One of the exciting things about the music industry is the fact that, each day brings with it a new voice, a new talent with enough potential to earn their stripes. Talk to them and they all hold the same dreams: they all want to succeed, make an impact and leave behind a body of work that would influence a new generation. The music industry’s livewire is but fresh talents that emerge on the scene; who plug their talents into the engine, thus keeping it revving.
The question of whether being talented guarantees success has been raging for years. While some would agree, others hold the view that success is guaranteed for those willing to combine their talents with the hard work that the trade requires. Those two worlds, when pulled together in equal measure would hasten the journey to stardom.
20-year old Lamie, real name Monica Lamisi Anang is aware of the rugged road ahead and the tenacity required to survive in this turbulent music industry. It’s a decision she made and, as expected willing to run her race to the end. ‘’The journey has been really tough. Mostly because we don’t have the resources to promote my work in the manner we want to. I have also come to learn that most artists had a rough start to their careers so I’m still very hopeful for the future’’, the Libra and former St. John’s Grammar School student indicated in an e-mail correspondence.
The Accra born Lamisi traces her heritage to Sandema in the Upper East Region. The passing of her dad when she was young meant her mother became the family’s sole provider. She would admit, life was never easy for her mum, her older brother and herself. Despite the hardships, Lamie carries with her an air of optimism about life. ‘’It hasn’t been an easy ride but I am looking forward to better days’’.
Though her musical journey kicked off in 2018, her journey began on an almost fortuitous note; an invitation from a rapper friend to a studio session ended with her recording a song. Impressed by what he heard, the owner of the studio, Leslie ended up becoming her manager. Since then, she has released four singles with ‘’Bra’’ featuring rapper Ko-Jo Cue being her most known song. ‘’I approached Ko-Jo Cue on twitter and asked him for collaboration…I thought he wasn’t going to reply but about an hour later he sent a DM containing his email’’, she revealed how she earned that feature.
One thing that caught our attention and necessitated this interview went beyond her reputation as an artist. Rather, her show of support to other artists by either expressing excitement or sharing their projects on twitter. That show of support is considerably rare for two reasons: one, most artists show support to artists they are cool with; and second; when the artist has a bit of clout. For Lamie, she is comfortable showing support for others because she is not in a completion with anyone. ‘’There is more than enough room for everyone to be successful’’, she tells us, adding: ‘’I am never hesitant to support another person’s project’’.
In this interview, Lamie speaks on her journey in the music scene thus far, how she intends to build a lasting career, her dream of work with Sarkodie and Mugeez. She also speaks on the impact COVID-19 of on her plans of the year and the challenges female artist grapple with in the industry.
Do you remember your first reaction to music – How did you feel?
Frankly I don’t remember my first reaction to music. I was probably very young so I don’t remember. But if I didn’t love it I wouldn’t be pursuing a music career. Music has always been my first love.
When did you make the decision to be an artist? Was it something you heard or felt that motivated you?
I decided to become an artist in November 2018. That was right after I had completed SHS. I wanted to do music but I didn’t have the means to go to the studio and pay for a recording. Luckily a friend who is a rapper invited me to the studio where he records. I went there and did one project. The engineer there is Deelawbeatz. He has produced almost all my songs. Leslie, who owns the studio wasn’t around on the first day so when he went there later, they told him about me. Leslie liked the song and he offered to help me. That’s how he became my manager. So we began working right away even though we were both rookies in the industry.
How has the journey been so far?
For most part, the journey has been really tough. Mostly because we don’t have the resources to promote my work in the manner we want to. With that said, I love working with Leslie as he is always eager to come up with moves which will aid our progress and he has been very supportive. Things started looking good for us in March.
I was hopeful my career would at least take off (this year). Unfortunately, the Corona virus hit us and all the meetings, shows and other stuff had to be forgone. We were on the verge of talking to some potential investors but we could not meet them. We were devastated but we keep moving. I have also come to learn that most artists had a rough start to their careers so I’m still very hopeful for the future.
What have you learnt during this short stint in the industry- both positives and negatives?
I have learnt a lot. It’s a tough industry and you have to work really hard if you want to make it to the top. I think that’s a good lesson because it keeps me motivated. I have noticed that our artists fight with each other more often than they show support for each other. It’s sad to see especially in a country where Afrobeats began. We should be supporting each other and promoting the amazing talents from this country. I have also noticed that Ghanaian music lovers pay more attention to foreign music. I have no idea why it is so but I want to urge my colleagues to come together and work harder to make our people fall in love with our music.
‘’Bra’’ with Ko-Jo Cue is the song that introduced you to many. How did that collaboration happen?
‘’Bra’’ is my fourth single. I approached Ko-Jo Cue on twitter and asked him for a collaboration. That was the first time I had interacted with him. I thought he wasn’t going to reply but about an hour later he sent a DM with his email. He said if he likes the song he would do it and luckily for me he did.
What is your impression thus far on the reception the song has gathered?
The song has been received very well. I have made new fans and the old ones love it too. But, I know it would have done much better if we had the resources to promote it well. But altogether, the feedback has been amazing.
What kind of artist is Lamie? Do you mostly work spontaneously or you are the perfectionist who takes months to record a song?
I’d say Lamie is both. It usually depends on the song. There are songs that you are able to finish quickly because the vibes keep coming. There are also others that you have to take your time with and find the right lyrics. But even with those ones, I usually finish within two days. I have learnt to become a perfectionist in recent times. I have learnt its bad for an artist to put out material they aren’t fully convinced about. I think there are a couple of songs that, if I could I would touch on them again but it’s all good.
In an industry where female artists often fade out fast compared to their male colleagues, what is Lamie doing differently to stay for the whole hog?
I think building a fan base is really important but most of the female artists are not doing that. Most of them do not also spend enough time to interact with fans. These are the people who will stream your music and come to your shows so you have to give them a lot of attention. I have plans of building a fan base that will be as relevant as the biggest ones we have in our industry. Some of the female artists do not also release music often and when you starve your fans for a long time they might start forgetting about you because there are lots of other artists who will be putting music out.
You recently tweeted your desire to work with Sarkodie. What would that collaboration mean to you and your career?
Sarkodie needs no introduction. We are all aware of how influential he is in our industry. Just one song with him can really shape up my career. He has helped a lot of emerging artists come up the ladder to become mainstream artists.
You are one of the few people within the music space who show support to your fellow artists, be it sharing links, interacting under their post. It’s rare to see. Why is that show of support important?
Well, I am here to make my mark in the industry. I am not competing with anyone. There is more than enough room for everyone to be successful. This is the ideology Leslie and I have had since we started working, so I am never hesitant to support another person’s project, though Leslie joked one time that I had to step my game up because I was competing with Gyakie. It was just a joke though. He encourages me to show support all the time and truthfully it takes nothing away from me or my craft.
This COVID-19 lockdown has proven the importance of social media for artists to connect with fans and bring value to themselves. What plans do you have to maximize social media to advance your career?
Social media is arguably the biggest factor in deciding whether a project will be a success or not. Artists have enjoyed major success from having their songs go viral on social media. I am still learning how best I can use it to maximize its effect on my music. There also a few projects I will be starting soon. One of them is #LamieNovel. I will be uploading videos in which I tell stories regarding my music. These stories will include happenings during recordings, interviews, shows and more. It’s just something to make the fans feel closer to me and get to know me more.
Listening to your other songs, love appears to be a running theme. What does love mean to you and why is it important to explore it?
Love isn’t something we can do away with. Everyone relates to love so it’s easier to make love songs. I have only two love songs by the way; ‘’Odoyewu’’, my first single and ‘’Bra’’ which is the latest one. Love is beautiful.
How much of your own personal life experiences are found in the music you make?
Almost all my songs come from very personal experiences. My third single ‘Aye’ is one which is from a personal experience. There are a lot more songs that will tell more of on my story when they are released. People will get to know me more through these songs.
Apart from Sarkodie, are there any other artists you’d want to work with?
Mugeez is my favourite artist from Ghana. It will be such a blessing to work with him. I’d love to work with Stonebwoy and Samini too. Stonebwoy is an amazing artist and a big inspiration to me. I have sent him a project so I’m hoping he will get me a verse for it. I am open to working with any artist as long as we can create something beautiful.