In the harmonious world of music, where lyrics meet melodies and voices entwined with instruments, there exists a group of unsung heroes – the songwriters.
These maestros of words and emotions craft the lyrical tapestry that weaves magic into songs, yet they often remain hidden in the shadows of the artistes they empower.
It’s time to shine a spotlight on the often-overlooked world of songwriting and the need for proper recognition in the music industry.
Music comprises three fundamental elements: the beat, the vocals, and the lyrics. Lyrics are crafted and then transformed into vocal melodies, blending seamlessly with instrumental accompaniments to create music.
Many talented artistes possess the unique ability to spontaneously create music without the need for written lyrics, relying on freestyling.
Conversely, some artistes prefer to meticulously pen down their words to maintain control and avoid unintended consequences in their songs. Remarkably, some individuals are blessed primarily with the gift of singing, while others excel in the art of songwriting, giving rise to the concept of collaborative songwriting.
The concept of an external songwriter crafting lyrics for an artist to bring to life through their vocals has gained traction. In Ghana, notable artistes such as Akwaboah, Kuami Eugene, Kidi, King Promise, and others have ventured into songwriting for fellow musicians.
However, there is a prevailing perception that artistes who engage songwriters lack talent, overshadowing the significant contributions of these writers. Regrettably, songwriters often go unrecognized, with their work overshadowed by the public’s fixation on whether the artiste can write their own songs.
As a result, songwriters in Ghana have not received the full recognition they deserve. A simple Google search fails to yield prominent Ghanaian songwriters, although there is an existing association of songwriters in the country. Even on streaming platforms, artists often fail to credit songwriters properly, leaving their invaluable contributions unacknowledged.
Kuami Eugene, a prolific songwriter in Ghana, recently disclosed in an interview that he co-wrote Mr. Drew’s latest song ‘Case.’ However, he did not receive the due credit he deserved, as Mr. Drew omitted his name from the song credits on streaming platforms like Spotify. This situation underscores the need to address the issue of proper accreditation for songwriters and collaborators.
It is disheartening to hear artistes casually mention, ‘Person X wrote the song for me,’ or ‘I co-wrote the song with Person Y,’ without proper credits appearing in the song’s metadata. This oversight extends to performers and backing vocalists. This situation raises questions about the contracts and discussions that take place among artists before engaging in songwriting collaborations, particularly within the same industry.
Music, in all its forms, is deeply spiritual, and inspiration cannot be stifled by contract negotiations. Artistes often find themselves parking their cars mid-drive to jot down lyrics or record a melody when inspiration strikes. It should not be an artiste’s responsibility to draft contracts before sharing their creative input with fellow artistes; rather, this falls within the purview of managers and professionals in the industry.
In conclusion, I implore both artistes and artiste managers to give due importance to songwriting credits. Let’s keep our focus on the joy of making music and avoid unnecessary conflicts over critical aspects such as accurate and fair crediting.
By Cyril Senason Anani|3xtra.tv|Ghana