From The Industry

DJ Ashmen: the sage of Ghanaian music

Well known for his vast knowledge of Ghanaian music, DJ Ashmen is parallel to what exists as DJing in Ghana.

His collection of vintage, genre shaping, and modern adapted Ghanaian music is one that will make you take off your headsets, look at his playlists track list again and plug them back in at full volume.

He has music for all generations due to his love for music and also finding himself during the important years of Ghanaian music’s growth.

From Palm wine Highlife, Burger Highlife, down to the Highlife of the late 1990s and 2000 through to the birth of Hiplife, and what we now call “Afrobeats”, DJ Ashmen will move you with each selection from any generation you belong to!

DJ Ashmen: the sage of Ghanaian music
DJ Ashmen. Photo Credit: DJ Ashmen

That’s myth of the ‘Sage’ of Ghanaian music.

Born Michael Mensah Ashley, DJ Ashmen grew up amongst his younger male siblings somewhere in the late 1980s in Accra.

He had family members in Nigeria who will come to Ghana, on visits, with some Nigeria music that he would always listen to.

My mom tells a tale of how I’ll always need music to be playing before I can sleep; that tells you one thing. Music has been with me since birth” DJ Ashmen recalls.

He educated himself at the Alajo 1/2 School, furthering to the Accra Technical Training Center to study electronics.

DJ Ashmen didn’t stop there as his love for DJing pushed him on to enrol in a couple of high-profile online course that would help his craft.

He would later try his skills at dancing although, obviously, it ended sour for him. “I’m an electronics person with love for music and sound but at one point in time I tried dancing. It didn’t work out well as you can see”.

With the knowledge acquired, DJ Ashmen got into radio and has been in it for the past 15 years blasting the airwaves with well-curated Ghanaian music.

DJ Ashmen: the sage of Ghanaian music
DJ Ashmen and his turntables. Photo Credit: DJ Ashmen

Reminiscing through the years, DJ Ashmen fondly recollects the first tape cassette he bought.

This usually gets him some trolls who tag him as an old man.

But DJ Ashmen insists “I’m not old, I just started early. Very early. I understand why I get those trolls because I’ve been in this industry for a long time”.

Looking at how far he’s come with the solid brand that he has built over the last 2 decades, DJ Ashmen is rebranding his image into a much solid one that will not entertain with music, but leave lasting memories at every place the name DJ Ashmen is heard or seen.

Yes, that’s the solid image that will be built in the moments as he says; “I’m rebranding because when you try one thing over a certain period, you’ll need to freshen up to fit into the times by adding some things”.

DJ Ashmen: the sage of Ghanaian music
New DJ Ashmen logo. Photo Credit: DJ Ashmen

This will also lead to a new DJ Ashmen new logo. I wanted a unique logo to fit with the new DJ Ashmen. The old logo looked generic and common amongst my fellow DJs” DJ Ashmen concludes.

As part of the rebranding, DJ Ashmen will be launching other services in addition to his DJing portfolio including his music career, a production career, a TV programme, DJ Ashmen-themed events and many more.

With all that he’s achieved in the years he’s been active; one would expect the well-known DJ to be honoured with some Ghanaian recognition if not International.

That’s not what exists, however. Awards schemes haven’t been so kind on DJ Ashmen; the Power Behind Music.

Enumerating a long list of award nominations for last the 8 years, DJ Ashmen has not been honoured for his contribution to the growth of Ghanaian music yet.

This is the only anomaly on an otherwise blossoming career.

However, a nomination, 4 years ago for the World Mixtape Awards is one DJ Ashmen holds dearly because he was the only African in the list.

The recognition as one of the best in the World spoke volumes to his contribution to music worldwide.

Aside from his radio show and countless worldwide certified mixtapes he does, DJ Ashmen has performed at some places, events and artists including the biggest night club in Africa Rock City Night Club, the Queen’s Birthday (British High Commission) and Reggie N Bollie.

For the last 15 years, DJ Ashmen has been a figure in the growth of Ghanaian music worldwide as such the music-versed DJ should be celebrated for his achievement in our space.

His rebranding would, hopefully, also coincide with honour for his selfless dedication of promoting Ghanaian music from the country to the airwaves of Africa at large.

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