UNLIKE many other hip-life artistes who dream of international stardom Bice Osei Kuffour, known as Obour, says he is not interested in the global market.
“If it happens cool, [but I am not like the other artistes whose dreams are to get to the international market. I am more conscious about the impact my music makes to the people,” he says.
Obour is constantly listening to African music, rather than American hip-hop (though he does express a weakness for Wyclef). The musician says he is excited by the work his countrymen and other African artists; “I wanna hear what their type of music sounds like” he says.
It was African Hip-life legend Reggie Rockstone who helped to inspire Obour to become a musician in the first place, especially Rockstone’s seminal first album. “It was my first time I heard music with a local dialect, so I wanted to do the same thing,” he said, adding “it sounded more like something we could all get down with it”.
Ghana Music is not Dead!
|Obour getting ready to perform @ the just ended Kwahu Easter homecoming 2007
The musician also had words for those who say Ghanaian music is dead. “The more people think the industry is dead, the more they kill it,” Obour stressed. “In every industry there are ups and downs.” He added that phenomenon of slowing sales is not limited to his art-form: “It is not hip-life or high-life but the entertainment industry [as a whole]”.
The hip-life musician, who was born in Kumasi and is still single, said growing up he had wanted to be a pilot. However as time passed Obour realised that music was his true calling, eventually realising his passion was for hip-life and rap music.
As the first hip-life artist to reach his level at university, smart-headed Obour combined his tertiary education with music very effectively. Several situations tempted him to choose between education and music. “But nothing deterred me since I knew I was doing excellently well at both.
I just [had to] schedule my time properly.”
One time when things didn’t go so exceptionally for the star was back in 2002 when he performed his first concert outside of Greater Accra. At Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region, fans didn’t believe they were actually seeing the star, accusing Obour of being an impostor.
At the time Obour was known for his wild videos, and the star thinks the audience expected him to “be like I was on TV”.
Obour’s attempts to calm the crowd (and verify his own identity) failed and the police had to rescue the artist and take him back to the station for his own protection. Now Obour looks back and laughs, but he looks back at the incident and says it was the “toughest moment” of his career.
Obour shared his thoughts on the nominations released by the Ghana Music Awards recently, saying “I think there are few lapses, but I think something is going to be done about it.”
“To each and every one who love’s the brand Obour, I say keep the peace and stay relaxed because the name is not going to fade away,” he says.
And the star hasn’t given up on his childhood aspirations. “I will still pilot my own jet one day,” he says laughing.