How did you get into the music industry?
“I didn’t know I would be a musician, I just had the sprit in me, I felt like I have to do something which people would admire and so people would admire. At first it was dancing but, you know, it turned.”
Your style is different, a lot of people in Ghana do either Dancehall or Highlife…
“yeah I do Hiplife but music changes all the time and new acts seem to bring new things so I brought the street to the commercial scene.”
People you look up to,
“At the time I started, there wasn’t too much music and Hiplife has just started so I didn’t have inspiration from artists and just inspired myself.
Your track featuring Stonebwoy (Obiaa Wone Master) is big, where did the inspiration come from
The inspiration came after the track was released, it hit me after three days (it was released) because it was one of the biggest songs ever released in Ghana. The rate at which people downloaded the song and it’s now the number one the song.
I’m already on my tour in Europe so I just pass through the Ghana Music awards, I picked up three awards.
Was you inspired after the awards?
Yes, I was because this is an awards show and even though I expected I will win, I have to win before I be happy. I’m always happy. To win “Best Rapper of the Year”, “Best Collaboration” and “Hiplife artist of the Year”
I’m really happy and I can’t wait to return back to Ghana with my awards.
To beat Sarkodie is a big thing…
I mean, once we are all nominated, we are all winners. It’s just that one have to be recognised as the first. It’s not every year, I win so I feel like it’s my turn, to make I win some.
Where is the Ghanaian music scene now? What should we expect?
I feel if this whole Nigeria/Ghana(rivalry) thing didn’t come up then I feel like Afrobeats would not progress. Because of the young artists are trying to work hard, in Nigeria, in Ghana. Even jollof rice, there’s a big competition.
Ghana is a very small country and Nigeria is a very big country, so I know that development doesn’t affect me, it’s the hard work of the individuals. I say, let’s support each other, whether is Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Somalia.
I heard you freestyle sometimes…
I freestyle all the time because studios were not enough. The only way to sell yourself, without having a CD or a song, is to be in a battle. We used to do it at the stations. I did 23-30 battles without losing and that’s where it got serious where I had to move to the studio and start recording.
After recently collecting three awards at the Ghana Music Awards UK, including “Best Rapper of the Year” over artists such as Sarkodie, Yaa Pono was a guest on the “Destination Africa” show to discuss his unprecedented rise in the music scene, becoming not only one of the hottest stars coming out of Ghana, but Africa also.
From his inspirations to the importance of freestyling, Yaa Pono opens up about life as a Hiplife artist and the rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria, with an interesting take on the battle of Jollof Rice!
Watch the video to find out more!