Friday afternoon. The perfect time to speak to someone about their life. I mean, it’s nearly the weekend, so I’m thinking they should a be bit looser. And my next interviewee is exactly that. About to step into a studio session, and the person I’m about to speak to, is GhettoBoy. Also known as the Prince of Afrobeats, his music is a fusion of High-life, afro-pop and dance music. A blend not made by accident because this musician is a traveller. Bouncing between London, Accra and Amsterdam, and from all places he draws inspiration.
We are speaking on the phone and he sounds so carefree. So I could only assume he was seated on a sofa, lounging. I asked him how comes he sounds so relaxed right before a studio session, isn’t he nervous? “Na, because this is the best place for me to get into the zone and actually work. I’ve tried different methods in the past… even writing before getting here. But right here in the studio is where I write best. So no nerves, just focus.” I challenged this however, because even the greatest writers get writer’s block. So surely he’s into the habit of doing some preparations beforehand. But he dismissed this, and then defined his unique way of writing songs. A method birthed from a moment of spontaneity when making 2017 smash hit ‘Under Lover’. So has set the tone on how he makes music moving forward.
A method he used when writing songs for new album, ‘Me vs You’, released on the 16th of November. “I start with a blank space when stepping into the studio. Maybe I’ve got a flow in my head, or something to talk about. But it all comes together once I’m in there.” This level of transparency is admirable for artists, because it reassures us that the songs he writes are from the heart. So whether he’s talking about being your best self on ‘Shine’ or professing his love on ‘For You – Shayo’ , please know it’s genuinely coming from him. Which is actually what the whole project is about. GhettoBoy telling us exactly who he is.
“This album is about me versus the people. Every song is a conversation between myself and my listeners. I wanted to talk to my fans.” He sees this project as a way of making a major statement about what he brings to the table. As it’s his second from debut ‘Anointed’, released in 2017 and there’s always pressure to make sure the sequel is as good, if not better than the first. But this project does not disappoint, and is a sweet ode to love, life and laughter.
Throughout our conversation, he seems to pause whenever I ask him a question about his growth. Almost like he is in awe of how far he’s come. From initially making freestyle videos to now touring the world, gives him the reassurance that anything is possible. And has left a hunger in him to continue pushing the sound. Especially as it’s finally getting the worldwide recognition that it deserves. “I think its important to pay homage to those that paved the way before us. Not just the African artists from the 60s and 70s, or the Afrobeats/pop pioneers of the early 2000s, but also the UK based Afro-artists that have been killing it since 2012/3. They paved the way for us also.” He mentions Wizkid and Afro B as influencers, witnessing firsthand what organic growth looks like. His admiration here solidifies the fact that Ghettoboy is a fan of the music, just like you and I. Which he wants to protect and promote until the end.
So his end to 2019 is looking really productive. With the release of ‘Me vs You’ and live shows booked in home country Ghana this December, he’s looking forward to ending the year with a bang. His plans for 2020 are currently under wraps, but growing his fan base and spreading the sound near and far is at the top of his list.
‘Me vs You’ out now!