From an 88-year-old to a 20-year-old: 11 musicians who won their first VGMA in 2022

Last weekend, the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs) entrenched its position as the go to event that showcases and celebrates the country’s music.

Black Sherif, Gyakie, and Agya Koo Nimo

The night was embraced with glitz from some Ghanaian celebrities who patronized the event. And the performances by the billed artistes thrilled patrons.

However, as usual, this year’s ceremony has generated conversations about who and why certain awards went to some artistes while other supposedly 'deserving' ones were left out.

We present to you the artistes who won their first honours at the VGMAs this year. Some of these might be surprising but understandable on a second thought.

Best New Artiste - Black Sherif

To many, Black Sherif almost broke Sarkodie’s record as the new artiste who also won the ultimate - although that didn’t happen.

It would have been strange if the Best New Artiste award had eluded him as he was in contention for the coveted Artiste of the Year category.

Apart from that award, the 20-year-old also won the Hip-hop song of the Year.

Best Video of the Year – Bosom PYung

Bosom PYung became a household name after he released a massive hip-hop banger, “Ataa Adwoa” in 2020. The popularity of the song caused many people to assume he will win the Most Popular song of that year without competition. However, it wasn’t meant to be.

Although he continued working hard, most of his songs didn’t gain similar traction compared to the impressive success “Atta Adwoa” chalked.

In March 2021, he released a video for his single, “Nyinya.” The video will win him his first honours at the VGMAs as the Best Video of the Year. To many, this was unexpected.

Unsung Artiste of the Year – Gambo

Little to nothing was known about Gambo in the mainstream, although the rapper had been working on his dream since his teens. Gambo’s ‘Boys Aye Wild’, which is off his ‘New Era’ Extended Play propelled him onto popular media channels.

With another fine tune called ‘Drip,’ the rapper had the opportunity to perform at many topnotch events in 2021. He appeared at Sarkodie’s RAPPERHOLIC, Shatta Wale’s Freedom Wave Concert, EL’s Bar 6 concert, he was at R2BEES and friends, as well as King Promise’s Promise Land among other shows.

This helped him to win the 2022 VGMAs Unsung Artiste of the Year.

Best Rap Performance of the Year – Lyrical Joe

Lyrical Joe has been around for a while. In 2011, he participated in the popular African TV show “X-FACTOR’.’ He was the only rapper who represented Ghana in the competition. Although he didn’t win, he made it to a remarkable stage in the competition.

After the competition, he released songs such as Heart Breaker, Fork & Knife, I dey feel u, I’m Sick, 3-kings, Bowtie, Alright among others.

The visuals for ‘Bowtie’ got him a nomination at the 2016 MTN 4Syte Music Video Awards in the Best Discovery Video of the Year category.

His ‘5th August 5’ track convinced the VGMAs academy as the Best Rap Performance of the Year.

International Collaboration of the Year – Gyakie

Indeed, some have greatness thrusted upon them. Gyakie, the daughter of highlife legend Nana Acheampong, won her first award at the VGMAs with the remix of her song, ‘Forever’.

Officially known as Jackline Acheampong, the 22-year-old singer released her first single, "Love is Pretty," in 2019. But it will take “Forever,” a song she released in August 2020, to gain popular acclaim not just in Ghana but in but in Kenya and Nigeria.

Female Vocal Performance of the Year – Niella

For close to a decade now, Niella Danquah has been producing soothing Gospel songs.

As a Ghanaian based in the UK, she participated in the 10th season of BET’s reality gospel singing competition “Sunday Best.” Niella’s incredible exhibition of her vocal prowess on the song, ‘Where You Are’, won her the Female Vocal Performance of the Year.

Traditional Artiste of the Year (Non-voting Category) – Nii Tettey Tetteh

In a bid to promote traditional music in the country, the organizers of the VGMA’s put together a non-voting category called Traditional Artiste of the Year. This year, the award went to Nii Tettey Tetteh.

Instrumentalist of the Year – Joshua Moszi

Joshua Moszi, who had lost out on wining the Instrumentalist of the Year category on the two previous editions of the awards finally won it this year.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Agya Koo Nimoh

The veteran musician, Agya Koo Nimoh, has been active in the music industry since 1957.

In recognition of his contributions to Ghanaian music as performer, teacher and administrator, Koo Nimo was elected President of the Musicians' Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) in 1979.

Eleven years later, eight of his songs were released as a compact disk entitled Osabarima. This was the first work by a Ghanaian artist to be put on CD.

In 1985, he was appointed interim chairman of the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA).

His recognitions abound. The Asanteman Award was given to him by the late Asantehene, Otumfou Opoku Ware in 1991. A few years later, in 1997, the Ghanaian government celebrated the 40th anniversary of independence by awarding gold medals to forty of its distinguished citizens, one of whom was Koo Nimo.

To top his long list of awards, the VGMAs honoured him with the Lifetime Achievement Award this year, for his contribution to the Ghanaian music industry.

Record of the Year – Sad Gurlz Luv Money (Amaarae)

Ama Serwah Genfi, known in showbiz circles as Amaarae, won the Record of the Year award with her Sad Gurlz Luv Money track.

The song was originally released in 2020 with Moily, but in 2021 the song was remixed with a feature from Kali Uchis, and it became a popular song on social media, streaming platforms, and charted globally.

Born in the U.S.A, Amaarae’s work largely focuses on representation of gender and race in music.

Audio Engineer of the Year – Chris V. Rootselaar and Jaap Wiewel

Fighting off competition from the likes of Francis Osei, Afriyie Wutah & Appietus, Liquid Beatz, Jo Oware and Richie Mensah, Chris V. Rootselaar & Jaap Wiewel won the Audio Engineer of the Year Category.

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