Culturally spicy R&B ready to be served-Chemphe
…I am just a simple, God-fearing guy…that’s Chemphe being modest. He is actually a cute, humorous, intelligent and definitely one of the most successful young musicians in this country. We were fortunate to catch up with him at his mum’s restaurant for a hearty chat. Tell you what, Chemphe`s song, “why u de hit am” is number 7 on MTV Base chat and know what, its raising…
myAnanse: Who is Chemphe?
Chemphe: Chemphe is just a simple Godfearing guy who grew up in Tema, had his basic school education at Tema First Baptist School then to Ghana National College and then studied computer programming at NIIT.
myAnanse: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Chemphe: I am the only guy among my seven sisters. It’s just a small family and we all live in Tema.
myAnanse: When did you start doing music?
Chemphe: Music has been part of me since I was growing up. I realized I could sing very well when I was in the primary school. I was in the school choir and whenever we went for rehearsals, there were times I would hide behind and adlib the song. There was a time the choir director who was my class teacher asked who adlibbed the song and everyone mentioned my name and then I had to lead the school choir for two years. In Ghana National College, there were times I would step on stage, grab the microphone and sing dance and rap. The first group I found myself was a rap group then I started singing solo after a year. It wasn’t my intention to do music but I realized I had so many songs and decided to record three of them and everybody said I was the new generation by the time I realized I was singing “why you de hit am o”.(laughs)
myAnanse: What musical genre would you place your kind of music?
Chemphe: I call it the urban life. I grab my main form of genre from R&B and fuse it with the cultures of all the music genres. When you listen to my album, you will realize that I add R&B to highlife, reggae, and hip hop so it becomes something else. It gives it a different flavor so I call it urban life that is adding all the cultures together to form another genre.
myAnanse: How many albums so far?
Chemphe: I have only one. People might think it’s two but it’s just one. The last single which is “why you de treat am bad?” is doing very well right now so people think it’s on another album but it’s on the same album. I will be releasing it as a single on the 26th of November which is World’s Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women. It will be a great launch so Ghanaians should expect it.
myAnanse: How do you get the lyrics to your songs?
Chemphe: Every song is something close to my heart. I like to strengthen relationships. I take the realities of life and put together something to have a positive effect on people. It’s basically things I go through and see people go through. It’s not really about me; it’s about you and me. I write music to help us through the years
myAnanse: Do you look up to any musicians?
Chemphe: Yes I do, in Ghana, Africa and the rest of the world. In Ghana I look up to Kojo Antwi and most of the old artist like K. K. Kabobo, Pat Thomas and Gyedu Blay Ambulay. In Africa I look up to Two Face Idibia, Phase, and Angelique Cudjo. The rest of the world which is where I have my major mentors, I look up to R. Kelly, Craig David, Lemar, Joe Thomas, Usher and Brian Mcknight.
myAnanse: What do you think of piracy in the music industry recently?
Chemphe: Just about a week ago, some people were caught pirating my CD’s. It made me sad (chuckles). Piracy is one of the things that are killing the music industry in Ghana. It is very bad but I think the problem is with the distribution system. There are no better distribution systems. Better distribution systems will be where every community and region has shops selling CD’s. I think we should solve it from the distribution point.
myAnanse: What do you think of Metro TV’s “if you can play you can pay” initiative where musicians are paid as many times as they appear on their network?
Chemphe: It’s a good initiative. I’ve been there to take my money. It will be great if everyone could pay royalties back to musicians; we give out a lot. Can you imagine the whole country without music, radio and TV stations without music? They are playing our music and selling our airtime. Metro TV’s initiative is very good and smart.
myAnanse: What inspires you?
Chemphe: I am inspired by what goes on in relationships. I enjoy writing about what goes on in relationship. When I think something should be right in a relationship, I write it down. I am inspired by realities and relationships.
myAnanse: What do you aspire for most in life?
Chemphe: To be a great man and not to die poor. I aspire to have a very great family and to be close to God.
myAnanse: How has fame affected your personal life?
Chemphe: Not too much. I don’t call this fame. You can see me in my mum’s slippers right now. (Laughs)
myAnanse: What are you doing now?
Chemphe: For now I’m doing music. I am working on so many things to come out with some kind of business. Like I told you, I don’t want to die poor. (Laughs)
myAnanse: How do you see yourself five years from now?
Chemphe: The biggest in Africa and well-known in the world.
myAnanse: What is your favorite quote?
Chemphe: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
myAnanse: What scares you?
Chemphe: To die poor…to grow up being poor …that scares me. I don’t want to be poor. I refuse to be poor. (Laughs)
myAnanse: Any last words
Chemphe: Go and buy my CD’s! (Laughs) Stay good, stay clean and be positive in all you do…and say a prayer for me.
myAnanse: Thank you for your time.
Chemphe: Thank you.