Entertainment of Saturday, 18 July 2015
Source: Daily Guide
Over the recent years, the Spoken Word genre has become very popular in Ghana. Talents like Mutombo The Poet and DK Osei Yaw have paved the way for many artists to follow. Ryhme Sonny is in a class of his own. His talent and passion for Spoken Word have made him one of the top acts representing the genre in the country. Ryhme Sonny certainly has a way with words (as you will notice) and this week, we shine the spotlight on him.
How did you begin your career as a Spoken Word artist?
Rhyme: I’ve always had a passion for poetry ever since I was young. It’s something I did even when I was in school. My first Spoken Word performance was at the WAPI event at the British Council in 2008. Eddy Blay gave me my first introduction to the microphone. My performance drew huge attention on my brand and poets like Mutombo, DK Osei Yaw. PY then invited me to bless his mic at the Bless The Mic event, where I became a resident poet. I became friends with great industry players, worked harder and here I am.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career so far?
Ryhme: Some of my challenges happen to do with the fact that most Ghanaians cannot come to terms with Spoken Word and poetry as a commercial art form and the fact that the artists should be paid adequately to sustain their craft. There is no real support for our events and projects. I have spent a lot of my own money to get poetry this far. I have had to fund our programmes, workshops and events. It’s not easy investing when you don’t know what time you will be harvesting. But still, there is no giving up. We will continue to push the genre until it is recognised by the mainstream and its commercial value appreciated.
Obviously Spoken Word is all about inspiration. Where do you get yours from?
Ryhme: Inspiration has always been my aspirations in life. Family, nation, the world and my failures in life, also my faith and my passion. I also enjoyed been challenged. Challenges bring out the best in me. Real events also have an effect on my writings. There are many examples I can draw from my daily experiences as well. A true artist is inspired by anything and everything around him.
How big is the Spoken Word genre in Ghana, and how would you describe it to those unfamiliar with it?
Ryhme: Spoken Word is huge in the West and some other parts of Africa. A lot of our colleagues in the Americas and Europe live solely on this art form. Gradually, we are getting to the state were Ghanaian artists will take poetry and Spoken Word full time. Currently, there is only a handful of us. Myself and my group ,People Of Equal Thoughts & Spirit have identified over 500 poets in Ghana now, our segment on YFM has seen over 100 poets taking turns to deliver quality poetry. Our events, including Alewa, Ministry of Poetry, #BringBackOurPoets, The Big 6 Poetry Show, Ehalakasa, Poetry Nights WithThe Rainmakers, have registered thousands of people coming to enjoy poetry brewed in the Ghanaian pot. So it’s on a rapid rise. Very soon, it will be opening doors for talents to be able to make a living from it.
Are you motivated at all by money and fame?
Ryhme: I have been doing this professionally for close to six years, if my motivation was money or fame, I believe I would have quit and would be concentrating on my 8-5 job. But no, I don’t want to be famous without making money from what brought the fame. Money and fame are the by-products of hard work in any field of the creative arts industry. So when they roll in, I will be fine with it, but in no way, shape or form are my prime motivators.
What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
Ryhme: Education they say is the biggest leveler in society, and inborn talent or skills is one thing that cannot be affected by the downturn of global economy. So when you identify your talent and educate yourself well in that field, you are certainly bound to go places .All I need are a couple of Ps- paper, pen, poem, performance stage, passion, people(audience) going places and getting paid . The PASSION to use my pen to the paper to write a poem that will inspire people as I perform at different places and getting paid doing what I love. That keeps me going.
What are the qualities that make a good Spoken Word artist?
Ryhme: Content is key. Style is the lock. A unique writing and performance style will open any door for your career. His or her level of understanding of the field, the academic side of the art and a commanding personality will be just a top up.
Describe the process you go through when writing/preparing your material.
Ryhme: When I’m pregnant with an idea for a piece, I go through the pre-natal exercise and then the labour to get it birthed then anti-natal care. Pre-natal is the thought process, that is dissecting the idea, gathering information, researching for facts to back some of the arguments you want to raise in the poem and then putting pen to paper making sure the all the elements of a good literary works are present, and it’s reflecting your uniqueness. Anti-natal is editing, memorising, rehearsing and performing.
Whoa. That was a vivid description. What’s next for you in the near future?
Ryhme: I believe the future is here and now and poets and lovers of this art form who have been following the trend, and how events have unfolded till this level can attest to the fact. Myself and the People of Equal Thoughts & Spirit (P.O.E.T.S) together with other groups like EHALAKASA, Rainmakers, PFG, etc, have defied the odds, and now we all can confidently say the Spoken Word has come to stay.
If I have to talk about Spoken Word tomorrow, then I would say that, it’s going to be best alternative to anything entertainment, educational and the best form of information dissemination, it will provide alternative source of employment for the youth as well. If this is the future I’m looking at, then I might as well become an ambassador for Spoken Word in Africa, taking the world by storm.
A message to your fans?
Ryhme: They should keep supporting us; they should be willing to pay for our services and our events. It’s a delicate and very difficult genre to do, but with their continued support it will be taking us places.