The Electroland office space in the Samsung building at the Ring Road played host to a Sarkodie private album listening session yesterday. With journalists, bloggers and friends present, Sarkodie answered questions from a section of the audience on his career, family, experiences and his new album.
The ‘Highest’, slated for release on Friday, September 8th, will be Sarkodie’s fifth studio album since making an entry into the music space in 2008. The 18 track album span the genres of hiphop and afropop with highlife influences. With Jayso as the producer of the album, Sarkodie also features artistes like Worlasi, Joey B, Jayso, Victoria Kimani and Nigerian acts Flavour, Koredo Bello and Jesse Jagz.
Hosted by Live FM’s Antoine Mensah, the session was simple, well-attended, intimate (courtesy the space), lively and conservational. It was Antoine who revealed Sarkodie has, in 2017 released just two singles (‘Pain Killer’ and ‘Gbozaa’). The rest have been verses on songs by other artistes. Surprisingly, this album has none of the young acts he has worked with. The only ‘new artist’ featured was Worlasi, who came upon the recommendation of album producer Jayso. He described Worlasi as ‘just incredible’ and loved his ‘state of mind when it comes to his creativity’.
On the inspiration behind the album, Sark indicated that, his daughter, Titi, heavily influenced his creativity in terms of what songs to make and what to say. ‘Even though she doesn’t understand a word of what I say, I had to be very self-conscious of what I say’, he added. ‘Highest’, Sarkodie revealed wasn’t made with radio in mind. He made it for the fans.
On why he decided to work with Jayso, he revealed it was because of the history the two of them share. Jayso was the brain behind some of the biggest hits Sarkodie had made since his career began in 2009. ‘Jayso knows my story (begins) and felt he’s the right guy to produce this album’. The two had had a good working relationship which resulted in an unrealized collaborative album, ‘The Mind Game’ despite releasing three singles.
Asked how he handles the pressure that comes with his position as the leading artiste in Ghana, he confessed it wasn’t easy from the beginning. ‘I’ve matured now so it’s a little easier’, although he admitted it’s still work in progress.
Recording of the ‘Highest’ began some two years ago ‘around the time ‘Bossy’ came out. The thing with Jayso is that,you can’t rush the work. It takes time’, he indicated. As part of the promotion of the album, tours across Europe, the US and Ghana was announced.
Jayso intimated how much work has gone in the making of the album, the doubts of Sarkodie on hosting an album listening for fear of ‘leaks’ and getting corporate organizations to get involved. On the subject of free downloads and leaks, Jayso siad they are guarding against it. He appealed to music journalists and platforms to at least share links of songs to the music hosting platforms of the artistes rather than ‘owning’ the songs. ‘It may not bring us money but we can show the numbers (of downloads or plays) to corporate organizations for sponsorships’, Jayso revealed.
This point was emphasized by Sark during the Q&A session where he appealed to all to patronize their artistic creations as the Nigerians do with their artistes. The support system in Nigeria is seen in the quality of music and videos their artistes release. Despite the success of some Ghanaian artistes, their videos don’t measure to standards.
The audience were played six songs from the album. Six music videos for the songs ‘Overdose’, ‘Baby Mama’, ‘Glory’, ‘Your Waist’, ‘We No Dey Fear’ and ‘Come To Me’ were screened exclusively for the invited guests. According to Sark, ten videos have been shot and would be released in due time. One thing is clear from watching the video: they do smell like money. Sark dropped the money bag for the videos. Exotic as hell.
‘Highest’ is the fifth album in his catalogue, coming after Makye, Rapperholic, Sarkology and Mary.
And let me add this: the new Samsung QLED TV offers you that fantastic viewing experience. The picture quality is mind blowing. And, electronic maker NASCO has entered the phone making market. Sarkodie was presented with a branded version of their phone.