Routine Breaker – Can Joe Mettle Win The Artiste Of The Year Award?

Routine Breaker – Can Joe Mettle Win The Artiste Of The Year Award?

Ghana’s music awards have seen its fair share of controversies. And it’s been mostly centered on who deserves to win the coveted Artiste of the year award. Since its inception in the year 2000 by Charter House Production, the coveted artiste of the year award has only been won by Ghanaian Secular artistes. Although gospel musicians have had a fair number of nominations over the years, no gospel artiste has managed to wrestle the award out of the grasps of their secular counterparts. Kweku Gyasi and Ohemaa Mercy were hotly tipped to break the trend in 2007 and 2008 respectively, but lost it narrowly to Samini and Kwaw Kese in those respective years.

This year the mantle has fallen on Joe Mettle, a young and enterprising gospel artiste, to break the 17year old Jinx. Joe’s colleagues in the gospel music industry – Nana Kweku Osei (Popularly called Nacee) and Sonnie Badu, have called upon members of the gospel fraternity to rally behind him to wrestle the title from his other competitors. Joe Mettle is contending with MzVee, Medikal, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy and EL for the artiste of the year award at this year’s Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.

There’s been so much talk about this year’s nominations, with some gospel artistes saying they do not campaign for awards unlike their secular counterparts. We’ve also heard several comments in the past as to why Ghanaian gospel artistes will never win the award, from artistes and music fans alike. Notable of these was Nacee’s assertion that Charter house has a business motive for not letting gospel artistes win the award, mainly because the after party for the awards is held in one of the sponsoring night clubs. Hence a gospel artiste winner (who is expected to perform at the after party) would not be able to pull crowd to the event. Dada KD, a secular artiste also asserted that the “Jealous and hypocritical” natures of gospel artistes has impeded their ability to win the award.

So truly, why has no gospel artiste won the artiste of the year award? Is it that gospel artistes are not working hard enough to put their songs in ways that will get the attention of everyone? Or that the awards are given based on favoritism? Some great players in the industry give a few reasons as to why gospel artistes do not win. A few reasons given aside Nacee’s assertion of the business motive include Branding…That gospel artistes have branded themselves in a unique and “funny” way that restricts them to the church and other “holy” places. Another reason given was content of the songs. (Personally, I don’t really get that particular point, as gospel artistes take their songs from the bible so they would most likely be ‘Bible biased’). Other reasons given have been poor publicity, marketing, and stage performance.

With all that said the critical question remains, Can Joe Mettle become the first gospel artiste to win the Artiste of the year award? Joe Mettle has been very busy in the past year, traveling the length and breadth of the country. He’s been busy outside the country as well, performing in Countries like South Africa Canada and the United Kingdom. Personally, I think Joe Mettle is an awesome musician. He’s one of the best musicians I have come across. If any of the previously stated reasons are what we are to go by, Joe Mettle’s publicity and marketing has been one of the best of I have personally seen of any gospel artiste. Him, Nacee and Sonnie Badu. And his songs are arguably some of the most inspiring worship and praise songs the gospel music industry has been blessed with. The fact still remains though that the award is still given to the most popular artiste according to the fans. And if we will face facts, secular artistes tend to be vastly more popular to followers of the VGMAs. (I doubt my church pastors and deacons have even heard that they have to vote for the nominees to win. Hahaha.) And that is the drawback most gospel artiste nominees face, whereas their secular counterparts have massive fans voting for their favorites to win the award.

Joe Mettle stands a great chance of winning the much coveted award for the first time for the gospel fraternity. But he must first accumulate enough votes to defeat his secular competitors.

By William Ekow Dadson

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