Being an artist in a big market such as the United States is generally a tough one, but being a Ghanaian artist based there takes the challenges twentyfold higher. How do you get your music heard? And who is even your target?
Often such musicians find the Ghanaian or African community in their locality as their immediate target, and then try to spread it across those communities in the various States. But it is not that easy, in addition to struggling for relevance with mainstream American music, they have to contend with big hits from back home in Ghana and Africa, which travel all the way to America!
I caught up with New-Jersey based Ghanaian artist, Perry for find out more about the life of a Ghanaian artist living in America. “It is very stressful; we don’t have any support from promoters or DJs,” says Perry.
“We don’t have Ghanaian or African radio satiations because it is a big place. We rely on social media, friends etc. to promote our music. Most of our DJs like to play songs that are already hits, and so they don’t play songs from new artists who are not popular. “
Comparing the African community in the US to that of the UK, Perry observed that Africans are scattered all over the States, making it difficult to have a common and united front. According to him, to have a truly successful Ghanaian event in the US, it is important to attract the African crowd, which involves a lot of planning and money, which most Ghanaian promoters shy away from.
“There is a big difference between Nigerian and Ghanaian promoters. Nigerians are more into the business, they always have the positive attitude; not afraid to explore opportunities and pump in money into their events.”
Perry also argued that most Ghanaian promoters don’t like to pay US-based artists well. According to him, the matter is made worse because when Ghanaian artists come to perform in America, promoters do not pay them well enough. So promoters feel that if they are paying less for artists with hits to come from Ghana and perform in the US, then why pay more for a US artist who doesn’t have a hit song.
“ Most artists coming form Ghana accept these monies because when they go back home and exchange to cedis, it seems a lot but for us here, it is normal to us!”
Watch my full interview with Perry below: