The event is arguably the biggest night on the Ghana music calendar as artistes recognised for their work over the year under review.
As Ghana awaits the awards on Saturday, Myjoyonline.com brings you artistes who have won the topmost prize – Artiste of the Year – at the event since its inception in 2000.
The Artiste of the Year is the topmost award at the awards. It is given to the artiste(s) adjudged by the Academy, Board and the general public as having the highest audience appeal and popularity in a particular year.
To win the topmost award, an artiste must have released a hit single/album during the year under review.
Below are the winners since 2000:
2000: Daddy Lumba
Hit song: ‘Aben Wo Ha’
Born Charles Kwadwo Fosu, Daddy Lumba ruled Ghana music in the first edition of the music awards with his smash hit song ‘Aben Wo Ha’. It was reported that ace presenter Tommy Annan Forson made the song popular when he refused to play it on radio due to its sexually suggestive lyrics. His decision made people curious about the song.
2001: Kojo Antwi
Hit song: ‘Tom And Jerry’
Known for a lot of nicknames including ‘Mr. Music Man’ and ‘The Maestro’, Kojo Antwi won the second edition of the awards with his hit song, ‘Tom and Jerry’ off his Akuaba album.
2002: Lord Kenya
Hit song: ‘Medo’
Lord Kenya, born Abraham Philip Akpor Kojo, was the first rapper to win the topmost award at the music awards. He won the award with the popular song ‘Medo’ which features Swanzy B. Lord Kenya is now a pastor.
Hit song: ‘Aketesia’
Emmanuel Nana Appiah Boateng, known in showbiz as Kontihene, released ‘Aketesia’ which became an anthem in Ghana. People simply sang along ‘Aketesia’ misi mafa wo la la la’ whenever it was played. The song propelled him to the win the Artiste of the Year in 2003.
Hit song: ‘Ahomka Womu’
Nima-based VIP, made of Lazzy (now Zeal), Prodigal and Promzy, became the first group to win 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.
Hit song: ‘Konkontiba’
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 topmost artiste 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
Hit song: ‘Otoolege’
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 Artiste of the Year.
Hit song: ‘Odo’
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
Hit song: ‘Odiem’
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
Hit song: ‘Woso’
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.
Hit song: ‘Baby’
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, ‘Baby’, 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.
Hit song: ‘Away’
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.
Hit song: ‘U go Kill Me’
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.
Hit song(s): ‘Life (Walahi)’ and ‘Odo’
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
Hit song: ‘Dancehall King’
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.
Hit song: ‘Baafira’
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.
Hit song(s): ‘Koko’ and Mi ‘Naa Bo Po’
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.
The nominees for Artiste of the Year in the 2017 edition of the awards are: