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Q&A with William: Bisa Kdei on losing his mum, losing Instagram page, criticisms and more



He broke into the music scene in 2012 with his soundtrack, ‘Azonto Ghost’, and ever since he has constantly kept true to his word to knit authentic Highlife music to the world. Truly, he has successfully championed a cause that has earned him a spot on the world music radar.

Despite his many laurels and contributions towards projecting the rich Ghanaian Highlife music, Bisa Kdei hasn’t been spared from the rave of harsh criticisms from Ghanaians with some downplaying his efforts. But, amidst the uncertainties, Bisa Kdei hopes to transform lives not just in Africa, but the rest of the world and above all, to raise the flag of Ghana and be one of the strong pillars people can think of. In this interview, he walks us through his journey into music, achievements as well as debunk many rumors.

Q: Tell me about yourself and how music started for you?

A: My actual name is Ronald Kwaku Dei Appiah. I hail from the Eastern Region of Ghana. Born March 19th, 1986. I’ve always loved music since I was young. Everything started off with my parents loving music and always playing songs with our little radio receiver when I was younger. Along the line, I fell in love with it and decided to pursue music.


Q: You became a household name after the soundtrack for Azonto Ghost went viral. At what point did you decide to fully transition to mainstream music?

A: I was ready when Azonto Ghost went viral. It was a breakthrough song for me, actually. At the time, i was in a group called, Boys In Serious Action (BISA). So I didn’t stop, I kept pushing my works till we got to where we are now.

Q: When you started, what were the challenges you faced as an upcoming art?


A: I didn’t understand how the industry worked back then. It was crazy trying to learn. the ad had a lot of experiences, good ones, and bad ones but it thought me many lessons that have kept me through.

Q: Undoubtedly, you have great songs. How do you get inspiration for your songs?

A: I think it’s a blessing from above. I am inspired by everything that is happening around me. And it’s natural when it comes. I don’t have to force it.

Q: What goes into producing your hits, because you don’t just sing but produce your songs as well?


A: I believe stars are born and not made. I think I was born a creative person. Sometimes I sit down and listen to my works and I wonder how I made them. But in all, I think it balls down to my creativity.

Q: At what stage can you tell if a song will be a hit not just locally but internationally?

A: That is indecisive actually, I just put in my best work and put it out there. And sometimes the ones that you think will hit, doesn’t. Sometimes it does. So I think it’s God’s decision.

Q: For a young man to choose the arduous task of venturing into highlife at the time you did, what would you say influenced your choice and kind of music?


A: I believed in originality and considering where I’m from, which is Ghana, Highlife is our most original music genre. I had to do it because I always want to be recognized by where I’m from. And that is one thing that has really helped me on the international front.

Q: Over the years you’ve built a strong brand for yourself outside Ghana, how easy or difficult was that?

A: I wouldn’t say it was difficult because it was by the grace of God but then again I had to put in a lot of hard work. I stayed focused and true to the game and that’s how I was able to get out there.

Q: Do you still do music? Because it looks like you’ve been out of the picture for a while. What have you been up to?


A: I do. And this is what I was trying to explain. Some people within the media have created that stigma of me not working and that my career is drowning my… so even if you’re putting in the effort, people don’t recognize it because in their mind you are no more and that’s where the problem is.

Q: Years ago, Bisa and Becca were rumored to be in an amorous relationship owing to your close relationship. Both of you dispelled the rumors and Becca got married. How is your relationship with Becca now?

A: I mean we’re cool. I don’t have any problem with her. Becca was my friend but she is a married woman now and she can’t be bothered much, you know. So yeah, we are cool like that.

Q: You lost your mom the same day you released a super hit song “Mansa”. What went through your mind when you heard the news of your mother’s demise?


A: I was completely broken. As the song got bigger the pain got stronger. I never forget that day. I prefer not to talk about it. It brings back sad memories.

Q: In 2015 you lost your verified account, how adversely did that impact your career?

A: At that point, social media was getting bigger. It actually slowed me down a bit but I’m glad I’ve been able to build it back up. Gradually it’s growing.

Q: You certainly have got to have tough skin to be on social media, especially as a Celebrity. Do these harsh comments get to you in any way?


A: I have emotions but then again, I understand the game so I don’t let it get to me too much when I receive harsh comments on social media. I see it to be one of the things it comes with. It comes along with the job, therefore, you can’t do anything about it.

Q: You’re rumored to have said no one can break your record of taking Highlife music and its culture abroad even after your death. Do you still stand by your word bearing in mind the prospect of the new crop of talents springing up?

A: Well, I was actually misquoted. What I meant was, I am glad I have been able to set a pace that others are following, and even after my death, I want the legacy to live on. That was what I said I’m not sure I said what the media reported, actually.

Q: Do you feel sabotaged in any way?Because not too long ago you were in the news for blaming the media for sinking your career. Is that indicative that your career is taking a downward trajectory?


A: Not at all. I made a scenario on one of the radio stations I was interviewed on. It’s like you walk in my house and there is a loaf of bread and you eat it because you’re hungry then I go about telling people that you stole something from my house, obviously, people will tag you a thief. You walk into a place and people will start hiding their stuff because they think you’re coming to steal from them you know. It’s the same way. If I don’t release a song in a short period and you are on-air telling people that my career is drowning or you call my song funeral songs, which is actually not, you are creating more or less like a stigma in people’s mind about me. So even if I am working people will think I’m not because in their mind and from what they hear, I’m not. Which is not true.

Q: What do you make of the Ghanaian music industry now?

A: Now, it’s like everyone is doing their own thing. Some are actually good at what they do. I believe the industry needs a little bit of a push and with time, it will get better.

Q: Where do you think we’re falling short in the music industry?


A: A lot of things. I think the Ghanaian entertainment industry needs well-structured institutions to run it. It can get a lot better when we have well-structured institutions manning its affairs.

Q: We always compare ourselves to Nigerians, do you think Ghanaian artistes understand the game as much as the Nigerians do?

A: I think the comparison is not really important in this game. You just have to focus and keep polishing your craft. It’s a fact that Nigerians adopted Afro Beats from Ghana’s Highlife but be that as it may, it doesn’t mean we are better or they are better than us. It is not to say one understands the game more than the other. The fact is that we both have different systems and our approach and understanding of music might differ. The bottom line is that we are actually doing it well and it can only get better for all of us.

Q: Let’s talk about complacency, do you think Ghanaian artistes become too complacent hence draws them back from their rightful spot internationally?


A: I wouldn’t say complacent but it’s like most of us don’t learn hence making us not ready for the international market. The competition out there is tough and there are changes all the time so if you don’t learn, you can’t keep up with the pace out there and that’s where we fall short. I think as musicians, we need to learn so that we can adjust to the changes and trends.

Q: Most musicians have ventured into other businesses? Is that to say music isn’t lucrative in Ghana?

A: Music is very lucrative in Ghana. It just depends on the angle you see it and how you strategize. I’ve made a lot of money doing music business here in Ghana and outside. What we have to know is that, as a business, we must learn to strategize it so as to reap the full benefit there is in music, either than that we might end up not getting anything to hold on to.

Q: Aside from music, what else does Bisa Kdei do?


A: I actually went to school to become an architect. It’s one thing that I love and I’m actually very good at. But I have other businesses as well that I’m running on the side.

Q: Would you say you have “made it” financially in music?

A: Very much so, I will say yes because considering what I had when it all began and what I have now, there’s a vast difference. So yes, I’ve made money from music but still, there is a lot more to make. I will not be ungrateful to music. Music has given me a lot than I ever imagined.

Q: If you had the chance to change one thing about yourself, what would it be, and why?


A:(Laughs)… I think God made me in a way that he wanted me to be and I wouldn’t challenge God in any way so I will maintain what I am. I wouldn’t want to change anything

Q: It’s been your hope to transform lives not just in Africa, how do you seek to achieve that?

A: First of all most of my songs are inspirational which inspires people worldwide and also I have upcoming projects that I’m working on in that wise. Currently, I am a global warming ambassador for Ivory Coast. I have other philanthropic works going on here and there. It’s a big world, I’m one man, I can’t do all. But I will try my best to do my best.

Q: What should we expect from you in the coming years?


A: A lot. I have an album coming up this year which I’m working on at the moment. This will be my greatest of all time. But I can assure you there is a lot more ahead.

Q: What do you want to be remembered for when all is said and done?

A: One of the greatest pillars of highlife music.

Thank you so much, Bisa.