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Quick Q&A With: Fuse ODG

MAN ON A MISSION: Fuse ODG likes to push the boundaries

Life & Style: You have a track out there with Ed Sheeran, talk about bringing that together.

Fuse ODG: As an artist I like to do different things, I like to push the boundaries because my mission is, the higher the platform is the higher we can raise awareness of the mission which is the new Africa, people realising that Africa is a place that you can come and enjoy yourself. The music is a representation of what I feel my new Africa is.

Working with Ed just made a lot of sense because his audience is different; he is one of the biggest artists in the world. Added to that it’s more than music when it comes to him and I. He is here to help create awareness of the mission. We’re building schools in Ghana and we are working on different things and the best way to speak to the world is through the music, which is what brought us together in the first place. The idea of the song, Boa Me, which means help me, help your neighbour and some of the proceeds from the song is going to help to build the school in Ghana.

Every song that Ed and I have made has a meaning behind it. It was good vibes, we’re always about good vibes and you can even sense the fun that we had when we made it. It was actually a dream of mine to work with Ed and it’s a good thing that we managed to connect. It’s crazy because we flipped it, I was doing English and he was speaking in Twi. He really soaked it up and I was impressed, he wanted to ensure it sounded authentic.

L&S: Afrobeats, the Afrowave, it has a DNA of its own now. How do you see the scene evolving and the opportunities that are developing as a result?

ODG: Afrobeats is a good vibe, a beautiful vibe and you can just feel it when you hear it. It makes you happy, there’s good energy in the music. There are a lot of big artists gravitating towards that energy, people like Major Lazer, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, they love out percussion, the energy and the groove.

I see difference out there as well. Everyone is making his or her own version with the Afrobeat influence, which is a beautiful thing. What I always say to everyone is lets remember the root is in Africa and no matter how far we take it we also need to bring it back home to connect with our brothers and sisters. It’ll never die because Afro- beats is Africa and as long as Africa lives the music will live.

L&S How’s your Nana Collection going? Are there any other areas of fashion you want to get involved with?

ODG: I always remember that this is more than just music, it’s a mission of creating awareness of Africa, reprogramming peoples mentality on how they see our continent so we can encourage people to come on holiday and invest in different businesses. So to me the clothing line is just another way to visually showcase the beauty of Africa for it to create dialogue. Sometimes people may see me wearing something and they ask where it’s from, it creates a dialogue.

We actually launched it in Jamaica earlier this year and it was an amazing moment because Jamaica and Ghana have got such a special connection, I think up to 60 per cent of Jamaicans are originally from Ghana due to everything that happened back in the day with slavery. It was good to find out things about them I didn’t know. For example because of the clothing line we found out that there is no direct flight from Jamaica to Ghana, which is quite crazy.

We’ve also launched African dolls, they are called Nana Dolls, which again is representation of black people in a positive way because growing up there wasn’t many things that would represent us as a black nation in a positive way. It’s an exciting journey and I am learning as I go along. There are a new issues being pointed out and it makes me take a step back and understand that the mission is really about self love.

L&S: You have a big gig coming up next year, talk to us about that?

ODG: We’re hosting the Tina Festival on January 6 and it will be a yearly event that will be Africa’s very own Glastonbury or Coachella. It will be a platform to bring people back home to experience Afrobeats in its purest form and while they are there they get to experience African culture, Ghanaian culture.

This is new Africa, it’s a platform for all the new Africans to come back home and enjoy the music. Whatever race you are if you love Afrobeats just come. The same way we go to Ibiza because we like house music or you go to the US because you like Hip-Hop or you go to Italy because you like pasta, come to Ghana because you like Afrobeat.

It’s been one of the hardest projects that I have worked on because the capacity is about 50,000 and to do a project of that size requires good funding in order to get it off the ground. We’ve battled so hard – it’s come to the point that I am now funding it myself. That is a crazy thing to do but that is how much I believe in it. The sponsors can join in after. We want people to spend New Year’s Eve wherever they are and then in the first weekend of the year we want it to be a thing that people come to Ghana for Tina Festival.

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