Ghanaian reggae dancehall artiste, Mzvee spoke to Encomium Weekly on her career and nominations for BET awards as the first female Ghanaian artiste to be nominated in that category. Born Vera Hamennoo- Kpeda into the Ewe tribe in Ghana, an undergraduate of Business Administration at Ghana Telecoms University, she is young, talented and an energetic performer anytime she steps on the stage. The “Natural girl” hit maker shared her journey into the music world with us.
How did music start for you?
Music started for me in 2011. I am a small girl so (laughs) I was in secondary school…no I was done with secondary school and I met with my friend who I was in school with, Samira Buhari. So when we finished school, we met again and she told me we should go and see Richie Mensah, award winning producer. So yes, it started from there.
Was music your childhood ambition?
Never! I never thought I would end up singing at all. If someone gave me a million dollar and told me, you would be a musician in future, I would have said no.
So, where did you get the inspiration to go music?
It started like a fun thing. Me and friends started a girl band, D3 and we started recording songs from time to time. But it became serious for me at a point because I realized it helped me in so many ways. It helped me find myself, I am still finding myself and it’s helped me become more independent. It helped me gain more self confidence because I was very timid before I started singing, yeah.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up…I’m from the Ewe tribe in Ghana. And my family is a typical Ewe family, very, very strict. I mean, my parents were very strict. So, growing up was just home, church, nothing fun at all. Yes, that was about it for me, till we went to see Richie after school and that was it.
How did your parents feel when you decided to go into showbiz?
My mom was okay, but my dad hated it totally. He hated the fact that I wanted to sing, knowing parents and how they love their kids and all these things about the industry, you know, the smoking, drinking, doing drugs and how girls sleep their way to the top, and stuff like that. They really didn’t want me to go ahead and do it, but as time went on, my dad saw that I was harmless and I am with like the best record label here in Ghana, and they are totally professional, so when he saw that, he became cool with it.
You launched your solo career about three years ago and you are already rubbing shoulders with the big wigs in the industry. What do you think worked or is working for you?
I think it’s mainly hard work and my team. In team Lnyxx, we don’t stop. We keep moving, because in Ghana, especially when you are new, it’s hard for people to want to even listen to you or pay attention to you, so you have to keep pushing. Yes, you can start and stop, then you’ve wasted your time, so it’s just hard work and my team, that’s it.
So, why did you choose dancehall out of all the genres of music?
I chose dancehall… even though I do different types of music, in my album last year in 2014, I had some RnB songs, highlife, hip hop and some gospel, but mainly dancehall, because when I started… I love dancehall by the way. I really love dance, because when I started that was the in thing, you know, you have to start with a bang. People have to listen to you, and that’s what people were listening to at that time, so that’s what I decided to go with.
So, what inspired your hit song, Natural girl?
Natural girl is just about being yourself, your true self not trying to stand in anyone’s shadow and be like anybody. Be yourself, be creative and create your own story. That’s what Natural girl is all about. Natural girl doesn’t talk about your hair, your make up. You can do whatever makes you look good on your own skin. Don’t wish you were anybody, because we all have our own problems, so be yourself. You can always win at being yourself, no one can pass you when you are natural not trying to be somebody else. Nobody can pass you when it comes to being yourself, and that’s the only way you can find true happiness.
What are the challenges being in a male dominated type of music?
Male dominated industry…I don’t encounter any challenge if I should say. I’ve been in the industry for two years now as MzVee so I’m still working hard and I can say proudly that I am there with the guys. When it comes to shows I’m mostly up there so, I didn’t think there is any competition.
Tell us about some of the awards you’ve gotten so far? Any international award yet?
I haven’t received any international award yet, but I have gotten some few nominations, for example, BET, AFRIMA, NEA awards, quite a few. For BET, I’m the first female to be nominated from Ghana and I felt really good about it, very happy. My family, my team we are so excited about it.
Why did your former group decide to split?
We had to pursue our educational career, so we felt it’s best if we just split and go do what we had to do.
So, where do you see Mzvee in five years?
In five years, by God’s grace, I should be known in Africa and I should be making lot of hits. And I don’t know…it will be amazing in years. I can’t really tell, but it will be really good.
Is mzvee in any relationship?
Oh! I will definitely love to have a relationship one day, but not, because it’s all about my music.
And who is your ideal man?
I’m not sure, but it’s just someone who has to be respectful, God fearing and should like to have some fun, yeah.
So what do you have to say about the news in the media that you are romantically linked with dancehall artiste, Stonebowy?
It’s not true. Stonebowy and I are like brother and sister. We have a good working relationship, that is all I can say about that.
What advice will you give to up and coming artistes out there still trying to find their feet in the music industry?
They should believe their dreams and make sure it’s something they love and work very hard at it and don’t let anyone bring you down. If you want to do something learn to persevere.
Who are your role models?
Efya, Kojo Entwi, Rihanana, Beyonce, Tiwa Savage…
Have you had collaboration with any Nigerian artiste?
No, I’ve not had collaborations with any yet, but I’ve got a few coming up and we are really working hard at it.
– ADEBUKOLA ADENEYE- EDAH