Signature tune is a short, pre-recorded sample used by producers as segues between songs that give listeners a brief identification of the producer, generally about 20 seconds or less: . Since the inception of this idea a whole lot of sound engineers in Ghana have come out with their own signature tunes.
Any song you listen to in Ghana now, it's likely to hear names of producers at the beginning or the middle of the song, eg. 'Nacy fetsew nwom no'', ''Appietus in the mix'','' padi roro'', ''I don't know what I go talk oo kase Kaywa'', ''Moris Baby Face'', ''George Forest: Play and Mix'', ''Bassy Mix'', ''Jay Master Jay baby'', ''Bottle Breaker J Q, Lynx and the Last Two Hammer just to mention a few.
Some of the earlier sound engineers to start this was Jay Q, King Cyrus, Hammer of the last two, Agyingo, Morris Baby Face, Appietus, RoRo, King Tyron and few others.
When signature tunes started in Ghana many music lovers in the country thought the names they heard in the songs were the names of the artiste, until recently there has been some education about signature tunes.
Signature tunes are not bad, what makes it bad and unprofessional is the way and manner they are being used in Ghana. Some engineers put it in the beginning, middle and some few bars before the song ends, all in the name of promoting themselves in the songs they have produced. Do we have to place signature tunes in all songs? The answer is no because a cool worship song doesn`t need a signature tune. Some signature tunes don't do anything good to the song but rather interrupt the lyrics and brings down the beauty of the songs.
Nana Kwaku Osei aka Nacy has explained the reason why he uses signature tunes. According to him most of the musicians he started working for when he entered into sound engineering were ungrateful. They failed to recognize and mention his name when they went for radio and TV interviews. He also said they fail to acknowledge his name on the inlays of their CD's and cassettes.
Nacy also said at a point in time he decided not to put his signature tune in the songs again but the singers will complain and will insist that the signature tune should be put in the songs. This is the reason why he decided to promote himself in the songs he produce.
Nacy said it on the weekend entertainment morning show on 16 March 2012 on Rainbow Radio with Agyemang Prempeh formally of channel R's Total Entertainment 205.
Some sound engineers also think it's a form of promotion for them because, at certain times when they fail to put their signature tunes in the songs they produce, people give the credits to some sound engineers as the creators of the beats.
Mighty Zapp Mallet does not have his name mentioned on tracks he produces, and one can say he has produced for every credible artiste in Ghana. I like the saying in Akan "adepa na eton ne ho" meaning good things sells by themselves. I don't think a producer needs to put his name in a song before he becomes popular in Ghana.
My question is, if you put your signature tune in songs to promote yourself, do you pay the musicians for that publicity? Some of our sound engineers have been able to achieve that and a lot of Ghanaians can easily identify them by their beat. Some unpopular sound engineers have also adopted this smooth way of promoting themselves, they sometimes put their signature tune in the song for about five to six times which is sometimes boring.
Signature tunes are used in some parts of the world especially America. Khaled Bin Abdul Khaled better known by his stage name DJ Khaled, is an American record producer, radio personality, DJ, rapper & record label executive. He is one person who will like to put his signature tune in songs he produces, he normally puts it in songs he is featured on.
I was passing by a church around North Kaneshie a suburb of Accra and the choristers were learning Ohemaa Mercy "Wobe Ye Kese" . I decided to listen to them while they were singing because it's one of my favorite tunes. Surprisingly, when they got to some point they all shouted “Naacyyyyyyy” and continued with “fetew nwom no” which simply literally means “mix the song”. I asked my self do they really know that is just the signature tune of the producer?
An elderly man once told me that in Ghana the best musicians whose songs he likes to listen to are Appietus and Nacy. I asked him why and he said they always come out with hit songs. I tried to explain to him that they are just the producers of the songs and not the singers.
On a lighter note, Appietus we need you more on the key board and not on the mic.
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