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Wizkid, The Weeknd, others win Apple Music Award

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Apple today announced the winners of the third annual Apple Music Awards, recognizing the best artists of 2021 and their influence on global culture.

The Apple Music Awards honor achievements in music across five distinct categories — Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Top Song of the Year, and Top Album of the Year — and winners are chosen through a process that reflects both Apple Music’s editorial perspective and what customers around the world are listening to the most.

This year, the Apple Music Awards will introduce a new category of awards for Regional Artist of the Year, recognizing artists from five countries and regions: Africa, France, Germany, Japan, and Russia. The Regional Artist of the Year awards recognize artists who made the greatest impact culturally and on the charts in their respective countries and regions.

“The past 12 months have proved to be a remarkable year for music, and we’re thrilled to honor the artists who are shaping culture and connecting with fans around the world on Apple Music,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats. “This year we’re also recognizing more regional artists, showing the world the impact of extraordinary talented musicians who are making waves globally.”

The Apple Music Awards celebration kicks off Tuesday, December 7, 2021, with interviews, original content, and more all streaming worldwide on Apple Music and the Apple TV app. Music fans who are not already subscribed to Apple Music can sign up for a three-month free trial at apple.com/apple-music.

And the winners are…

Global Artist of the Year: The Weeknd

Filtering R&B and pop through an ambitious widescreen lens, The Weeknd took over popular music and culture on his own terms. The global superstar’s 2020 album “After Hours” quickly surpassed one million pre-adds on Apple Music, and is the most pre-added album of all time by a male artist on the platform. “After Hours” also holds the record for the most streamed R&B/Soul album in its first week in 73 countries. The smash single “Blinding Lights” peaked at No. 1 on Apple Music’s Daily Top 100: Global chart, and ranks as one of the 20 most Shazamed songs of all time. The Weeknd also hosts the massively popular taste-making Apple Music Radio show “MEMENTO MORI,” celebrated for its eclectic playlists and major world premieres. He’s graced recent covers of TIME, Forbes, Variety, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, and GQ, and blew away fans with his 2021 Super Bowl LV Halftime Show, which was one of the most Shazamed moments of the year.

“I’m so grateful for this huge honor and want to thank Apple for all its support, not only for my work but also for great music by newer artists, where it matters so much for creators to be found and supported,” The Weeknd said.

Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year: Olivia Rodrigo

For Olivia Rodrigo, 2021 will go down as the year of epic firsts. The 18-year-old singer-songwriter released her tear-soaked debut single, “drivers license,” in January, which quickly topped the charts and became one of the most streamed new releases of the year. “drivers license” registered the highest first-week streams ever for a debut single by an artist on Apple Music globally, reaching No. 1 on the Daily Top 100: Global chart, where it remained for over a month, and was the fastest-ever debut solo track by a US artist to accumulate five million Shazams. Her highly anticipated debut album, “SOUR,” followed in May, and was celebrated with an Apple Music First Listen virtual event with fans and an accompanying interview with Zane Lowe. “SOUR” carries the highest first-week streams for a debut album on Apple Music globally, with all 11 songs on the album ranked on the Daily Top 100: Global chart, as well as the Daily Top 100 chart in 66 additional countries. Rodrigo has been on the cover of Apple Music playlists Today’s Hits, A-List Pop, and New Music Daily, and closes her life-changing year as the deserving recipient of her first three Apple Music Awards. She took home Breakthrough Artist, Album of the Year (“SOUR”), and Song of the Year (“drivers license”).

“I did my first interview for ‘drivers license’ with Apple Music, and so much has happened since then,” Rodrigo said. “It’s truly surreal. Thank you to Apple Music for these amazing awards.”

Songwriter of the Year: H.E.R.

Award-winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist H.E.R.’s work within the R&B genre grew even more expansive in 2021 with the release of her acclaimed 21-track album “Back of My Mind,” which captures the artist at her most brilliant, confident, and freewheeling. The chart-topping album was the third most streamed R&B/Soul album on Apple Music in its first week of release by a female artist this year, with singles “Damage” and “Come Through” (featuring Chris Brown) both spending multiple weeks on the Daily Top 100 chart in over 30 countries. The former Apple Music Up Next artist also penned the anthemic original “Fight for You” for the celebrated motion picture “Judas and the Black Messiah,” and covered Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” for Apple Music’s exclusive “Juneteenth: Freedom Songs” compilation. H.E.R. is a regular guest on Zane Lowe and Ebro Darden’s shows on Apple Music 1, and she has been featured as the cover of popular Apple Music playlists New Music Daily, R&B Now, and more.

“I am very honored and blessed to receive this recognition,” H.E.R. said. “As a young Black and Filipino artist, and a woman who is on the stage giving my all, there’s no doubt that representation is important. Thank you so much, Apple Music.”

Artist of the Year (Africa): Wizkid

Singer-songwriter Wizkid is one of Africa’s biggest crossover acts, having worked with Drake, Skepta, and Chris Brown, among others. The Nigerian musician first found regional success in 2011 with the massively popular single “Holla at Your Boy,” which appeared on his debut album, “Superstar.” Wizkid went global in 2016 after his collaboration with Drake on “One Dance,” which soared to the top of the charts in 15 countries. Between 2019 and 2020, Wizkid was featured in Beyoncé’s projects “The Lion King: The Gift” and its companion piece, “Black Is King.” In October 2020, he released “Made in Lagos,” his critically acclaimed and most commercially successful album, which included his hit song “Essence,” a track that gained 125 million plays on Apple Music and over 2.8 million Shazams. This past year, he’s been the most streamed African artist on the continent on Apple Music and ranked on the Daily Top 100 charts in 60 countries, in addition to his monthly plays on Apple Music growing by more than 250 percent outside of Africa. He’s also been featured on Apple Music’s Today’s Hits and R&B Now playlists, and he’s a frequent guest on Apple Music Radio shows, including “Africa Now Radio,” “The Ebro Show,” “New Music Daily with Zane Lowe,” and “OVO SOUND RADIO.”

“Thank you to Apple Music for this award,” Wizkid said. “It’s a blessing to get to do what I do, and I’m proud to be representing for Africa.”

Artist of the Year (France): Aya Nakamura

French-Malian pop singer Aya Nakamura is the most streamed Francophone artist in the world. Best known for her hit song “Djadja,” she has released three albums featuring countless chart-topping songs, including “Copines,” “Pookie,” “Plus Jamais,” and “Jolie nana,” and she has been on the cover of Apple Music’s Hits Français playlist. In France, Nakamura is one of the only female artists to consistently appear in the streaming charts in a market dominated by male rappers, and her album “AYA” garnered the highest first-week streams for an album released by a female artist on Apple Music. Her songs “Jolie nana” and “Plus Jamais” hold the top two spots for the highest first-week streams for a song by a female artist on Apple Music in France, and all 15 songs on the album entered the Daily Top 100 chart in France, Belgium, and Niger, with “Jolie nana” peaking at No. 1 in those countries. Her song “Bobo” also peaked at No. 1 on the Daily Top 100 chart in France, Niger, Cape Verde, and Micronesia. It marked her fifth single topping France’s Daily Apple charts.

“I am extremely honored to be the very first Francophone artist to win an Apple Music Award as Artist of the Year (France),” Nakamura said. “Thank you, Apple!”

Artist of the Year (Germany): RIN

Rapper Renato Simunovic, aka RIN, was born in 1994 in Bietigheim-Bissingen near Stuttgart in the south of Germany. After releasing his first EP, “Genesis,” in 2016, his debut album, “Eros,” followed quickly in 2017. A 25-time gold and three-time platinum artist, RIN has performed countless live shows, done features with legends, and collaborated with some of the world’s most influential brands. With his third album, “Kleinstadt,” RIN freed himself from the idea of what German rap should sound like, and fans and critics alike cite this album as hugely influential in shaping the current sound of rap in the south of Germany. He was the first German artist to host his own show on Apple Music, “KLEINSTADTRADIO,” tied to the new album, and he has graced the cover of Apple Music’s HYPED and Deutschrap 100 playlists.

“2021 was such a good year for me because it has borne a lot of fruit of things that I postponed for a long time,” RIN said. “My music has evolved in the same sense. I am much more personal.”

Artist of the Year (Japan): OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM

Formed in Shimane, Japan, in 2012, OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM, aka HIGEDAN, consists of lead vocalist and keyboardist Satoshi Fujihara, guitarist Daisuke Ozasa, bassist and saxophonist Makoto Narazaki, and drummer Masaki Matsuura. They released their debut mini album, “Love to Peace wa Kimi no Naka,” in 2014. Their first full-length album, “Escaparade” — which includes their popular song “No Doubt” — was released in 2018, but it was their second single, “Pretender,” that rocketed to the top of the Apple Music charts in Japan. HIGEDAN entered Shazam’s emerging artists lists in Japan and Australia for the first time in June 2019, ahead of the release of the band’s follow-up album, “Traveler,” which became their first No. 1 album in Japan. The group has been featured in three different Apple Music Japan commercials, with their hit songs “Stand by You” and “I Love…,” along with the 2021 song “Apoptosis,” taken from their third album, “Editorial,” which carries the third-highest first-week streams for an album released in 2021 in Japan, and was recently featured in an Apple Music Japan spatial audio with Dolby Atmos commercial. The band has also made several guest appearances on “J-Pop Now Radio” on Apple Music 1.

“We didn’t know Japanese artists could win this award and were shocked when we were told,” the band said. “We’re super happy to be the winners of the first Apple Music Award for Artist of the Year (Japan).”

Artist of the Year (Russia): Scriptonite

Rapper Scriptonite, aka Adil Zhalelov, was discovered by Basta and signed to his label Gazgolder in 2015. Scriptonite’s debut album, “House with Normal Activity,” became an instant classic and has been deemed one of the biggest records of the new Russian hip-hop revolution. In 2017, Scriptonite followed up with two more LPs on Gazgolder, rising to the top-ranked producer and performer of the current hip-hop era, with fans and critics crediting him as the most important voice and sound of the new generation. After starting his own label, Musica36, in 2019, Scriptonite’s “2004” album was released exclusively on Apple Music to critical acclaim, becoming the No. 1 streamed record of the year. Scriptonite also holds the record for the two most streamed albums for its first week on Apple Music in five countries (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova). His single “Baby Mama” landed him in the Top 20 of worldwide Shazam charts. In 2020, Apple Music exclusively released the short film “Behind Scriptonite’s ‘2004’” along with a “36 Jam” live concert of all Musica36 artists. This year saw the release of his album “Svistki Y Bumazhki,” as well as a COVID-postponed show in Moscow, both released exclusively on Apple Music. Scriptonite has graced the covers of Apple Music’s Kirillitsa, Russian Hits, and New Music Daily playlists, and he’s currently working on his first English-language record in collaboration with Gee Baller, a young Nigerian rising star who recently signed to Musica36.

“This award is the culmination of an incredible few years, and Apple Music has been with me for so much of it along the way,” Scriptonite said. “Thank you for the recognition.”

 

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DStv For Business Enhancing Customers’ Experience with The Right Mix of Entertainment

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At the heart of any business is the customer and at DStv Ghana, the goal is to evolve daily to meet the demands of the ever-changing and competitive market. In a bid to cater to its wide array of audiences, Africa’s number one Pay TV company, MultiChoice Africa has repositioned its commercial service “DStv For Business” with packages specially curated with the right edutainment content to suit various businesses.

According to the Acting Head, DStv For Business, Kelvin Kamasa, “our objective is to deliver a pay TV experience designed for your business. The content and packages are specifically curated to seamlessly fit into the way commercial customers consume it. Our solution for hotels for instance allows guest in different rooms to watch their choice of channels without the intervention of the front desk personnel. Your clientele can continue watching their favourite shows/channels whenever they are on the road for business or stop by your office, hotel, or pub. DStv For Business has a tailored package to suit your business size and pocket so you can have the best working moments with DStv.”

MultiChoice Ghana continues to improve its service offerings over time, with the addition of consultancy service for High-rise buildings, multiple user dwelling on how DStv can be installed. The DStv For Business unit can advise on countless options to ensure the incorporation of either our IPTV service or other alternatives to a seamless and cost-effective TV entertainment solution to your high rise or estate project. According to the Managing Director, MultiChoice Ghana, Alex Okyere, the business is all about the customer’s experience, and the greatest motivation for his team is to offer more value for money to not just our domestic users but commercial users.

DStv For Business has three main offers; DStv Work, DStv Play and DStv Stay. Each package is tailored to suit the needs of offices, bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels and so on. The essence of this, Kelvin Kamasa explains, is to tailor content to specific customers to enhance their viewing experience. Instead of having to watch a wide array of content, these DStv For Business packages now give you what you want based on business customers’ needs and preferences.

The DStv Work package offers the latest news headlines from around the world, sports, weather updates and other work-related entertainment. The goal here is to set the tone for a stimulating work environment and keep everyone well informed. The Work packages are best suited for offices, banks, and other corporate organizations.

The DStv Play packages are best suited for businesses such as pubs, restaurants, bars, clubs, café, and betting houses. These packages enhance the guest’s experience and ensure that they are always entertained with their favourite sports programmes and other first-class entertainment.

The DStv Stay packages are suited for hotels, motels, lodges, resorts, Air BnB’s and serviced apartments. Giving each guest whether a kid, adult or elderly a memorable in-room experience during their stay.

One important feature is that these packages they can be tailored to customers’ budget. This means that customers can enjoy entertainment at a certain threshold which is a unique offer. For less than Ghs 170, one can enjoy several channels. For instance, the DStv Stay (Basic), offers customers an array of entertainment with more than ten channels spanning sports, news, kiddies’ channel, and music with just GHs77.

Businesses also have the flexibility of choosing a package that perfectly suits your business model without worrying about not having the popular channels needed by customers. From small entrepreneurs to 5-star hotels, multinational corporations and government agencies, every business has something that works for them.

For hotels, their customers get a mix of carefully selected movies, music, and sports channels as well as documentary channels. This is the same for a financial establishment where customers are more concerned about the latest updates from the financial sector and latest news over that of a music or movie channel like Akwaaba Magic Abusua and ROK Gh. Similarly,  fast-food joints, pubs and clubs will be in tune with Trace Jama, Akwaaba Magic, SuperSports channels over National Geographic Channel or News channels.

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Fly Emirates to Dubai and enjoy a free night’s stay at Fairmont The Palm

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Ghanaian Travellers planning their next escape to Dubai and beyond who purchase an Emirates return ticket in First or Business Class can enjoy a complimentary night’s stay at one of Dubai’s most iconic hotels (more…)

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IIPGH, AFOS Foundation and partners launch Tech Job Fair (TJF) 2023

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Organisers and partners at the launch of Tech Job Fair 2023

Organisers of the annual Tech Job Fair (TJF) are geared up to give potential employees and employers yet another thrilling and exciting opportunity to recruit and be recruited into the job market after a media launch of the fair in Accra. (more…)

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Ghana’s Nana Yaa Serwaa Sarpong honoured as Female Entrepreneur of the Year at AWELFA 2023

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Ghana’s Nana Yaa Serwaa Sarpong has been honoured for her contribution to Women and Business in Africa at the Africa Women Economic and Leadership Forum and Awards (AWELFA 2023), held in Cameroon. During the forum, Miss Sarpong spoke on the “Impact, Opportunities and Strategies for Women in Entrepreneurship under the AfCFTA”. AWELFA later presented Miss Sarpong with an award as Female Entrepreneur of the Year. (more…)

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How to Start Playing in an Online Casino Safely

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When you’re ready to start playing in https://irelandbestcasinos.com/, it’s important to do so safely. Here are a few tips to follow:

  1. Make sure the casino is reputable and has a valid license.
  2. Only use trusted payment methods, such as credit cards or Paypal.
  3. Never share your personal information with the casino or anyone else.
  4. Keep your login information confidential and never let anyone else access your account.
  5. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the casino before you play.
  6. Play for fun, not to make money. Never gamble more than you can afford to lose.

The Risks and Rewards of New Online Casinos

When it comes to gambling, there’s no doubt that the internet has made things a lot more convenient for people all over the world. Instead of having to travel to a physical casino, players can now simply log on to their favourite online casino and enjoy all the action from the comfort of their own home.

While this has undoubtedly made gambling more accessible and enjoyable for many people, it has also led to the rise of a new breed of online casino – the so-called ‘newcomer’. These casinos are often established by relatively unknown companies and tend to offer players lower betting limits and a narrower range of games than more established brands.

So, what are the risks and rewards of playing at new online casinos? On the one hand, these casinos may be less reliable and secure than more established brands, so there is a risk that your personal information or money could be compromised. On the other hand, new casinos often offer generous bonuses and other promotions which can allow you to make some free money or get extra value for your bets.

Ultimately, whether or not you decide to play at a new online casino is up to you. However, if you do decide to take the plunge, it’s important to do your research first and make sure that you choose a reputable brand. With a little bit of care, you should be able to enjoy all the fun and excitement of online gambling without any major problems.

Benefits of Using a Good Betting Site

When it comes to gambling, there’s no doubt that the internet has made things a lot easier for people. These days, there are tons of great betting sites available online, and this means that you can enjoy all the convenience and excitement of gambling without ever having to leave your home.

But with so many different sites to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. So what should you look for when choosing a betting site? Here are some of the key benefits of using a good betting site:

  1. Security and safety – One of the most important things to look for in a betting site is security. You want to make sure that your personal information and your money are safe and secure, and that the site has measures in place to protect you from fraud and other scams.
  2. Variety of games – A good betting site will offer a wide range of games, including slots, poker, blackjack, roulette and more. This means that you’ll always have something new to try and you’ll never get bored.
  3. Good customer service – A good betting site will have excellent customer service, with staff who are friendly and helpful and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
  4. Easy payment options – Another important thing to look for is easy payment options. The site should offer a range of payment methods such as credit card, debit card, PayPal and more. This makes it for you to deposit money and start playing right away.
  5. Bonus offers – Many betting sites offer bonus offers to their customers, such as free bets or match deposit bonuses. This can be a great way to boost your winnings and give you an edge over other players.

As you can see, there are plenty of great reasons to use a good betting site. So if you’re thinking about gambling online, be sure to choose a site that offers all of the above benefits.

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Everton Welcomes Ghana’s Ridge City Women as Club Partner

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Everton Welcomes Ghana's Ridge City Women as Club Partner

Everton is proud to announce that Ridge City has become the first women’s football club to join forces in an exciting new partnership.

The Ghanaian club, based in Accra and formed just four years ago, is the newest addition to Everton’s International Academy Affiliate Programme (EIAAP) as the Club looks to build on the huge progress made in the women’s game in recent years.

It is also the first African club to join the EIAAP programme, which aims to expand the knowledge and expertise of Everton’s player development processes to affiliated clubs across the world.

Everton aims to help expand the profile of Ridge City Football Club by facilitating and developing the women’s game in Ghana and offering a pathway for players.

The two clubs will also collaborate on player and coach development, coach education and helping Ridge City establish themselves as a foundation club for women in Ghana.

Formed in 2018, Ridge City FC has thrived following a truncated start as a professional club caused by the Covid pandemic: earning promotion to the Ghanaian Premier League in only their third season, as champions of Division One.

The club, which currently has around 30 women in its ranks, plus a burgeoning academy, has aims to facilitate the development and promotion of women’s football in Ghana.

Ridge City’s mission also includes creating career opportunities for girls and women as footballers and in the technical and managerial aspects of the game, and contributing positively to the upliftment of female football in Ghana.

Cleopatra Nsiah Nketiah, CEO of Ridge City, said: “I am super excited about the partnership. We have been looking for an opportunity like this for a long time and the most important thing for us is that women in Ghana are serious about playing football.

“I feel like our relationship with Everton will help us on that pathway and let our people know that in Ghana you can play football and that there can be a career path, perhaps even having a chance to travel to the UK and trial there.

“The environment and resources Everton can provide is a huge pull and the opportunity to have online coaching programmes to follow, and even potential visits by their coaches, is another real positive that we can tap into, to help our women feel that they are part of something bigger.

“I want to let the world know that we can see a pathway forward for Ridge City and this is a relationship we can’t wait to be a part of.”

The EIAAP initiative provides clubs at all tiers of the game with access to the finest coaching knowledge from Everton’s renowned Academy to support with growth – a level of support that sets it apart from more traditional models.

These include:

  • A holistic approach to player, coach and club development, offering technical support from Everton’s Finch Farm training complex and business and marketing support from its Royal Liver Building business headquarters
  • Weekly support from a dedicated Everton Academy coach
  • Full access to the Everton Academy curriculum

Under the EIAAP initiative, coaches from Ridge City will have access to Everton’s state-of-the-art Finch Farm complex – the home of Everton’s senior men’s, senior women’s and academy teams – for education and training.

Paddy Byrne, Everton’s International Technical Manager, plans to make a future visit to Ridge City to assist in sharing the Everton Academy curriculum and implement methods used at Finch Farm to develop both player and coaching skills.

In turn, this provides Ridge City Women with further knowledge and help grow their club to achieve their vision and objectives.

Byrne added: “We are delighted to welcome Ridge City as an inaugural women’s partner club to Everton’s International Academy Affiliate programme.

“I’m excited to work with Cleopatra and her team and help them to build on the solid foundations laid in only four years of existence.

“We feel there is plenty of opportunity for them to grow – and by sharing our values and coaching methods we will build on the affiliate programme in a new territory. 

“I am sure this will prove a fruitful partnership for both clubs, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Everton’s International Academy Affiliate Club programme, which is available to grassroots teams, professional sides, youth academies, girls’ and women’s teams, as well as colleges and universities, was launched in 2020.

The programme already has affiliates in the US, Canada, South America, Australia and Ireland.

To find out more, visit EvertonInternationalAcademy.com

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