Tic Tac is arguably one of the most famous Ghanaian artists and a pioneer of the Hip-Life movement which opened doors for the current crop of artists we have today.
Although he has released a few singles recently, it has been long since he came out in full force. This is partly because of the new business ventures he is undertaking, and his behind-the-scenes work with MUSIGA. I tracked him down to find out more.
What have you been up to recently?
Tic: I’ve been doing my own thing. I wouldn’t say hibernating, but rather looking at the other side of things. I’ve been around, keeping busy in different ways.
You haven’t been necessarily active on the scene. How does it feel to sit back and observe?
Tic: Well it’s not bad, but I wouldn’t say I’m totally inactive. I still record and make music. I’ve been doing this for a very long time. It’s great to see how the industry has developed thanks to the work we put in years ago. As an artist grows, it gets to a time when you need to stabilise yourself. You get to the point when you need to concentrate on having a family and settling down. You need to start looking beyond the music, and see how to survive the future. It’s a bit confusing for some fans in this country when artists slow their roll a bit and concentrate on other things apart from music. At my age, and the pace at which things are moving, there are certain choices I have to make. I need to take it to the next level. I am doing that with careful planning, setting priorities and preparing my next wave of attack.
You have really come a long way as an artist. What would you say is the best moment of your career?
Tic: My best moment is now. I can sit back and reflect on all I’ve done. I sometimes feel tired nowadays because my life has been a nonstop roller-coaster. I used to be able to handle it well because I was younger and had so much energy. I’m in my 30s so yeah, I’m still young, but not like when I was 19, and I was so energetic. I sit back and reflect and say “it’s been crazy”. I would also say my performances in other countries are some of the best moments of my life. Trying to get people who are not from your country to understand your music is a big thing. When they give you that support as you perform, it is very gratifying.
You do a lot of work with MUSIGA. What do you think is wrong with the system, and what would you do to rectify it?
Tic: Well, we’re just doing our part. You need to get involved with what you believe in. Joining MUSIGA is one of the best things I’ve ever done. We can’t just sit back and complain about things and do nothing about them. You need to get involved! Nobody is going to do it for you. It’s very easy to just complain.
I’m the Greater Accra Chairman of MUSIGA, and I joined it to address certain situations like artists’ royalties. We’ve been fighting for it for a long time now. I don’t have to perform every day, but I need to eat everyday from the work I’ve done as an artist.
So much energy is put into the work, but what comes back is little. What are all these new artists going to be doing in the next 10 years when their time has passed? They should still be eating from what they are doing today.
Those are some of the things we’re fighting for. I might not be able to fix it now, but I’m certainly doing something about it. It’s about identifying a problem and probing for solutions. In the past, monies were given and nobody knew about it. Now that there is transparency, we are going in the right direction.
MUSIGA gets a lot of blame from artists for different things. What’s your reaction?
Tic: You can’t do everything. The most you can do is try. We at MUSIGA don’t get the credit we deserve. Most musicians who are disgruntled with us have themselves to blame, because they don’t come to meetings or even give us support. They sit at home, complain, and expect the Union to work. The Union is all of us! In Ghana everybody is a “star”.
If I sit at home and play superstar, who’s going to do the work for me. We all have to be actively involved to address issues; otherwise, somebody will be out there chopping our money. So when people like Obour get up and take responsibility, and try to do something about it, show some support!
If you have some knowledge or ideas on how to fix some problems, come and share them! That’s what the Union should be all about. Don’t just sit at home and criticise. Things will never get better if we don’t come together and work as a Union.
The place is open for all musicians, but when there’s a meeting, people don’t really show up! Do these people really want to survive? When there’s a Union in other sectors like Health or Education, you see them moving together.
Why can’t musicians do the same? Everyone is thinking about themselves because they’re making money now. Who’s going to fix the problems? What happens when the money stops coming? Who’s going to protect the future? We need to wake up.
What are you currently working on?
Tic: After my single ‘Pum Pum,’ I’m working on my seventh album. It’s been a long time coming but I think I need to do it. I’m also focusing on a lot of investments. There are some businesses that I operate that people might not know of.
I’ve got a couple a Pizza places that are not doing bad at all. There’s one at the airport arrivals, and one in Kumasi. People like good food, and I’m happy to oblige.
They like to party and drink so I also have a club/lounge in Kumasi called “Tic Tac Reserved”. I’m just a young entrepreneur doing my thing, but I will always do music as well.
A message to your fans?
Tic: I love all of them. I know they expect more from me and I will never let them down. I have been busy doing other things, but I’m preparing to come back with a bang!