Vodafone Icons 2018 ‘Rep Ur Hood Edition’ – A Lesson Of Storytelling, Humour and Originality

The crooners crooned.
The rappers rapped.
The singers sang.
The carollers carolled. 
The murmurers murmured.

And the Vodafone Icons 2018 Rep Ur Hood edition came to an end.

It was such an interesting competition to watch, from the auditions through to the finals. The competition didn’t limp along by showing unnecessary behind the scenes, like contestants in a home eating fried rice and chicken.

The focus was on the music.

And it was great that way.

It gave me some hope that highlife, the thumbprint of Ghana music, wouldn’t die any moment soon. At least not in my lifetime.

The way the finalists perfomed the various Highlife songs was respectful and dignifying.

When Evance worked out his last song of the competition with a honeyed voice, from the beginning, I was dazzled. And when he ended mellifluously, hope for a better future for highlife music filled me to the brim. 

What stood out for me though is the competition’s eventual winner, Bogo Blay.

He was such a sensational singer that put a smile on my face every time he leapt on stage. He was very different and brought a flavour that I yearned for in years. The judges were awed by his unmitigated creativity and stage presence. They threw praises, adulations, compliments… all over him like confetti.

His last performance was a deviation from the usual. He was calm from the start and solemnly set free his well thought out words. Like a one-on-one conversation between an old woman and her grand daughter.

Then as the tempo got larger, messages of faith, appreciation, hope, success, strength, confidence… all fluttered out and filled the stage. And it all dipped down, and like a fallen feather descending stairs of the wind, the Hallelujah chorus” ended it all.

That was the song of a winner.

Three things made Bogo Blay special.

He was a storyteller.
His songs contained lyrics that made sense. And you could follow the storyline to the end. This is what the current crop of young musicians are lacking in Ghana. I call them “The Patchers.” They string together bits and pieces of other people’s songs or they bring unrelated subjects together and just lace them with some danceable beats and voila, their song is done.

They get the hits on social media, parties, funerals and in the trotros. They may make the money and get the fame. However, you can’t quote them in a speech nor can their lyrics make it to textbooks to inspire the next generation.

Bogo Blay’s delivery follows the steps of the Griots that lived in ancient West Africa. They helped preserve Africa’s history. And whenever artist, musicians, poets tread this path, success opens up his arms to them. 

Everyone has a story to tell. But how we tell our story is what makes all the difference. Find the interesting things about yourself or  business that are worth sharing. Perhaps, you might need to look for a new perspective to an old thing. Or find a new way of delivering an old story that can intrigue your audience.

Tell your story genuinely, yet interestingly enough, so others would want to listen to it and share with others.

He had a great sense of humour.
Bogo Blay sang some of his songs in a funny Twi accent. His pronunciation of certain words were deliberately hilarious.

To put a smile on people’s face and let them laugh about human fallibility is a plus.

Humor, when done the right way always draws people and thaws up frozen atmosphere.

Include humor in your story and people will never forget you.

He was original.
Bogo Blay never tried in anyway to be like someone else. This made him comfortable, happy and courageous enough to make his act look effortless.

Aspiring to be the next ‘somebody’ is always a pitfall. 

People have had enough of those who are already successful on the world stage. 

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

To be original doesn’t mean doing things nobody has ever done before. It means doing things your own unique way.

So in  a typical Bogo Blay style, I’m pointing the microphone at you in the audience, and with my right hand cupped around my ear, Lemme hear you say ‘Bogo Blay…!’

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