THAT Nigeria’s entertainment industry is experiencing a boom is no longer news. Especially when it comes to the music scene, the industry is exploding. There seems to be non-stop proliferation of raw talent even as there seems to be a release of a new song on almost every day.
The quality of music productions has increased vastly within a period over the last decade, and today, many Nigerian acts are in high demand across the continent. The list of musicians making waves is literarily endless.
The Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards was dubbed the ‘Black World Cup’ by American comedian, Chris Rock. Since 2010, the BET Award for Best International Act (Africa) has come to Nigerians; this year again, it went to a Nigerian artiste, Davido, who also recently took home two awards for Best Male and Artiste of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) held in Durban, South Africa.
Therefore, it makes sense for other African artistes to collaborate with the artistes from Nigeria, the country with the most popular and numerous A-list musical acts at the moment. Some of the notable collaborations include, Tanzania’s Diamond featuring Davido, South Africa’s Mafikizolo featuring May D, another South African rapper, A.K.A, has made Ice Prince a sparring partner in music and R2bees of Ghana has collaborated with Wizkid.
Also in the line-up of foreign artistes collaborating with Nigerian musicians is Rebecca Acheampong with the stage name ‘Becca,’ who is arguably Ghana’s most popular female artiste. She has made hits with her works titled “You Lied to Me”, and “I love You” featuring the South African maestro, Hugh Masekela.
Her soulful music was nominated in 2008 Kora Awards and Channel O Music Video Awards, while her single; Sugar, won the Record of the Year at the Ghana Music Awards.
She got her break into Nigeria entertainment industry and caught international recognition after featuring Nigeria’s Tuface Idibia and M.I. in songs titled “Bad man, Bad girl” and “No Away,” respectively. She recently released a new music video which featured Uhuru of South Africa.
In a meeting that took place at her office in Accra with Nigerian Tribune, she spoke extensively on her passion for Nigerian music and love for Nigerian artistes.
“I have been in love with Nigerian music for a while now. I have heard Nigerian gospel songs and I love them, even though I don’t know who it was that sang it. I started listening to Nigerian music since I was seven years old. I also started falling in love with Nigerian music when I heard 2face Idibia’s song ‘African Queen.’ 2face, MI, D’Banj, Waje, Brymo, Omowunmi, Wizkid really made me fall in love with Nigerian music,” Acheampong said when asked how she discovered her love for Nigerian music.
“Brymo is another artiste I would love to collaborate with next. I believe he’s an amazing artiste. I love his voice, and I really want to do a song with him,” she added.
Acheampong said that the experience with Nigerian artistes was exciting though the road to get there was rough. “It is always stressful when you are trying to get a contact. Usually people think getting through to an artiste is difficult but it is not. It is the people that are in between us that make it difficult.
“My experience with MI was amazing. He left all he was doing in Nigeria to shoot the video with me. I recorded in the studio with 2face, and he was amazing. No doubt, getting these two artistes in the beginning was difficult, but it was easy in the end,” she said.
She continued to express her passion for Nigerian musicians such that she admitted it could influence her choice of a marriage partner when she said, “I have never wished to settle down with a fellow artiste, but I don’t know who God might bring my way, but if I find someone in Nigeria who has the things I want in a man, I won’t mind.”
Speaking on her success on the Ghanaian music scene, the artiste called Becca said, “Well, I think I am doing well for myself over the years, and people see me as such. For me personally, I think this is just the beginning for me. I don’t want anything to get into my head at all. To me, it’s still my foundation stage and there’s more to come; and when that comes, when I become the biggest artiste in Africa, not just in Ghana, then I will celebrate it. For now, I thank God that people see me as the biggest artiste in Ghana, and it’s amazing.”
However, why did the artiste Ghanaians call their biggest in the country seek to have Nigerians singing alongside with her? She said her compelling reason to do this was that “I look up to many artistes in Nigeria. I also look at the set of artistes that I can feature that will make an impact. For example, 2face writes good songs, same thing applies to MI. I believe they are on top of their game, they believe in what they are doing.”
That Nigeria’s entertainment industry is having the biggest attention on the continent and even in the eyes of the Western world is a fact that Becca attests to. She agreed that truly there was a lot Ghana needed to learn from Nigeria entertainment industry to help Ghana entertainment industry grow.
In her words, “There is a lot of support in Nigeria that individuals and corporate organisations give to the industry, and Ghana lacks that. Our government needs to pump money in to the industry for it to flourish. Ghana entertainments need a functioning structure. Maybe you guys (Nollywood) can come down and help us in that aspect.”
Are Ghanaians jittery over this influence Nigerians have in Ghana? Recently Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG) started imposing fines on any Ghanaian producer who featured Nigerian actors and actresses in their movies.
Asked whether this action was taken in the spirit of brotherhood between the two nations, Acheampong responded saying, “I don’t think that Ghanaians don’t want to work with Nigerian actors and actresses. I think what they are trying to do is to encourage them to use their local actors and actresses, and for them to be able to stand on their own, because Nigerians do stand on their own.
“I do see Nigerian movies which do not have a single foreigner in them. They could have taken that step to control the influx of Nigerians in Ghana movies. I believe once Ghanaian movie industry is able to gain its ground, we won’t have any fear of Nigerians taking over the industry, even when they start inviting them.”