Alisa Hotel, Accra/ Friday, May 17, 2019/ Written by Ivy Prosper
In the last few years, so many people from the African diaspora have lent their voice, talents and skills to help develop those in Ghana. One person who has made a commitment to helping Ghanaians is Reggae superstar Roy ‘Gramps’ Morgan. He started his career at age 9 as part of the group, Morgan Heritage with his siblings and has gone on to have a successful solo career with multiple hits and awards. He recently conducted his annual Music Clinic at the Alisa Hotel in Accra. He was in the country for the Ghana Jamaica Homecoming Festival as part of the Year of Return festivities. Several local artists were in attendance in hopes of not only hearing Morgan speak but to also take invaluable information to help them develop their careers as artists and musicians. Upon being introduced to the crowd he took a moment to thank President Nana Akufo-Addo for his vision. “I want to take this moment to big up the President of Ghana because he has made my dream come true when I hear him declare, and remember 400 years since slavery…..[and] that most nations in Europe and the U.S. took [part] in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and to commemorate this year….he said this will be the year of return!”
Gramps Morgan was born into the music business. His father is well-known reggae artist Denroy Morgan and since he was a young child he’s been surrounded by the music. With a lifetime of knowledge and experience in the music industry, he spoke from the heart giving words of wisdom to the aspiring artists in attendance. “There is a lot of talent in Ghana,” he said to the crowd. He spoke about the importance of having a vision, even when talent exists, or Ghana’s industry would fail. Because of his passion to help the next generation of artists, he’s taken it upon himself to share his expertise in Ghana with his annual music clinic.
Artists in the music industry abroad have had the upper hand for decades because of knowing and understanding the business aspect more so than many artists in Ghana. Before Morgan spoke, other members of Ghana’s music industry shared their experiences in the business saying that “Many musicians don’t know much about the business aspect of the music industry.” Some don’t even realise that to build their careers in music they need more than a manager. Ras, a respected person in Ghana’s music scene, said, “In the business, we have personal managers, road managers, technical managers and business managers…. these all make the artist.” He wanted them to understand the bigger picture is more than just the music, it’s a complete package.
With Morgan’s ability to spot talent, it’s no surprise that artists wanted to meet him and share their music with him in hopes they can be Ghana’s next superstar. A few years ago, one artist stuck out to Gramps Morgan on his visit to Ghana. He was talking to Reggie Rockstone those years ago when he pointed a young man out and declared, “This guy is going to change the face of music in Ghana, this boy has something special.” He was speaking about Stonebwoy, now one of Ghana’s most celebrated artists on a global platform. Morgan surprised Stonebwoy those years ago when he called him asking, “Please, can you come and tour with me?” He made Stoneboy the opening act on his tour and said to him, “This is where your life begins internationally.”
There is no denying the power of collaboration and uplifting emerging singers and musicians. Morgan’s Music Clinic is opening doors for artists in Ghana. His passion for helping is deeply rooted in the connection he feels with the continent. “I feel like it’s my job to build the bridge from the diaspora, to come home…build the bridge from Australia, from the UK, from Europe…because there were Africans that were born there, but they need to have a connection with Africa. This is Africa and it’s time.”