|Jon and I know each other from way back in the mid-nineties, when I was rapping and he was part of the R&B group ‘MGKK4’.
Since then, we’ve both become TV presenters with shows on the same station (Metro TV), and briefly worked on the same radio station as well (XFM).
He’s gone on to release his (and Ghana’s) first Pop Rock album, ‘This Is Who I Am’, and is a few months from dropping his second, ‘Enigma’.
It’s always a pleasure hooking up with him to chat since we have so much in common.
Eddy Blay (E): Tell us about ‘MGKK4’?
Jon Germain (J): Well ‘MGKK4’ was formed back in school by a group of friends, which included Ded Buddy (now known as Qweci).
They used to sing Boyz II Men songs at school, and one day I decided to show them my skills, and they invited me to join the group.
After school, and after we got all the girls we wanted, we realized that there wasn’t any R&B group around at the time, so why not pull it together and do it. We started, then kind of split up. And that was that.
E: Which do you prefer, TV or radio?
J: It would have to be radio, because music is my passion. Plus you can walk into the studio unshaven, and you don’t have to look “good” all the time.
You can be in whatever mood you want, just turn on the mic, and go to work. On TV even when you’re in a bad mood you need to smile and look happy.
You have to find a way to deliver without people catching on to your mood, wear make- up, etc.
But TV has thought me a lot, and given me much confidence. I used to be a pretty shy guy back in the day. It’s also given me the chance to meet a lot of people as well.
E: Memorable moments?
J: Oh, so many! Meeting Kofi Ghanaba is one of them. I remember during my interview with him, tears rolled down his face as he said, “I’ve been waiting all my life for someone to ask me the question”. It was a simple question too.
It was “What inspired you to write the song that the VOA (Voice of America) uses as their signature tune?”He said nobody had ever asked him that question in all his years.
E: You’re pretty busy nowadays, with the TV show and studio, working on your second album, ‘Enigma’, and you also run your own company. How do you juggle all that you’re doing?
J: Well as you know, all these things demand 100% commitment, and we also want to live comfortably.
Broadcasting is not the highest paying job in the world, if you know what I mean, so I have to work on my other businesses, like my company if I want to be able to maintain a certain lifestyle.
Sincerely, I just wish that I could concentrate on doing more music, because that’s where my heart is.
I’ve waited too long to put out an album. I try, but it’s difficult. Hopefully the sleepless nights will pay off.
E: What are some of the problems in the media industry?
J: Well in Ghana, being on TV doesn’t make you a rich man. There are a few that have managed to live comfortably by doing the media thing alone, but it’s almost impossible.
That’s why you have to do other things as well. Media owners think that you just want to be famous or become a star, so the pay is usually ****. They think they’re doing you a favour.
Media owners must learn to pay their workers decent money from what the workers are making for them. It was hard for me in the beginning, but I have paid my dues.
E: What was your most embarrassing moment on TV?
J: I was interviewing Rama Brew, and her answer to my first question just threw me off guard and I just went blank. Lucky it wasn’t live TV, but I still felt like an idiot for about a month.
E: You’re a vegetarian. Where does that come from?
J: My parents. They made me a vegetarian. It’s sometimes hard when I go out to eat with friends, because they can eat anything. I’m always troubling the waiters, asking if they can prepare a vegan special.
Back in school, guys would be eating kenkey, and I would ask “what’s in the pepper” before I’d join in. Still do.
It’s always been a little problem in my relationships as well, because my partner would find it hard to decide on what to cook for me.
E: What bothers you about our society?
J: Well it pains me to see how we’re all spending so much time, chasing money and working, and we’re not spending enough time with our kids and family. I’m part of it.
I’ve got three kids, and I struggle to spend as much time as I want with them due to work. My son Carl, is 14; my daughter Paris is almost 7, and T.J is 3. My son is in America so I usually go out there to see him.
E: What do you see yourself doing in the not-too-distant future?
J: Well the TV and radio will come to an end eventually. I might do radio on the side, but the music will never die. I have written hundreds of songs that are just lying there.
I don’t want God to ask me what I did with my talent when I get to Heaven’s Gate. I also see myself doing some politics.
We always vote for politicians who come into power, and don’t deliver on their promises. I want to be in the position to ask them to be accountable for their actions.
African’s deserve better than what they’re getting. All this is after a few more Rock albums, mind you!!
E: Do you have a message for your fans?
J: Oh, yes!!They have been so supportive throughout the years, through my ups and downs. The true fans continue to remain loyal, and I will forever be grateful.
When they recognize me at the mall or whatever, they always come up to me for some interaction and it feels good.
Thanks to all those that are buying my music, a massive thanks! To the haters out there….peace out! Watch out for my new album, ‘Enigma’, coming soon.