Ghanaian music is quite popular in several African countries, including Liberia, but its impact and standing has been largely restricted due to the reluctance of most of the nation’s biggest performers to commit and invest in international promo tours.
Ghana’s Sarkodie and Stonebwoy are still the only two acts from Ghana to win a BET award, despite the industry boasting a respectable 10 nominations in the Best International Act category of the prestigious awards scheme over the last decade. Tellingly, the Ghanaian music industry has failed to keep up with the clout of the globe’s grandest music nations.
And 20-year-old Liberian singer Jaredo, real name Christopher Kiyembe, seems to think he knows why. According to the multiple award-winning artiste and Africa’s youngest MTN brand ambassador, a large percentage of Ghanaian musicians are not ambitious and hungry enough for a sustained global recognition.
In Liberia, there are as many Ghanaian bangers blasting over the radio as are music from several other nations but the weight of the names behind the songs are not the same. “To me it’s not about your song being heard a few times, it’s about your brand being solidified, your name known, your reputation feared and your legacy cemented. To me, this is who a professional musician must aspire to be,” a philosophical Jaredo opined.
Having collaborated with stars such as Nigeria’s Iyanya as well as Ghana’s Teephlow and Kuami Eugene, the Liberian singer’s opinion also comes with a lot of integrity. And Jurado is in Ghana to walk the talk. A promotional tour to Ghana is the next natural challenge for a musical genius who swept 9 awards over 2 calendar years at the MTN Liberia Music Awards before his 20th birthday.
“I feel like a musician is a missionary. Music is a mission, and every musician owes it to the profession to carry his message to the world. To me, your gift cannot only be limited to the people of your house. You must dream bigger dreams. You must see a big picture. If there is a price to pay, you must do it. We can’t be lazy and be happy”.