Entertainment of Friday, 22 January 2016
He is loved and hated with equal measure but the story behind the man famed not only for his glory but his controversy in Ghana music is one of great determination and applied persistence.
He started his young music career with borrowed name and identity-Doggy- a name he took in reverence of his favourite Dance Hall artiste at the time- Yoggy Doggy.
Then he changed to Bandana- a name that shot him to fame after a single hit track. He died in music, buried for years, only to resurrect with a new name, Shatta Wale, a new identity and a solid repertoire of hits after hits in the last year or two.
The World Acclaimed Lyrical Entertainer (WALE) took his long awaited turn on the Hall of Fame, Drive Time’s Personality Profile programme on Joy FM with sit-in host Rudy Kwakye Thursday night in what was a humbling, hugely inspiring walk into the life of an enigma, an icon and an achiever.
Shatta Wale, known in real life as Charles Nii Armah Mensah Jnr walked listeners through the inspiring story of his career-death-and-resurrection and why he may just be the most misunderstood musician of our time.
He was not a man to give up that easily in the face of challenges. He did not. He treasured his little fame after Bandana but he needed to eat from it. Shatta Wale said many event organisers invited him to perform on shows at the time but many failed to pay him.
Like the abusive mother who will force a child to ‘shoos’ after spanking him, Shatta Wale said the event organisers did not want him to complain after they refused to pay for his services. And when he did there was a gang up.
Nobody wanted to record him, not even his long cherished sound engineer. He was left in the lurch. For many years he stayed there. Many said his career was over but he said it wasn’t because God said it wasn’t.
If nobody would record him, he decided to record himself. He did. He bought a laptop, built a studio, wrote his songs and recorded himself.
Now the man is back, shattering homes, parties and radio stations with his never ending hits, rubbing shoulders with the music greats in Ghana and across the world and inundating social media with his controversies.
Role model father
Wale did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth but he grew up with a seed of motivated from his father Charles Mensah to believe he could do it.
Even though the family was ‘book-long’ , Shatta decided to do something different but only after acquiring education.
His father supported all his initiatives and even paid for his first ever recorded music which he could only play in his bathroom, but he did that only on condition that Wale would acquire education.
Started at Seven Great Princess, later to Winneba Secondary, the Kakai hit singer minced no words in celebrating a father who was a like a brother and his backbone.
He looked shorter than he really is on set, sounded more pleasant than when he decides to have a go at an adversary, Shatta Wale came and left the studios of Joy FM with a simple grace and glamour and planted a seed of determination into the lives of many who listened, hoping it will soon germinate into an army of successful youth.