Ghanaian Afro-pop singer-songwriter, Wiyaala, has voiced her concerns about the annual Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs) organized by Charterhouse, stating that the prestigious event primarily recognizes and promotes musicians based in Accra.
Wiyaala who was a guest on The North Podcast with Prince Hamdan Banang disclosed that the VGMAs have established criteria for selecting nominees that she believes disqualify her, consequently leading her to cease submitting nominations.
Wiyaala, 36, revealed that one of the key criteria for nomination is massive airplay on radio stations in Accra, a requirement that proves unattainable for her due to her choice of language.
The ‘Feeling Free’ singer sings in her native language Sissala and Waala dialects and English, often combining all three languages within her songs
“In my heart, I believe VGMA is trying to get all of us involved. But let’s not tickle and make and make a fool of ourselves,” Wiyaala expressed candidly. “It’s very obvious and glaring what VGMA is all about. You have to be in Accra and your songs have to be popular in Accra. There are songs that were never popular in the North, but they made it, and the criteria keep changing. It’s their rules and regulations if you cannot follow them, you shouldn’t enter,”
Wiyaala who resides in her hometown in the Upper West region emphasized the lack of deliberate efforts to showcase artists from other regions whose songs may not be widely known due to language barriers.
This oversight contradicts the VGMA’s proclaimed purpose of honouring musicians from across Ghana, as it heavily concentrates on specific groups in certain regions of the country.
“I can be as popular as any artist in the Northern region, but since the program is Accra-based and most of the radio stations are Accra-based, it’s only natural that they predominantly feature songs from Accra. Most DJs do not comprehend our songs, and many people are unwilling to understand them,” Wiyaala explained.
The singer-songwriter has however in the past won awards at the VGMA including Songwriter of The Year and Best Female Vocal Performance.
Charterhouse and the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards as of this report were yet to address these concerns and it remains to be seen if it will take steps towards ensuring fair representation for artists from all regions of the country.