Since the inception of the Ghana Music Awards, now Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, the “Artiste Of The Year” Award has always been an enviable spot. Here is a list of winners so far. Ebony made history being the first female ever to win the Artiste Of The Year.
With their “Nyansapo” album with hit songs like “Mesan Aba”
2000: Daddy Lumba
He has since released over 19 other albums as a songwriter, or singer or producer or all three. These include Obi Ato Meso Boo, Sika Asem, Ohia Asem, Playboy, Sesee Wo Se, Odo Foforo, Biribi Regyegye Wo, Back For Good, Mesom Jesus, and Woana Na Otene. Others are Aben Wo Ha, Woho Kyere, Adepa Hye Adepa, Poison, Papa Samo, Ofie Banbofo, Asee Ho, Odo Bewu Dee Eno Nwu and Ahenfo Kyinie.
In December 2007, he reunited with Nana Acheampong for a concert and there are talks of the two having another album together. Lumba proved that he is still a force to recon with when he scored several nominations in the 2008 Ghana Music Awards with his album, Tokurom
2001: Kojo Antwi
He plays Reggae with lots of African influences in the Lovers Rock style and Roots Reggae alongside authentic African songs. He sings in both English and vernacular. He has lady dancers, lady background singers and top Musicians who have worked with international Stars like Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba. He has a Master Saxophone player from Sierra Leone. He is the only musician with a consistent annual live show through which he interacts with his many fans across the country. If you havenâ€™t seen him at any of his 24th December shows, make sure you catch him in the next one, because he is always at his best at these shows.
2002: Lord Kenya
The year 2002 was a momentous year not just for Kenya, but for the genre in general. Really, until he swept four awards (including Artist of the Year) in that edition of the Ghana Music Awards, hiplife was not regarded with the same seriousness as, say, highlife. Controversial as it may sound, him (a rap act) winning Artist of the Year legitimized that type of music, and secured mainstream acceptance for the genre. He truly opened the floodgates for other rappers, which is why perhaps 10 out of the 12 acts who have won Artist of the Year since him have been hiplife people
He is credited as being the first artist who helped introduced jama into Ghanaian music circles through his debut hit, ‘Aketesea’. It subsequently won him Ghana’s best song in 2002 at the Ghana Music Awards. He is also believed to be the first hiplife artist to be featured by the renowned highlife artist Kojo Antwi on his ‘Me die ne woa’ song and the Musicman himself helped him record his second album (Nsoroma).
Hit song: ‘Ahomka Womu’
Nima-based VIP, made of Lazzy (now Zeal), Prodigal and Promzy, became the first group to win the Artiste of the Year award at the Ghana Music Awards in 2004. Their song ‘Ahomka Womu’ was the toast of parties, events and it enjoyed massive airplay on radio across the country.
Bice Osei Kuffour, known on stage as Obour, managed to put behind a near fatal accident in 2004 to release several hit songs including the smash hit ‘Konkontiba’. The song gave him the needed push to become the Artiste of the Year winner in Ghana at the 2005 edition of the Ghana music awards. Obour is now the President of the Musicians Union of Ghana.
2006: Ofori Amponsah
Mr. All 4Real, Ofori Amponsah was a student of Daddy Lumba. He revamped the highlife genre with series of hit songs including the much acclaimed ‘Otoolege’. With a silky voice, he went on to win the award that year.
Emmanuel Andrew Samini dazzled Ghanaians with his unique ragga and dancehall style. His ability to fuse dancehall with hiplife made him an exceptional act. His low tempo song ‘Odo’ became a love anthem in Ghana and deservedly, he was adjudged the best artiste in the country.
2008: Kwaw Kese
Kwaw Kese, known in real life as Emmanuel Botwe, has carved a name for himself as the ‘King of the Streets’. He thrilled Ghanaians with his song ‘Odiem’. On the night, the rapper stormed the stage with a basket promising to pick all the awards and true to his word, he went home with the topmost award.
2009: Okyeame Kwame
Okyeame Kwame ruled Ghana’s music scene with his hit track ‘Woso’ off his ‘M’awensem’ album. He cashed in on the popularity of ‘Crunk’ music and good production by Richie of Lynx Entertainment, who was also then the most sought after producer. He was adjudged the Artiste of the Year after 10 years of doing music.
Sarkodie, born Michael Owusu Addo, simply took Ghanaian music by storm. His rap dexterity made him an unmatched act on the mic. He released his first album, ‘Makye’ and has never looked back since. His song, ‘Babe’, off that album, which featured Mugeez of R2Bees became an instant hit and was loved by many. It was therefore not surprising when he won the Artiste of the Year.
VIP made history by being the first group then to win the Artiste of the Year twice. On a night that they made history, VIP, who chanted “The myth is broken” on stage when they received the ultimate award, also took home the Hip Life/Hip Hop Artiste(s) of the Year award.
Sarkodie made history by becoming the first artiste to win the topmost award twice. VIP had won it as a group, he did it as an individual. His song, ‘U go Kill Me’ started a new music and dance craze in Ghana – Azonto. The song was also adjudged the ‘Most Popular Song of the Year’ at the same awards.
Tema-based music duo, R2Bees beat off competition from D-Black, VIP, Kwaw Kese, Cwesi Oteng and 4X4 to win the coveted award which for the first time came with a prize of a brand-new MG 550 saloon car. R2Bees also walked home with five other awards including Hi-life Song of the Year, Hiplife Song of the Year, Group of the Year, and the Vodafone Most Popular Song of the Year. They ruled Ghanaian music with two hit songs, ‘Life (Walahi)’ and ‘Odo’.
2014: Shatta Wale
All hell broke loose when Shatta Wale (then Bandana) lost out on the Reggae Dance Hall Song of the Year award to Kaakie at the 2013 edition of the awards. He released a diss song to attack the organisers, Charterhouse. To prove that he was the best, Shatta Wale worked hard and virtually performed at all major shows in the country. His song, ‘Dancehall King’ was the most popular song in Ghana. Shatta Wale was the first artiste not to be present to receive the Artiste of the Year award. He did not attend the awards because he charged organisers GHc70,000 as performance fee and several attempts to beat down the price proved futile.
Reggae and dancehall artiste Stonebwoy, born Livingstone Etse Satekla, was crowned Artiste of the Year at the 16th edition of the awards. He beat off stiff competition from Daddy Lumba, Guru, Edem, MzVee, Sarkodie, and Samini to win the award.
Apart from the Artiste of the Year award, Stonebwoy also walked away with two other awards – Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year and the Reggae/Dancehall Song of the Year for his song ‘Baafira’. The 27-year-old musician received ¢10,000 cash and a Samsung Galaxy S6 device. The went on to win the Best International Act: Africa at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards.
Rapper and music producer Elorm Adablah, popularly known as EL was adjudged the 2016 Artiste of the Year. He beat Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Bisa Kdei, VVIP and SP Kofi Sarpong to win the award.
He also won Hip Hop/Hiplife Artist of the Year, Afropop Song of the Year (Mi Naa Bo Po), Music Producer of the Year and Best Music Video of the Year.
2017: Joe Mettle
Joe Mettle at the wee hours of Sunday, April 9 beat E.L, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, MzVee, and Medikal to claim the bragging rights as Ghana’s topmost artiste.
The ‘Onwanwani’ hit singer thus holds the bragging rights as the best artiste in Ghana for a year, and was thought to be the first gospel artiste to attain this.
Late dancehall artiste, Ebony has made history by winning the ‘Artiste of the Year’ at the 2018 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
She beat Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Shatta Wale and 2017 Artiste of the Year winner, Joe Mettle to be adjudged the best artiste in Ghana.
Ebony is the first female to win the award and the first to win the award posthumously.