There seemingly has been a new wave blowing along the Ghanaian gospel scene for some time now and complaints of mediocrity and lack of quality production and delivery of music as an art also seem to be waning with contemporary gospel finally pushing beyond its confines among the charismatic circles of fans onto the mainstream circles of the Ghanaian music scene.
Another development is the diversity of styles that are emerging on the gospel scene. There is a Christian rap, R&B, pop and afrobeat gospel circuit on the rise which is somewhat synonymous to the ‘underground’ or alternative music scene of the secular terrain.
This has propelled the emergence of a couple of new gospel artistes and the renaissance of some renowned artistes and groups who are tweaking the ‘usual gospel music style’ a bit to attract diverse audience with the life changing themes of the gospel.
It is from this diversity and development that has borne the music prodigy, Paapa.
Born into arts-loving Christian family where music is adored, Paapa’s childhood is a fairytale and only usual of rare music prodigies- magical milestones at young ages. At age 5, he encountered his first piano and by 7, he was already playing by ear. He later took interest in several other instruments and taught himself percussions from age 9, guitar from 12, drums from 15 and saxophone from 16. Owing to his severe stammer, Paapa took to writing at age– penning his thoughts and feelings mostly into songs as an escape from his struggle with speech and a year later began making his own beats. Following an improvisation of the Suzuki method, Paapa learns music mainly by ear, although being musically literate.
Paapa’s music and artwork, however, blossomed during his senior high school career at the SOS-Hermann Gmeiner International College, Tema. Right from his first year, Paapa did everything from conducting choirs and leading the school band, to directing and starring in school plays. Paapa’s undying love and devotion for music and art dictated his every move at SOS, and earned him popularity in and out of school as “The music man”, all the while excelling in Mathematics, Economics, Physics and other academic subjects. It was also at SOS that Paapa developed a deep love and reverence for Christ and decided to consecrate the rest of his existence to serving God.
Just before his fourth year at SOS, Paapa, a few weeks before turning 18, had the chance of visiting Jayso’s studio with very little intention of joining the Skillions team. All Paapa wanted was his work, which was formerly only heard and reviewed by his 5 siblings, to be scoped by a professional like Jayso. Armed with his keyboard full of beats he had produced that will be complemented with the creatively written lyrics in his brain, Paapa blew Jayso away, and received lot more than a thumbs up from him.
He was instantly invited to join the team, and accepted without hesitation. Paapa grew up listening to literally all kinds of music and cites his main musical influences as Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Osibisa, Freshlyground, OneRepublic, Lupe Fiasco, Timbaland, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Kierra Kiki Sheard and Smokie Norful. With a fusion of as many genres as one can think of, Paapa now seeks to overwhelm the profanity and immorality conveyed in most of today’s music and art with his fresh, clean and timely lyrics and God-inspired themes. Be it hip-hop, funk, soul, or high-life, Paapa, a devout Christian, steeps a message of God, salvation, hope and love in his works. Now a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, singer, rapper and producer, Paapa strives to be the 21st century David – the unremitting worshipper.
It has almost been a year since Paapa released his maiden album, Solar. The eclectic sounds and styles that emanated from the album were all developed and produced by Paapa, creatively in a production experience with a basic Yamaha keyboard. Even so, it doesn’t readily come to mind until being told owing to the quality is presented with listening to the album and most importantly the passionate themes of self-discovery, salvation, morality, positivity, self image and celebration of life that are first noticed.
The free Solar album has won for Paapa diverse music followers and the rippling effect from fans’ passionate love for tracks such as ‘BeYoutiful’, ‘Dear Grace’, ‘Pure Water’, ‘Jesus Cries’ and ‘Stronger’, is the many doors that have opened up for the young chap and keep opening as he delights the world with his mind blowing style of performances.
Back two months ago after his first year at Reed College in Portland, USA where he is pursuing his first degree, Paapa has put up sizzling performances at some events low key and mid profile.
However, on Sunday 29th July, 2012, Paapa is set to headline his biggest concert yet this summer put together by 233Live at the Scratch Studios Concert Hall, near the Guest Hotel, East Legon at 7pm. He will be supported by other emerging new talents who are also blazing the Ghana gospel rap and R&B scene: Preachers, Heavens Connection, Crossfire and Kingzkid.
With an entry ticket of GHc 20.00 that can be obtained at Frankies in Osu and Accra Mall’s Fotostore, one is destined for an experience worth reliving. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t miss this and just in case you have thoughts of being comforted by my review after the concert when you miss out, you’ll have to think twice because memorable moments are best experienced and narrated!
Solar, (Skillion Records), 2011