LAST Friday, August 3, one underground musician, Lycon’s, journey of breaking into the mainstream started when he won the maiden edition of the Close Up Campus Tour dubbed 'Close Up Break the Barrier' which came off at the National Theatre.
An initiative of Close Up Ghana, the Close Up Campus Tour is themed 'Close Up Break the Barrier' to reflect the outfit’s desire to break the barrier and connect with young people through entertainment.
The tour went across six regions; Volta, Eastern, Ashanti, Central, Northern and Greater Accra regions to select the best music talent from the various campuses. Six finalists were selected from each of the regions to battle for the top prize.
The finalists, Lycon (Volta), King Virgin (Greater Accra), Rap Dizzle (Central), Acyy (Northern) Cryme Officer (Eastern) and The Officials (Ashanti) battled it out with two performances of their own original compositions.
Though the HipHop flavour was dominant in their songs, some of them were able to fuse the songs with their local dialects to be unique.
The finalists of 'Close Up Break the Barrier' competition
The judges, veteran musician, Akosua Adjapong and producer, Richie Mensah of Lynx Entertainment were very impressed with the performance of the amateur acts although they also criticised where necessary.
A moment when both fans and judges were excited
The overall winner of 'Close Up Break the Barrier', Lycon stood out for his Ewe rap over both traditional and HipHop beats.
At a point, Akosua Adjapong gave him a standing ovation while Richie complimented him saying he was a professional pretending to be an amateur artiste. He said, “the only reason you came to this competition is to get some exposure.”
For coming tops, Lycon will receive an undisclosed amount of money, one-year supply of products from Close Up and mentorship from Kaywa and Richie.
Accy(Northern Region rep) in action
Cryme Officer(Eastern Region rep) rapping to the audience
King Virgin(Greater Accra rep) was exciting
Rap Dizzle from the Central Region was impressive at 'Close Up Break the Barrier'
The Officials, the duo from Ashanti Region
Other awards including Best Lyricist went to Cryme Officer, Most Exciting Act of the Evening went to Acyy, King Virgin took home the Best Stage Presence award with Rap Dizzle being adjudged the Most Promising Act.
The Officials, the only duo in the competition, took home the award for the performer who has improved over the entire journey of the competition.
Akosua Adjapong told Showbiz she was impressed with the talents she saw on stage. The veteran Highlife musician applauded the originality of the contestants; especially the overall winner, Lycon, and Accy from the Northern Region.
“I think these guys are ready for the main stream music industry in Ghana, because coming on stage is one thing, but getting out to perform to a large audience without any trace of stage fright is another thing.
"But these guys had it all, we didn’t see any fear or shyness in any of them. They came ready to perform”, she said.
Richie Mensah of Lynx Entertainment, also praised some of the talents who gave exemplary performance.
He even went ahead to endorse Wo Bua, an original song performed by Cryme Officer as a possible hit. “I think this song is already a hit on the streets”, he said.
Adina performing at 'Close Up Break the Barrier'
Teephlow in full flight
Dope Nation, B4 Bonah, Teephlow, and a host of other artistes entertained the audience at 'Close Up Break the Barrier', but it was Kuami Eugene, KiDi, Medikal, Adina, Kurl Songx and Mr Drew who turned things up a notch higher and had the audience on their feet dancing to their tunes.
A section of the excited audience at the 'Close Up Break the Barrier' event
Pictures: Jerry Wonder