There is enough space at the top for everybody!
It is true that we live in a competitive world and that one must be fit to survive, but you need not kill anyone to survive. Live and let others live, too.
For the past twenty-four hours, I have been very disappointed in one of the female gospel musicians I admire so much – Patience Nyarko.
My first encounter with her was in 2015 when I interviewed her on Care TV. Honestly, she has such an endearing personality! But apart from her warmth, I also got to love two of her songs: ‘W’afom Kwan’ and ‘Obi Nyane Me’.
In fact, ‘Obi Nyane Me’ became an anthem in the country; a very groovy gospel song that got enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians.
I have always expected that, as good as she is with her craft, she would put in more effort by making her brand more lustrous and visible to the outside world – but no! She would rather wish that the attention being given her colleague musician, Joe Mettle and his presence on the international music market be reduced.
Now, to the matter
On Saturday, May 16, 2020, there was a discussion on Onua FM’s ‘Anigye Mmre’ hosted by Christian Agyei Frimpong about how to elevate Ghanaian gospel music.
During the show Patience Nayrko noted that even though Joe Mettle had been touted as the most sought-after gospel act in Ghana, she believed he had not yet gotten to the high pedestal that most Ghanaians want him to be.
“Joe Mettle has not gotten to where he’s being placed by the public. The way people are lifting him up there, he’s not gotten there yet,” she said.
According to her, Joe Mettle does not even write most of his songs; and that a lot of his songs are sampled from old Pentecost and Methodist music.
“How many English songs does Joe Mettle have? Is it not Pentecost and Methodist songs that he sings? If these churches decide to stop people from singing their songs, what would be the fate of Joe Mettle?”, she asked.
She made these statements when the issue of language barrier came up in the discussion as a contributing factor to the low visibility of Ghanaian gospel musicians on the international music market.
DJ Alordia, an event and music promoter in the United Kingdom had earlier said in an interview on the same show that what makes Joe Mettle more marketable on the international market is the use of English in his songs and the solid brand he has built for himself.
Responding to this, Patience intimated that Joe does not even have a lot of English songs and that most of his songs are sampled from old songs which are in the local languages.
Why Patience Nyarko goofed
She defeated the centrality of their ‘support gospel musicians’ campaign.
By addressing the statement by Alordia that Joe Mettle gets event organisers abroad the numbers when he is booked for events because he usually uses English and has a formidable brand,’ the questions that spring to mind are: “Does Joe have a formidable brand?” Yes! “Is his brand appealing to the international market?” Of course, Yes.
She could have simply told Alordia that there were more of Joe’s ilk in Ghana and pleaded with him to pay attention to them too. That would have been a better PR for the gospel fraternity.
Instead, she was discrediting the ONLY person who made it to Alordia’s list (assuming Alordia hated Ghanaian gospel so much that he did not want to book them for shows in the UK).
Worst is when she said Joe has not gotten to where he’s being placed. Dude is getting all the recognition. Internationally he is more marketable and visible than Patience and a lot of other gospel musicians in Ghana. So why would he not be placed up there?
Her point on sampling was wobbly and reeked of sheer hate.
Joe Mettle has a lot of songs he wrote written by himself and he is one of the finest songwriters in Ghana. A lot of artists who sing Patience Nyarko’s kind of songs also sample old songs. But she created the impression she, Nacee, and the others are the only ones that have originally composed songs and that if the Orthodox churches ask people to stop using their songs, Joe wouldn’t have a stand.
I’m sure she saw the maturity with which Nacee tackled the same issue when it got to his turn to speak on the show. She needs to learn how to communicate because that is also an essential part of artiste branding. The shouting doesn’t help.
Why Joe Mettle is more marketable
Joe Mettle has invested a lot into his brand as a gospel musician.
For someone who started with songs that appealed to a minority of Ghanaian gospel music consumers, it is commendable that he has been able to rise to this level.
Most people who are either ignorant or new to the music scene in Ghana might think Joe Mettle’s music career started when he won the Artiste of the Year award in 2017. No!
The young man had been a lead vocalist for Soul Winners for a long time. He went through the mill.
Currently, he is one of the very few gospel musicians whose brand is a threat to most secular acts. Why? Because he is following well-structured procedures in terms of music promotion.
Joe Mettle, with a verified Facebook account, has over 320K followers as compared to Patience Nyarko who has just 13K followers. There is a comprehensive profile of Joe on his Facebook page, but the same cannot be said of Patience.
On Instagram Joe Mettle has 530k followers for his verified account; Patience Nyarko has 2,152 followers. I checked Twitter and I did not even find her there.
Most of our gospel music local champions have not bothered to think about how to reach the outside market. How many of them have their songs on online music stores? How many have their profiles online? How many have proper management teams? Go check their social media presence. Poor!
Joe Mettle has one of the ultra-modern recording studios in Ghana, he has an annual concert and the Joe Mettle Ministries. The ‘Bonooni’ singer has a solid brand that goes beyond just singing and shouting. Just a few gospel musicians in Ghana are toeing the Joe Mettle line.
Yet, they would come out to launch a pull-him-down campaign on someone who is striving to get to the Promised Land.
I must add, that a lot of Ghanaian gospel musicians are working hard to get to the top. Diana Hamilton, MOG, Akesse Brempong, Ceccy Twum, Celestine Donkor, Empress Gifty, Sonni Badu, KODA, Nacee, Ohemaa Mercy, Kofi Sarpong, Obaapa Christy, and the rest are all forging ahead to greatness. It takes dedication, hard work and persistence to survive in the music industry, especially for the gospel musicians.
The prayer should be that whatever blessing Joe Mettle is enjoying trickles down to the others. Whatever he’s doing that is gradually working for him, should be emulated by the others. Because at every point in time one must be at the top; that does not make the rest useless.
Of course, Joe is not the only marketable gospel musician in Ghana but if anyone puts him in the lead, we need not hate on him; we should rather recommend others who also have good materials.
Patience Nyarko’s punishment
I am not sure God will be happy with Patience now. God wouldn’t entertain an act of one gospel artiste asking people to pull the reins on hyping her colleague, while she begs for support from the same people so she gets to where her colleague is aspiring to be.
Dear God, soak her cane in kerosene, and lash her!
After that, we’ll listen to her new ‘English song’, ‘My Light’.
By: Kwame Dadzie | ghanaweekend.com