Music of Sunday, 19 November 2006
The rapper says his music career is on break as he holds down the drive on Hot 93.9FM.
Okyeame Quophi, one half of the now defunct hip-life duo, Akyeame has for the past couple of months been holding down the ?Drive? on Hot 93.9, just making sure his listeners are treated to nothing but good music.
Music, he says, has always been a part of him. Growing up in the suburbs of Oseikrom, Quophi happened to be one of the privileged few who had access to sound systems and turntables. ?I?ve been a music lover since I was a little kid. One of my older cousins was among the few who owned sound systems and turntables back in the days. Because he traveled outside a lot, he bought lots of music records, both local and foreign. He did not have much time to enjoy them so ninety per cent of the time, I found myself playing the records and I guess that was how I developed my music interest.?
With his rapidly growing interest in music at the time, it was just a matter of course that he would be drawn to the radio. As his appetite for music and information grew, he realized he could no longer depend solely on his uncle?s collection to be able to satisfy himself. The challenge at the time was that there were no private radio stations. ?I started developing interest in radio during the GBC FM days, when there were the Tommy Annan Forsons, the Charlie Sams, and the Dusty Waynes.?
He narrates that with time, he became so glued to radio he always had to rush home after school to catch ?Ever Ready? (a late afternoon, rush hour programme which is more like today?s ?drive? programmes).
As Quophi?s physique grew, his love for music increased. The sound system and turntables he scratched at home became ?slow?. It was time to step up his game. This was when he started off as a DJ at Golden Temple, a nightclub in Kumasi.
He later started ?flirting? radio at KNUST as a presenter on Continental Radio. ?Back in the day, I could just get myself in a taxi or trotro, find myself on campus just to go play and not get paid. I just loved it so I?ll go there and do it. And people loved it too.?
His big break in radio came when private stations started sprouting all over the place. Music Priducer, Mark Okraku Mantey, who was then working with Multimedia Broadcasting, didn?t think Quophi serious when he asked for a job LUV FM. ?I went to the place with Mark and I?m like, I could do this. Because Mark just knew me as a musician, he just laughed it off when I suggested to him I wanted to work in radio. But there was one other guy called Kwame. He once came to the night club that I used to play for. He kind of liked my music selection and all that. He suggested to management to hire me to play the ?High-life Safari?, which was the after-drive. I was called for an interview. It took two days and I had the job.? With time, he was moved from ?High-life Safari? to the ?Drive?. ?All I wanted to do was sit on radio and let my voice be heard, play the kind of music I think will satisfy a cross section of the people. When it happened that I had to be paid in the process, it was a plus. I was just doing what my heart loves to do and I got paid in the process and it was pretty.?
He worked for LUV FM for three years, during which his music career also took off and flourished. After the second Akyeame album, Quophi decided to quit radio to focus on the music.
During the long break from radio, he relocated to the States where he stayed for three years, studying Recording Engineering and Multimedia Production. On his return from the USA in 2003, he got an offer from Francis Poku, CEO of FOX FM, Kumasi. Three years down the line, he was posted to Accra to work at HOT FM, another of Poku?s corporate tentacles.
Okyeame Quophi says, proper planning was what helped him juggle both radio and music at the same time. He is currently a co-presenter of ?Viewers Choice? on TV Africa. ?The transition from radio to TV is as smooth as natural. With radio you are sitting at the console and people think you just sit there talking. What they don?t get the opportunity to see are the actions you put into it. All you have to do with TV is to transfer what you do in radio, only without the record playing and stuff.?
Alongside his media responsibilities, Quophi runs his own company, M-Clan Entertainment, which is into video production, radio commercial production, TV commercials and productions and events management. He says that, for now, his music career is on a long break. ?The hip-life that made me who I am is no longer what it used to be. The new language they are speaking is a little difficult for me to understand. When we started, we had our own definition of hip-life and that is what we portrayed and it worked for us. Now something has become the norm which is not giving room to other forms to actually see light. Creativity is my working word. Mediocrity is nothing I settle for. I?m just taking a chill pill till I hit the next note. I hate releasing records that don?t see light and in times like this, it?s a little difficult so I?d rather take my chill pill and do my research and when I?m ready I will come out.?