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Ghana's next big things

PROVING A HIT: Kidi has worked with African masters like Davido; inset, Kidi with Kuame Eugene, right, and King Promise. Photos: KYMAGES

KIDI AND Kuami Eugene may not be household names here in the UK – yet – but in Ghana they have already more than made their mark on the music scene.

Afrobeats fans in the UK were treated to their live performances earlier this month at Ghanaian Independence celebrations all around the UK as Akwaaba Entertainment Group took them on tour with fellow Ghanaian hitmaker King Promise.

It was a tour that was tinged with sadness, as it was set to include dancehall Afrobeats star Ebony, who tragically lost her life on February 8 aged only 20. But, as they say, the show must go on and the three wowed audiences from London to Leicester, with a touching tribute to their beloved Ebony at every show.

With the tour done, Kidi and Kuami took the opportunity to get in the studio with some of the UK’s finest (expect some hits coming soon!) – and have a sit down with me, of course – to discuss UK audiences, appearing on reality TV shows and the impact that Ebony had on Ghanaian music.

KIDI... ON UK AUDIENCES
Over here is a relatively new crowd to perform to. I mean, before I got here, I used to see my UK people jam to my song on Snapchat or Instagram and all of that, so I kind of had an idea that they knew my songs.

But it’s always different performing, so, you never really know how to go about it. But I mean, good music is good music, when the vibe is right, people party with you.

The love at home is massive, but these past few days, London has showed me that there is love all over the world for me.

...ON HOOKING UP WITH DAVIDO AND MAYORKUN FOR THE REMIX OF HIS HIT SINGLE ‘ODO’ Mayorkun is crazy about Ghana and he was in town, he was do- ing a radio tour, and promoting himself, and he heard the song and he loved it. He hit me up like, “Chale, you know what, your song Odo, I’d love to be in a remix of that” and I was like, “Oh cool, cool – come by the studio”.

So, he came by the studio and he recorded his verse and took it back home to Nigeria. You know he’s signed with Davido’s label DMW? So he took it back to Davido and he loved it. He was also like, “You know what, I think you are not the only one who is going to be on this song – I want to be on this song!” And when Davido says, “I want to be in your song” you just say yes! You know, there’s no room for debate, you don’t say, “You know what Davido, I think this song is already good, I’ll come back to you”, no, no, no...

He is one of the biggest artists in Africa, so it’s a privilege for him to be in my song. It was an easy decision to make.

KUAME EUGENE... ON BEING ON REALITY SHOW MTN HITMAKER
I learned how to play music and I started to record my own songs with a keyboard, a guitar, the piano and the drums. Yeah, so I have been that music boy for a very long time, even when I had no one to help me. In 2015 I joined MTN Hitmaker and I was second runner-up.

It was fun because it is the biggest reality show in our country, people vote and peo- ple really get to know you. Your face is out there: billboards, fly- ers, artwork and social media. So, it was a great avenue for me to meet a person like Richie Mensah, he owns one of the biggest record labels in our country, if not the biggest. He signed me and I recorded a few songs, I started from nowhere, and now I am the guy with one of the biggest songs in Africa today, which is Angela. It was a process, and I still love the fact that I wasn’t sure about the competition, but it was an opportunity for me to say, “Go be”, to become the person, the Kwame Eugene, that I am today. It has not been easy at all.

...ON MISSING EBONY
It has been very, very difficult. She was very close to me. I remember when I released my new song, Confusion, the song was a hit in two days. And she was like, “Whoa, you have something”. We laughed about this.

Her last show, we headlined it together, myself and Ebony. Three days after that she was no more. It was so sad. And I couldn’t do anything about it. I was off social media for like two days. People were complaining that I was not posting anything, but I was down, I couldn’t even pick up the phone or say anything to any friend.

I am a very strong guy, but for the first time I shed tears. She has really gone. Her voice made her so special. The way she commands when she was singing, you can tell that the girl was not scared of anything. Only a few people have that.

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