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The rise and rise of Kwab Asamoah

Ghanaian born fashion entrepreneur, Kwab (Kwabena) Asamoah continues to make waves in the United States through his Kustom Looks Clothier company. His classic styles, which have been embraced from corporate executives to star athletes and politicians, bring together the traditional art of custom clothes with a taste of modern tailoring. Kustom Look Clothier’s celebrity client […]

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Ghanaian born fashion entrepreneur, Kwab (Kwabena) Asamoah continues to make waves in the United States through his Kustom Looks Clothier company. His classic styles, which have been embraced from corporate executives to star athletes and politicians, bring together the traditional art of custom clothes with a taste of modern tailoring. Kustom Look Clothier’s celebrity client list includes news anchor Leon Harris, head of Republicans Michael Steele, Brian Mitchell former NFL Football Athlete, TOP Black CEO Russell Wright to name a few.

The company is five years old now, and although Kwab has no background in fashion or tailoring, his eye for quality and details has seen his success in the industry soaring through the years.  He started the company in his bedroom and was able to move into a studio by the following year until he finally opened his own shop last January in downtown Silver Springs, MD. This year, he would be working on a second store in Capitol Hill, right next to the US Congress and hopefully opening a third shop in his home country Ghana.

Kwab was born and raised in Kumasi and has been living in the States for over 30, where he runs the fashion line that makes custom cloths for men and ladies as well as children. Jamati online caught up with him earlier this year on a visit to Ghana to find out more about his fashion line and his future plans for fashion in Ghana.

Jamati: How did it start?

The company is five years old. My background is in engineering and physics and so it wasn’t anything that I dreamt about but the entrepreneur in me was interested in having his own business. I have been trying to have my own company since I was 21, and it was in fashion where it worked out. I started the company in my bedroom and then we were able to move into a studio by a year later and we opened the shop last January.

Jamati: What is your clientele base like?

We represent some prominent professionals in the Washington metropolitan area including the head of the republicans, Michael Steele and some professional athletes. Most of our clients are broadcasters, as a matter of fact in the DC area; we represent more people on TV than anybody else. Actually, each night there is someone on TV wearing one of our suits, from men to women. The number one news anchor in the DC area, Leon Harris who has worked for CNN wears our suits daily. We represent some kwab design10% of top 100 black businesses in the US, from executives down the ladder. We have clients that make an annual income in excesses of $100,000 upwards.  Starting the company, our biggest trend was to serve each client directly and individually so we don’t make anything that is a general size.  Everything is made 100% by hand and customized to each individual person. So it takes 2-3 weeks to make a garment but we feel that it is the best garment that the client has. And what we have seen is that our clients tend to wear our clothes to the most important occasions and meetings.

Jamati: How does Kustom Looks Clothier operate?

We have our own factory in Bangkok, Thailand; we have over 15 tailors and two directors. From there the items are shipped to our showroom in Silver Spring and we distribute to clients within the West Coast. Those within the Washington area are able to come to our showroom, where we have a master tailor (also from Ghana) always available to handle alterations, adjustments and any fittings that may be conducted. We have 3 sales reps and a Vice President of Marketing.  We also produce fashion shows so beyond the garments we market and coordinate events.  We are a full service company that also provide tailoring and alterations for garments that we didn’t make; so clients on the streets can bring in a garment from their closet and we cut and tailor it.

Jamati: What are the new trends in fashion?

The main thing that I am seeing now is that people are getting back to dress. Up to about 2007, it was pretty urban so we saw people in a lot of jeans and a lot t-shirts but those things are starting to change now. Even in the hip-hop arena we now see people wearing jeans and they wear it with a sport jacket. The days are starting to come in which the African-American community is starting to realize that with people like President Barack Obama in different positions, they have to be in a position to address their looks. So people are dressing and looking better. I think Obama has set a different precedence for the African-American race and I think we are taking a different conscience about our appearance, which is great for us because people are getting back to the button-up shirts, getting into jackets and starting to realize the value of the suit. The days that the brotherhood was about who is the hippest, the hardest or who is the man, has now switched to who is the smartest, who is the most educated or who is the most successful? So all these are now coming into fashion.

Jamati: So your clients are generally blacks

I would say about 90% of our clients are Africa-Americans mainly because when we started the company, I lived at Prince Georgia County, which is the most affluent county for African-Americans. So when I started the company, majority of my clientele were those in my surroundings. Since we moved to Silver Spring, we have been able to diversify our products and we now have different races that wear our garments. So we expect that trend to continue with us moving into DC and Capitol Hill, we are picking more Congressional folks, and we know that not many of them are black.

Jamati: Have you tried to incorporate African fabrics or motifs in your designs?

kwab design2Not really, what I am attempting to work on is to take the styles that we see in Africa and put it into more European centered garments.  What I mean is that a lot of ladies back home in Africa wear beautiful pieces from skirts to tops and those particular styles I think would translate well in America. However the American is more conservative with business so he wouldn’t wear the local prints from Africa; it’s a little bit more colourful and cheerful than he would want in the workplace. So if we can take the same style and give it to them in a grey, black or blue, they will wear it. That’s going to be one of the trends I am going to look into for 2010. We will try to take the styles from Africa and put it with the more universal European fabrics and see if we can get that out for a fashion show.

Jamati: What should we expect from Kustom Looks?

They should expect the best 100% hand-made garments as we continue to rise to the top. I believe 110% in our product and I believe that it would stand against any other product out there.  What we are looking forward to doing is to get our mother country to know about our product and to deliver it there. Our friends and family don’t have to travel abroad to get quality products. What we would rather do is to bring it to them so it becomes homegrown and available in Ghana. We want to show not only Ghana but the rest of the western hemisphere what we can do.

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Gospel singer QueenLet share how her SOKAAT music genre is making impact on lives

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Rising gospel artist, QueenLet, is gradually making waves on both local and international music scenes with her Soaking and Atmospheric (SOKAAT) music genre. (more…)

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How American tour operator, Rashad McCorey found a creative solution to tourism during COVID-19

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The tourism industry was one of the most affected during the COVID-19 pandemic but for American tour operator, Rashad McCorey it was a blessing in disguise.
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INTERVIEW: From Ghana to Italy and back, Shadowboy Myzic recounts his almost decade-long journey, new single ft. Kelvyn Boy and more

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The Ghanaian-Italian Afrobeat star may not be one you’ve heard enough of, but with his new single ‘Better’ out now, the floodgates are officially open. He’s keen on bridging the gap between Europe and African music; particularly through Afrobeat and his latest release featuring Kelyvn Boy is the plug.
Join us, as Shadowboy Myzic expounds on his enigmatic name and self, all down to a fiery Italian freestyle.
Enjoy.

Thanks for making time for us Shadowboy Myzic. It’s always a joy to host a new face. We can’t help but ask, why Shadowboy Myzic? What’s the story behind such an enigmatic name?
The name Shadowboy Myzic is spiritual blessing from my lovely mother. She used to call me (sunsum) when I was a child simply because my mother is very known in the city of Palermo and a market woman. She owns African shops and restaurants in Palermo. In my childhood, I was the personal assistant to my mother, whenever she goes out of the shop, I assist her until she returns. During that period, being a child growing I need time to play with my friends so as soon as I see my mother returns, I have to vanish to join my friends to play and the old woman will look for me everywhere but will not find me then she will be like you are indeed (sunsum) because you can vanish in a twinkle of an eye. From there I got ‘’sunsum’’ attached to my name.

Looking for a stage name, I felt ‘’sunsum’’ was a blessing from my mother because our shadows follow us everywhere. That’s where I got Shadowboy and Myzic simply means in our own interpretation, (my music). That’s where Shadowboy Myzic was generated.

You featured Kelyvn Boy on your new single, ‘Better’ and some fans may be wondering; “Who’s this new guy?” Mind telling us about yourself and Myzic Empire?
Daniel Kyei is my name, I was born in Ghana and raised in Palermo, Italy. I started writing music at the age of 9 but I got my first opportunity to record at the age of 18 – my first mixtape which then gave me the energy to do more and also set up a record label called Myzic Empire Records. Thanks to my first mixtape that I launched in 2012, I got some attention from my community Palermo where I got lots of compliments but no one was ready to give me a big push so I continued slowly with my friend, Kwamzizy who was the only one who supported me in when I needed to shoot videos for my mixtapes back then. In our little ways we managed to get noticed by some people in our city where we grew up but it wasn’t enough to get to the big platforms.

Despite these difficulties, I continued to push my music 24/7 through the DJ nights and shows I use to play in Palermo. Thank God in 2017 my manager, Mr. Kenneth decided to take me, my music and Myzic Empire to another level. The same year 2017 I released my first single recorded in a professional studio with a music video which revived everything. The single was titled ‘Higher’.

In 2018, I launched an EP titled ‘’Genesis’’. With that EP, the whole Team Myzic Empire and myself went on tour in Ghana for some works and radio tour. In Ghana we managed to connect to some artists and people in the industry where we did some jobs and many other things. In 2019 on our return to Italy, though, we stopped releasing due to studies and some other things, I always continued to work hard for my music and on many other projects that soon the world will witness.

In 2020, I released some freestyles whiles planning on releasing my new projects, all of a sudden Coronavirus shut the world down. The pandemic got me paused, but at the same time got me work harder on many other projects at home. During the pandemic, I was at home with a Ghanaian producer called, Almighty Streetbeatz whom was in my city at that time we worked and created a lot of good music for the world.
This is a little about me and Myzic Empire.

9 years is a long time to be doing music. Any experiences or advice you’d like to share?
Absolutely, yes 9 years is a long time, but as I said in my previous answer the main reason was because, I did not have enough support at that time and I think everything has it’s time and God was still preparing me for the world. My little advice to all my fellow young artist is, do look down on yourself, give you your talent a chance to work though you, be humble and respectful.

Is there any other artist in the diaspora you’re keen on working with soon apart from Kelyvn Boy?

Yes, I would like to collaborate with all the possible artists with whom I can. I’m opened and ready to work with any artist so we can explore the Afro music in Italy, Europe and the globe.

How receptive have Italians been of your music and Afrobeat in general? Enlighten us.

Doing Afro songs in Italy was very difficult back then. The majority of the population of Italians was ignorant about our culture, the rhythm of the Afro songs sounded very wired to their hearing because of the language barrier. Now thank God things are changing, new things are being learnt and the Italians are ready to accept the Afro music in so many ways, that’s why my team and I thought of strategizing the ways of productions by mixing multiple tongues to also make it favorable for everyone to understand my communications with them through my music.

I can gladly say I’m welcomed everywhere I go in Italy especially in my city (Palermo) where this adventure of mine started. The new generation have accepted and embrace Afro music, thanks to our hard work now you can hear Afro music playing in Italian clubs, parties, restaurants, bars, shopping malls etc. I’m so grateful for this day.

We doubt learning Italian was a walk in the park, especially coming from an Anglophone and Asante background. Gist us.

Hehehe :). Oh, frankly speaking, Italian language one of the most beautiful, sexiest and jovial languages I’ve ever known on earth, though it’s difficult to learn, I love and I’m very proud of myself that I can speak, read and write this language. The importance is knowing how to eat and dress Italian will bring your back from the park into an Italian classroom, hahahahahahaa.

Now, the moment everyone’s been waiting for. Mind free styling in Italian for us?

Sputo fuoco come un drago Sono cercato come un ladro Non mi prendi fossi mato Nella moto vado vrom
Con gli amici vroom vroom

Sono il nero siciliano
Suona strano, molto strano Sono il nero siciliano (huh)

Ho visto la morte lo visto sul ponte
Mi ha reso forte c’è scritto sulla fronte

Divina commedia e stato come Dante Non parlo tanto tu sai chi hai di fronte

Haha. That’s a mouthful. Any big plans before 2021 ends? What moves are you making and how can fans keep tabs you?

Yes, I have many projects in progress. I am working on some projects which will be released soon. This one with Kelvyn Boy is one of the first but after that we will fly with lots of other works. Though I still have a long way to go, this does not disempower me because my mind is made up to do good music and my new projects are something new in Italy, Africa and it will be new in the whole universe soon so I invite all my fans and everyone to supporter and fasten their belts, we are about to start.

Listen to Shadowboy Myzic’s new single ‘Better’ featuring Kelvyn Boy here: https://afrisounds.lnk.to/ShadowBetter and watch the video below.

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INTERVIEW: Dove Nicol opens up on her adventure so far, debut single and more

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Dove Nicol, a new and probably the most exciting artist to grace the Ghanaian music scene is confident in winning fans over with her debut single ‘Calm Down’. She’s dedicated to becoming one of Ghana’s most streamed artists and with a voice as authentic as hers, the songbird is all set.

Dove Nicol’s rise from Sierra Leone to Ghana is a unique adventure worthwhile and in this exclusive interview, we take time to explore her very lively character as she updates us on the adventure so far and her debut single, among other gists.

 

Hello Dove and welcome. It’s great to have you around. Like every music fan out there, I’m quite curious. Who is Dove Nicol? Blow our mind.

Dove Nicol is a creative, a pioneer who believes in the power of the African sound, music, culture, heritage and its influence in the world stage. I believe Africa is on the rise and we are living in the era of the African creative industries global domination and worldwide takeover and as a creative blessed by God with the talent of music, I am merely just playing my own part in the fulfillment of this reality.

You’re finally out with your debut single ‘Calm Down’, mind sharing the story behind it?

‘Calm Down’ is a song about love and relationships. The idea behind it places focus on the internal struggles we go through as lovers. It places focus on two sides of a spectrum. On the one hand, you hear the willingness of both partners wanting to love each other and be loved. And on the other, the anxiety and uneasiness that comes with the feelings of mistrust and insecurities that they have both experienced from past relationships which overshadows their ability to fully love and fall in love with each other. The chorus then comes in to serve as a stress reliever telling both parties to calm down, just be at peace and fall into love with each other. The song generally gives a soothing peaceful feeling to the ear.

It seems you were destined to have a career in music growing up. How is it going and what has your greatest challenge since taking it head on been?

Yes, I do believe I was meant for music and it has been the source of my livelihood since I was a child. If I’m been honest, I have received several challenges along the way to getting here. The biggest challenge I believe is getting others to believe in your dreams as much as you do. I can see the vision of where I want to go and who I can become but because I do not have the resources or avenue to get people to see that possibility, it’s hard and sometimes almost impossible to get others to believe in that dream too.

Alot of people only want to be a part of your success, when you have achieved it but are not willing to help you get there. The journey can really be a great struggle for a lot of aspiring artists who have the talent for it but no external backing to let their voices be heard. For me, I was only able to defeat this challenge through perseverance, the Grace of God and my belief in myself to continue going-on no matter the odds.

Are there any Ghanaian artists you admire and hope to work with sometime soon?

There are a lot of Ghanaian artists out there that have really helped shape the future of Ghanaian music and their relentlessness and tireless efforts have paved the way for emerging artists like me to go after our goals. People like Efya, Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, Kofi Antwi, Bibie Brew, Wiyalaa, Kwesi Arthur, King Promise and many many more talented souls I will definitely see myself working with during the course of my journey in the industry.

Beyond the world of music, where else does your passion lie?

Beyond music I have always aspired to become a philanthropist and a humanitarian. I want to create charitable organizations and help children that are less privileged to achieve a better future. Africa has the largest youth population and majority of them are multi-talented in areas they themselves are not even aware of. If only we had more institutions that can cater to the needs of less privileged children and our youths growing up, our economy will flourish immensely.

What is a day in your life is like?

A day in the life of Dove is typical – wakeup, pray, shower, eat and eat a lot, do my daily routines, some reading, attend to any business calls or meetings I may have during the course of the day and make time to speak with family before the end of the day. Oh, and go to the gym at least 4 times a week to keep fit.

There’s still a lot of ground to cover in 2021. What are your plans? Should fans expect more?

Yes, definitely. Expect a lot from Dove in 2021 but expect a lot more from Dove in 2022. I want my supporters to know that I’m ready and prepared. ‘Calm Down’ was just the ice breaker. I have a ton of creative content ready to flood the market. It’s just a matter of timing. But in due time they shall receive all that I have to offer and will get to know more and more about me as my story unfolds.

I can’t wait to meet the world and for the world to meet Dove. It’s going to be a productive year definitely.

 

Dove Nicol’s ‘Calm Down’ is available on all digital streaming platforms globally here: https://lnk.to/dovenicol-calmdown/

 

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Onyeka Nwelue captures E.T Mensah’s pioneering role in highlife music in controversial biopic, ‘Other Side of History’

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Nigerian author and filmmaker, Onyeka Nwelue continues production for his upcoming biopic, ‘Other Side of History’, after wrapping up with additional scenes shot in Ghana. (more…)

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WATCH: How Ghanaian drummer, Abass Dodoo became a regular choice for the British Royal Family

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Abass Dodoo became a regular choice for the British Royal Family

UK-based Abass Dodoo is professional Ghanaian musician, performer and music teacher, whose skills earned him several opportunities to perform for the British Royal Family. (more…)

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