If the awards are fair, they would see her seal at least 5 more awards – “Best Female Vocalist”, “Song of the Year” (with “Maame Hw3”), “Record of the Year” (with “Maame Hw3”), “Album of the Year” (with “Bonyfied”), and “Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year”.
For many old enough to remember, it was a chilling deja-vu: the eccentric and beloved Terry Bonchaka, also in his early 20s, suffered a similarly abrupt termination of life through an accident back in 2003.
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Ebony, known in real life as Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng, was returning from Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region when the vehicle she was travelling in crashed into a VIP bus on Thursday evening.
The 20-year-old singer and three other persons were on board a black Jeep with registration AS 497-16, travelling from Sunyani to Kumasi when the head-on collision with a VIP bus heading towards Sunyani from Kumasi occurred.
While the driver of the vehicle escaped death, the two other occupants aside Ebony – a military officer identified as Francis Atsu Vondee and Ebony's friend, known to all as Franky Kuri, died later at the Bechem Government Hospital after they'd been rushed there.
Ebony's death was stunning in the most chilling manner. This was a young woman who had arguably been Ghana's biggest musician in 2017, that coming barely a year after she broke unto the scene.
Heartfelt tributes poured in from all quarters, with many Ghanaians - including top politicians and high profile industry people - prompted to eulogise her.
Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo described her as ‘young but extremely talented’. “Saddened by the news of the death of the young, but extremely talented female artiste, Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng, aka Ebony Reigns,” he tweeted.
Former president John Dramani Mahama disclosed that her latest hit single, titled “Maame Hw3” was one of his favourite songs. “RIP #Ebony. A talented life cut short," he had added in his tweet.
Vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia tweeted: “My deepest condolences to the family of the songstress Priscilla Opoku-kwarteng known in the entertainment industry as @ebony_reigns and the families of the other two who lost their lives in the gory accident at Mankraso, last night. May their souls rest in peace.”
President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) Bice Osei Kuffour ‘Obour’ described Ebony as “Ghana’s own version of Beyonce and Alicia Keys”, adding that she was arguably Ghana’s biggest musical export.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku, described her as ‘a national asset’, and even offered Government's support in giving her a befitting burial.
Black Stars player Kwadwo Asamoah said she ‘will be remembered for her amazing qualities’. “Your death has left me in shock. We never met but I loved your music. R.I.P Ebony,” he tweeted.
Ebony, who was signed unto Rufftown Records and Midas Touch Inc. record labels, had an unusual ascent.
She burst into the limelight with her debut single, titled “Dancefloor” late 2015.
The following year, she released her first major hit single, titled “Kupe”, an effort that landed her her first ever Ghana Music Awards nomination in the “Unsung” category. She competed with Nii Funny, Feli Nuna, Perez, Wan O and Adomaa, but unfortunately couldn't land the gong.
But that disappointment would make no difference to her trajectory. If anything, it provoked more success, one that occurred in never-been-seen-before fashion.
She bounced back and roared like a wounded lion in 2017, ripping apart the status quo with hit after hit.
She kick-started the year with a nationwide hit, titled “Poison” featuring rapper Gatdoe.
Four months later, she followed up with another hit, titled “Sponsor” (which was supposed to feature Shatta Wale).
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As if she was done!
Six months later, she dropped yet another hit, titled “Hustle” featuring her labelmate Brella. She followed up with her first single, titled “Aseda”.
That wasn’t all. She capped off the year in grand style with a monster hit, titled “Maame Hw3” – a song that sought to address the pervasive domestic violence issues in Ghana.
Aside from dropping an unprecedented six back to back hits in a calendar year, she managed to release her debut album, titled “Bonyfied”. The album was undoubtedly superior in terms of rave reviews compared to other albums released during the same time frame.
It would not be a long stretch to describe her retrospectively as the busiest artist of 2017, as she performed on one big stage after another. Even at a point, her management revealed that she had to cancel some of her shows to make space for others.
Before her death, she had been booked for the 'Ghana Meets Naija Belgium edition' alongside E.L on Saturday, February 10, 2018.
But it was not to be.
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Ebony Reigns had been tipped by many pundits and critics to win the coveted “Artiste of the Year” award for the upcoming 2018 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
I was one of the first few people who vouched for her to secure the honour, something no other female artist has ever won.
The reason being that, aside from releasing more than 5 hit singles, topping major charts, grabbing a few awards nominations, performing on almost every top stage and ‘stealing’ all the buzz, she was a national icon – and all this was achieved within a year.
Moreover, the industry has barely ever seen a performer of any genre or gender operate on such a high level and on such consistent basis within a single year.
In fact, amongst Ghanaian music lovers, there was a seemingly unanimous belief that she deserved the flagship award - even weeks before her unexpected exit from the race of life.
To me, she deserves more than just the 'Artiste of the year' award, a feat which would make her the youngest ever to do so.
If the awards are fair, they would see her seal at least 5 more awards – “Best Female Vocalist”, “Song of the Year” (with “Maame Hw3” or "Sponsor"), “Record of the Year” (with “Maame Hw3”), “Album of the Year” (with “Bonyfied”), and “Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year”.
There should be a clean posthumous sweep for her, not because she is no more, but because she earned it before checking out.
Ebony Reigns was a game changer of enchanting influence and the Ghana music will forever remember and miss her.