Noella Wiyaala, a sensational Afro-pop singer and songwriter from Ghana, recently expressed her view on the annual Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs) organized by Charterhouse. According to Wiyaala, the prestigious music awards primarily recognize and promote artists based in the Greater Accra region, particularly in the capital city of Accra.
During a recent interview on “The North” Podcast with Prince Hamdan Banang, Wiyaala shared that the selection criteria for VGMAs nominees are not suitable for her, leading her to discontinue submitting nominations. She explained that one of the criteria involves having one’s songs played on all radio stations in Accra, which is challenging for her due to her choice of language.
Wiyaala stated, “In my heart, I believe VGMA is trying to get all of us involved. But let’s not deceive ourselves; it’s evident what VGMA is all about. You have to be in Accra, and your songs have to be popular in Accra. There are songs that were never popular in the North, but they made it, and the criteria keeps changing. It’s their rules and regulations; if you cannot comply, you shouldn’t participate.”
The “Tuma” hitmaker pointed out the lack of deliberate efforts to showcase artists from other regions whose songs may not be widely known due to language barriers. She expressed her concern that this contradicts the essence of VGMA as an award scheme meant to honor musicians throughout Ghana, as it predominantly focuses on specific groups of artists in certain regions of the country.
Wiyaala concluded by stating, “I may be extremely popular in the North, but because it’s an Accra-based program and most of the radio stations are based in Accra, it’s natural that they only hear Accra songs. Most DJs don’t understand our songs, and many people are unwilling to understand our songs.”
You can watch the full interview below: