stonebwoy won the Reggae Dancehall Artiste of Year award at the 2019 VGMAs, Shatta Wale bounced back by reconciling with Stonebwoy.
His collaboration with American singer Beyonce on her Lion King: The Gift Album put him on the world map and ensured that he ended the year very strongly.
Picking from where he left off in 2019, Shatta Wale has got his reputation across the world enhanced further with the release of the music video for his collaboration with Beyonce, Already.
Apart from the Already video, Shatta Wale has also featured as the headline artiste for the Tropical House Cruises To Jamaica: The Reggae Collector's Edition, a compilation album which features Vybz Kartel, Sizzla, Peetah Morgan, and other top stars.
With this recognition around the world, Shatta Wale has effectively shed his local champion tag and even though he has not released the commercial hit songs we know him for, his reputation has not been hurt a bit.
For EnewsGh.com editor, Gabriel Myers Hansen Shatta Wale is the most notable Ghanaian artiste at the moment and without doubt highest point in the music industry at the moment for his song with Beyonce.
"Even if he didn't release the deluge of pop anthems he's been known for, Shatta Wale is easily the country's most notable artiste at work today. His collaboration with Beyonce is undoubtedly the highest point in Ghana music currently. He's also effectively shed the "local champion" stereotype. His reign remains intact.," Myers said of Shatta Wale's 2020.
Sarkodie also ended 2019 on a high note with his Black Love album and the BET International Flow win.
Entering 2020, he has not rested on his achievements and went the extra mile to do more even when the conditions have not been favourable.
Remember Sarkodie was caught in the lockdown and stayed abroad for so many months. But upon his return, he put together one of the biggest virtual concerts dubbed the Black Love concert.
Even though there were some controversies the surrounding the concert concerning Stonebwoy and Sarkodie's manager Angeltown, the concert is, without doubt, one of the highlights of the year.
And Owusu Worae, an experienced arts journalist and head of entertainment news at TV3, the concert is something worth commending.
"Sarkodie enjoys a permanent reputation among the country's musical elite. This year, like previous ones, he's shown up when it mattered, with poignant singles and freestyles. His recently-held Black Love concert is still a prevailing topic within Ghanaian showbiz discourse. That's something," Worae summed it all up.
2020 has been good for Stonebwoy just like his colleagues Shatta Wale and Sarkodie.
The BHIM Nation boss has released an album called Anloga Junction which is setting many records across streaming platforms. The album saw him feature American singer Keri Hilson on the track Nominate.
Apart from Keri Hilson, Stonebwoy also featured other international artistes like Nasty C, Spanker, Jahmiel, Diamond Platinumz, Alicai Harley, and Zlatan.
Stonebwoys's collection of international collaborations has impressed Myers Hansen and he said:
"There's a good chance that Stonebwoy is the current Ghanaian artiste with the most international features in his catalogue. This year, he continued that route with Anloga Junction, whose most notable guest is Keri Hilson. Stonebwoy is also not unfamiliar with making hit records. The album is replete with them, but so are his standalone songs; most recently, Putuu."
4. Kuami Eugene:
Kuami Eugene turned 23 years old this year but he has already achieved what many veteran musicians failed to do, that is getting crowned as the number one artiste in Ghana. Eugene got this honour at the 2020 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
Apart from his win, Eugene has released a fine album called Son of Africa. He has also appeared on many of the best hits in Ghana at the moment.
For this, the Enewsgh.com editor argues, Kuami Eugene deserves to be patted on the back.
"Kuami Eugene is currently the preferred collaborator for many of his colleagues. It is no wonder that he enjoys a conspicuous presence on radio and within the respected music charts. His vocal charisma has ensured that he can draw crowd numbers that rival any other practitioner of pop music in Ghana. His VGMA Artiste of the Year award is to many, an apt reflection of his efforts."
Medikal came into his elements as one of Ghana's formidable artistes in 2020. Apart from releasing a successful album which is named after his daughter Island, Medikal also emerged as the topmost rapper at the 2020 VGMAs.
"Medikal has honed a distinct ear for street slang which serve as the foundation for his songs and also arrive complete with a crafty flow and cadence. Few Ghanaian rappers enjoy the pop presence he's cultivated over the years," Owusu Worae summed up Medikal's craft and success.
After parting ways with Stonebwoy's Buriniton Music Group in September 2019, many had thought Kelvynboy's progress would slow.
But the Afrobeats badman seems to have proven sceptics wrong and shone brightly in 2020.
He has released the much-acclaimed Black Star album and has got some of the most banging songs on the scene today.
"Kelvyn Boy wants to be respected as an Afrobeats innovator. Additionally, the verdict of many industry watchers was that his divorce from mentor Stonebwoy would mean a major detour from his music trajectory. The man's ethic and glowing catalogue is testament to the opposite," Owusu Worae says.
7. Eno Barony:
Eno Barony has been on the rap scene for some time now but never has she got more attention than what she hs got in 2020.
Even though she lost the 2020 VGMA Rapper of the Year award to Medikal, many Ghanaians took to social media complain about Eno not winning.
Her reputation has also been massively buoyed by her lyrical banter with Medikal which many felt she won.
Myers Hansen spoke highly of Enowhile acknowledging that 2020 has seen her cement a place as a top rapper.
Eno is a rap veteran in her own right. For many years, she has had to play second fiddle to her male counterparts. This year, she finally clinched her place among the top plate, albeit propped by her lyrical feuds with MEDiKAL et al.
And Eno has excellently capped her year by winning the Best Female Rap Act in Africa at The 2020 African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA)
8. Wendy Shay:
Wendy Shay may not have dominated the music scene as she did in 2018 and 2019, but the one thing she has been able to do is keeping herself very relevant.
Shay has released some very good songs, being part of the few concerts that have happened.
It is Shay's consistency and the ability to drop hit tracks even amid criticisms that have impressed Owusu Worae and he said of her:
"Since first tasting mainstream success in 2018, Wendy Shay has constantly been in the thick of scandal. Though much of her backlash has targeted her wardrobe choices and public utterances, her music has also been the subject of scepticism. Still, with her regular commercial hits, she has managed to silence her critics. and did the same this year."
Fameye's rise started in 2019 and he has peaked very well in 2020 with his efforts being crowned with the 2020 VGMA New Artiste of the Year award.
Fameye has also released a very successful album titled Greater Than. He has also become a go-to person when other music stars want features.
Myers Hansen attributes Fameye's success to his ability to chronicle his life stories and tailor them to suit the stories of other young people. He said:
"Fameye's diaristic songwriting, which revolves around the grass-to-grace narrative, has seen him court ample traction. A significant number of Ghanaians fit into the "young and struggling" group, who now considers his music as a collective soundtrack for them. Therefore, as long as there will be people below the poverty line, Fameye will have a place in Ghana's mainstream, it appears."
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