Sarkodie, high school tour & critics
WHEN you sit on that pedestal as a venerated and most decorated artiste in Ghana, every step, every endeavour of yours is placed under some scrutiny. It therefore comes as no surprise that Sarkodie embarks on a high school tour and it elicits a deluge of sentiments—most being negative and discouraging.
Sarkodie is collaborating with High School Clique and Eagleplug Ghana to venture into a space where most A-list entertainers are failing to explore and exploit, especially in their prime.
In the current dispensation where fan base has become a necessary evil, even when one artiste is on an exemplary and laudable cause, they are ridiculed instead of being applauded and unfortunately, such vitriol are shared and trumpeted by ignoramuses who are on the prowl to criticise.
When Sarkodie announced the High School Tour, it was met with some ambivalence and then cynicism, which got worse when he actually started the tour. The commencement of the tour coincided with the staging of the renowned international fashion gathering, the MET Gala, which was attended by Nigerian music stars, Burna Boy and Tems.
While some were chiding Sarkodie for going to the High Schools instead of gracing the MET Gala platform like his contemporaries, others were scolding him for stooping low to perform for teenagers.
Their argument stems from the fact that, with his status, pedigree and acclaim, Sarkodie ought to be performing to audience at bigger venues and not to minors at Elementary Schools.
High School Fans Matter
Sarkodie is one of the most popular artistes in Ghana and across Africa. He has such an inestimable influence and commands an enviable following across the country. He has sold millions of albums, topped the charts and has been producing hit songs for the past 13 years.
From toddlers through to teenagers to the old folks, the artiste is popular and his songs have resonated in households for years.
Interestingly, these teeming teenagers in High School are fans of Sarkodie too and have been bumping to his fans as long as they have lived. The adoration and admiration they have for the artiste was evident as he has performed in two or so schools thus far.
The teenagers sang along and bellowed every chorus with such enthusiasm and verve—more animated than the VIP guests Sarkodie performed to at the just-ended VGMA.
Any artiste, regardless of pedigree and class would envy the level of attention and zest these teenagers have shown thus far during this tour. They surely matter!
A Cause, A Business
On paper, Sarkodie and his collaborators are tackling a critical matter with the tour. Aside the musical element that comes with it; the Take A Stand initiative aims at encouraging students to take good advantage of today’s Internet and walk on paths devoid of its negatives.
Clearly, the Gen Z are heavy on the Internet, which comes with both positives and negatives and as youngsters, it’s imperative to guide them to tap into the positives to better themselves and whatever endeavours they choose to tinker with.
Subtly, the artiste is also taking advantage of zealous consumers of music and selling his songs and brand to them in such a good way.
According to www.headphonesaddict.com, 70 percent- 90 percent of music lovers who are likely to stream music across the world are in the age bracket of 13-23 across the world. The same research indicates that 61 percent of millennials (age 25-34) are the most likely to pay for a music streaming subscription while 60 percent Gen Z (age 13-23) are the most likely to pay for a music streaming.
Only a business savvy artiste and a proactive team would see such an opportunity and exploit it.
Nothing New Under The Sun
It is quite laughable to see and hear some ignoramuses debase Sarkodie over the tour when they couldn’t expend minutes of their time to check if such a move is abhorrent in any creative industry.
In 2009, Jay-Z has had a string of chart-topping hits and had released the album The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse and unexpectedly, he decided to promote it in a unique way—at a time when most artistes at the height of their career would normally spend time playing concerts at large venues to further promote their music. What he did was to tour high schools with an initiative he called, Principal for a Day tour.
Last year, rapper Jack Harlow visited several high schools in the US, to showcase his music and test the popularity of his brand. From Highland Middle School, Atherton High School, all the way to Fern Creek High School, the rapper toured close to 10 high schools to hang out with the teenagers.
The same year, Chance the Rapper announced touring 20 schools; to project his tech summit/brand engagement session while dishing out chart-topping songs from his catalog.
After 13 years on top, Sarkodie is still clearly in his prime and has the potential of stretching his fan base even to newborn babies. He has proven to be an astute business man who has such grasp on the business that shrouds the music industry. He knows exactly what works for his brand.
After Yaa Asantewa Girls, St. Mary’s Girls and Aburi Girls’ School, he is expected to do Mfantsiman Girls’, Achimota School, St. Theresa’s School and Ghana National College.
That is not all though. After his American tour, SarkNation, High School Clique and Eagleplug Ghana will put together more schools to have a feel of the Take A Stand initiative.
Way to go, King Sark!