Entertainment of Thursday, 16 March 2017
Last Saturday was the turn of the University of Ghana to host Vodafone’s X-Men tour, an event that seeks to empower young people with real life challenges as well as success stories of successful people so as to guide them in making life choices.
UT Bank’s Mr. Prince Kofi Amoabeng and the man behind Sarkcess Music, Michael Owusu Addo, a.k.a Sarkodie were the key speakers at the event which took place at University of Ghana’s Central Cafeteria.
Hosted by broadcaster Anita Erskine, the session which had already made stops at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the Cape Coast University had the Legon students clamouring for more even as Mr. Prince Amoabeng and Sarkodie shared their work, spiritual and love journeys.
For the Unique Trust boss, coming back to Legon reawakened cherished memories as a student on campus. He mentioned how in their day they had the pleasure of being served coffee, tea and iced cream accompanying their main meal of rice and chicken or other meals they desired.
He recollected how lifts worked in various halls adding “it was regrettable the situation wasn’t same for later generations because of hardships.” The president of UT Holdings, Mr. Amoabeng further rendered there was liberty and things worked adding “we were treated as special citizens.”
The man who became a notable and successful businessman noted during his time at Legon they were paid to study adding he used his first government allowance to charter a taxi, head to the Continental Hotel, take a bottle of beer, smoke Rothmans cigarette while the taxi man waited eventually dropping him at his hall all for 1 cedi.
For Sarkodie, asked if fame and wealth have changed him, the hiplife sensation stated he was still the Michael of yore except that the fame wouldn’t allow him to move freely as he would want to.
He said before the fame, he used to consume a lot of food but his daily routine of walking several miles from his home to the studio ensured he was in shape but now with vehicles at his disposal, he is unable to walk as much so must hit the gym to burn fat.
Touching on the toil before the fame, Michael Owusu Addo mentioned to the eager crowd that at a point he had to live with relations away from his parents in Accra adding those times were some of the toughest he endured as he was made to sell yams at Mile 7.
The ‘huh’ man explained he used music to vent out his frustration and anger as he was a man of few words who kept to himself.
Returning to Mr. Amoabeng and asked about his hustle, the ex-military man stated he got out of his comfort zone, tested himself before becoming successful. He noted his wife had left him and taken the children too. He had completed his university course 20 years prior but realized he wasn’t advancing in life although he was trading and making some cash.
Sarkodie narrated making music was about passion rather than making money. “It wasn’t about building a house, getting a car or sleeping in big hotels but it was to speak about experiences.”
According to Sarkodie, the good life were perks that came with the music but it was never about the stardom. He warned the youth “don’t lose yourself, the old Michael is alive,” adding “the work ethic is way more serious than when I started.”
Sarkodie reckons that if anyone comes to music or any other venture seeking a house, car, and fame when he or she eventually gets it, the motivation to continue or churn more content will evaporate hence the plight of artistes who churn good content but after a while fizzle out.
Mr. Amoabeng rallied the congregants to identify love for a product or service which also impacts the lives of people. Citing his case, he noted when he started giving out loans, it was one of the businesses he just ventured into but when he realized the impact those loans had in the business operation of his clients, it dawned on him that he couldn’t just stop on a whim as happened to some of his businesses.
“Have love for people, money is the by-product,” he stressed. On pursuing a passion which gives no returns after a long while, Mr. Amoabeng declared that one could make sacrifices for a while but it must make money or it couldn’t be continued.
“I did free shows while coming up, at a wake keeping for a neighbour I even picked a mic at Tema and started freestyling even though mourners were wailing eventually incurring the wrath of relatives of the deceased but such was my eagerness to be heard that I spit rap everywhere,” Sarkodie submitted.
He urged the men and women around to be confident in their craft and not be swayed by what they see others doing. “I was confident in my craft enough to do my Mary album, a live music collection even though afro-pop was the currency at the time,” the ‘Pain Killer’ rapper made known.
“I don’t care about competition. I concern myself with offering what people want and when I deliver I sleep soundly,” Mr. Amoabeng also posited. He urged the soon to be graduates to go about life at their own pace and not let social media and peer pressure compromise their values adding his best friend is one he knew since class 2.
On their moment of weakness, Mr. Amoabeng in a cloud of laughter declared “(you people) is the women who come into our lives.” Curiously he revealed UT Bank started when he was 45 and after his second divorce.
Sark on whether he has a fat bank account answered it wasn’t about having huge sums in his account for bragging reasons rather he opts to spend money on quality beats, making quality videos and living in comfort with his lady, baby and relations disclosing his Sarkcess Music account is managed by UT Bank.
Mr. Prince Kofi Amoabeng, now enjoying his semi-retirement also mentioned integrity as being a key element for success, and having once traded in ‘obroniwawu’ (used clothing), timber, air conditioning and served as a contractor, this advice was apt.
The ebony man still in shape at 65 years says after securing his first degrees at Legon, he had plans of doing his master and perhaps doctorate but when he got sidestepped for a scholarship he entered the army enjoyed the experience but after two coups he left to start a business.
For Titi’s father, if music had not become commercially viable, he would have still done it but as a hobby rather than it being his main source of income.
He praised Tracy Sarkcess, his lady love for prompting him to start Sark Clothing, Sarkcess Music before revealing she has a new product on the market branded as PreymanSobolo which comes in apple, sweet and other flavours.