Watch this interview on The Voice of Africa Tv
TVOA: Hello it’s your host, Kadmiel Van Der Puije and Welcome to TVOA TV & Podcast, today We have a very special guest with us, Camidoh, a Ghanaian Musician, Camidoh can you please tell us a little bit about your childhood growing up?
Camidoh: Definitely. I was born in Aflawo in the Volta region and I was raised in Ho, the Volta Regional Capital. I was raised by a single mother who is an economics teacher at Hola Senior High School in Ho. I was raised on the campus. I went to Neil Preparatory School. Then I went further to study General Arts at Bishop Herman College also in the Volta region. I got a degree in marketing at the University of Professional Studies. I was doing a lot, and there was much expected of me. I needed to do well in life.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a musician?
I think that I have always loved singing but I never thought I was going to pursue it until up until a cousin of mine — big shoutouts to Uncle Michael. He introduced me to Akon’s music and I fell in love with Akon’s voice and then I started to learn how to sing songs, in the process got the inspiration to write my lyrics. That’s how I got that vibe because before, I had wanted to be a pilot. But listening to Akon, I knew I was going to make music.
So when was the first time you performed in front of a live audience?
When I was at Bishop Herman College. I started performing during entertainment programs. So I’m guessing I gained experience from school.
Why the name change from Fingers to Camidoh?
When I started, I was in a group and my name was Fingers Camidoh but I parted ways as I felt I needed to rebrand myself. I changed to Raphael Camidoh, and after some time someone suggested to me it was too long, especially being a new musician the public would catch on to something much simpler. We decided to take the Raphael off and then go with just Camidoh. So basically, Fingers was just my nickname while I was in school.
How has Ghana treated you as a relatively new rapper? Has your online fame been a help or hindrance?
It has been of great help. I feel like Ghana has really supported me. The thing about Ghana is, they don’t accept mediocrity only those coming out with the real deal. I came in with a unique sound and what I was doing was never mediocre, so I got acceptance.
I just needed an audience. I needed people to give me their time, for example, I needed investment also because I had the talent but I didn’t have what it took to get me to get people to hear me out. So that pretty much was the problem that I was dealing with. So first I’ll talk about Finances; I didn’t have the right training early on. I started and was an amateur for a very long time. I had to learn all by myself. I didn’t come from a very rich home. So that pretty much slowed down how fast I could have learned the job.
What was the first time that you felt like you had made it?
The funny thing is I still don’t feel like I have made it so when I go out there and I get a lot of love, I’m like, I haven’t even done nothing to deserve all this love. I am grateful because based on what I want to achieve, I feel like there’s still a lot of work to be done. So I don’t even like measuring what I have done so far as success.
What was the first time you made money from being a musician?
Making money has been like on and off, sometimes it sucks. Some genuine people, knowing that it’s your work will pay you a fee but not as large as they will pay the mainstream artists, but they recognize the fact that you are there and your contribution to their event. I really cannot tell the first time that I was paid because it’s been on and off; but I can only tell the fact that after I released, ‘For my love’ featuring Darkovibes, that was when it became consistent a little bit.
So when was the first time you were Starstruck?
Well, I’ve always worked with the mentality that we’re all ordinary human beings. I’ve always worked with that mentality, when I see a star or somebody who has made it in an industry, I feel like I have only seen an OG. I remember when I first met the President of Ghana [Nana Addo], I didn’t feel anything. I listened to how he spoke and learnt a great deal from him. I’ve never been starstruck. When I saw Sarkodie the first time, I never even went out to say, ‘Oh my God, Oh my God,’ but the fact is he has been an inspiration to me. But the thing is that I try to just stay back or just get a little closer to just learn. The CEO of my label inspires me a lot and I can only be inspired. I don’t get starstruck.
You just released your album CP. What platforms is that available on?
It’s available on every music platform that you can find: Spotify, Google Play, SoundCloud, YouTube, etc. I don’t want to give any reasons for someone to not have access to my music
What message are you trying to put across with your music?
Yes by default. I pretty much like to preach love and inspiration in my songs. You know, I’m that type of person. I think that it has to do with how I was brought up. We never really had what other kids had so I grew up very humble. I was shown a lot of love when I was coming up because it’s like we never really had it. So for some reason, I was blessed to have people love me so much. I love inspiring people not to worry, but just to go out there and chase their dreams. That’s like your dreams calling you to come find me; I basically love to preach in the Ep. I preach love and inspiration.
With the music scene heating up in Ghana are artists commanding respect dollar-wise?
I think the structures are still being developed and improved upon as time goes on. I don’t think that we command that Equity yet. Usually, the thing is if you have a hit song that’s banging throughout the country then you get to command a particular amount and then they will pay heed to that. What I guess that other artists also deal with agencies that, by hook or crook, pay the amount that you deserve, so it’s been dodgy; honestly. I don’t think that it is in place yet for us to command that type of equity/income.
So what measures have to be put in place, for people like you to get the amount of money that you deserve?
Well to address that I think that a lot of factors contribute to that. For example, I can tell you for a fact that an artist that has a serious team can make it happen. You see you have a team, you have an agency, you have everything in place. So if you want to do a concert, you have the right agency who is doing the proper marketing that ensures that everything is in place. In America, I think that these things are in place, but here it is going to be difficult for an artist like me to just get up and say I want to do a concert. That means I’m going to incur a lot of costs to make it happen. and I’ll probably by the end of the day just break down; the show might be successful, but I might not breakeven; see what I’m saying? because no promoter wants to take charge because they don’t have the assurance that you’re going to sell out the place. It’s dodgy. So if you have the agency and you have the commanding power to grab an agency to do that for you, I can forsure say that it’ll happen because they will do the proper marketing and make sure that the show sells out and both of you get paid because in America if Drake wants to do a concert he will just sign a deal with an agency but I think that here it doesn’t work like that. Only a few artists are able to command or even sit down with the agencies. It’s dodgy because I don’t know. I really cannot tell you what it’s like until you have a top hit song. A lot of investors here don’t see the music industry to be as lucrative here as it is in America, when you walk into an office and introduce yourself as an artist people tend to be iffy about investing in you.
Beyond Afrobeats what other genres of music should the western world’s music industry be looking for in Africa?
Now in Africa, I think people’s eyes are opening wider and the ears are wide enough to accept everything. As an artist, if you have a particular sound you just need to have the right team to do the proper PR and then you’re good to go. You know, you just need the right marketing because everything is a product. And once you market it well, I think that the world is ready to listen, your package will be marketed. I think the world is ready to listen, like now Africans are doing like crazy stuff, you know, really really crazy.
Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?
Honestly, like I’ve still been looking out there to get inspired. Usually pick at that point. At one point it was Akon, I loved how he came to his shows in this white tee and pants. As time went on I started to look at other people as well. I love what Kanye does. I love sometimes what key does you know, what Stonebwoy does, I get inspired differently, but at the moment, I don’t have a particular icon. I love to do simple stuff. So as time goes on, things will just settle properly for me.
How do you feel the internet has impacted the music business?
I think that the internet now contributes to like 70% of the success of the music industry because now no one is ready to buy CDs anymore. There are now virtual conference apps. So for me, it has really been of great help. I get Tanzanians, Kenyans, I get a lot of Nigerians like in my DM? How did he get to know me? It was through the internet obviously, they get to listen or watch to Ghanaian radio or TV. I come from Ghana. How are these people hearing of me? It is the internet. Hey, if it wasn’t for the internet, all of these people wouldn’t find me. I think that the internet has played a major role and I’m not gonna lie, every artist can attest to the fact that the internet plays a huge role and right now that Corona has taken over the world and we haven’t done shows; we haven’t done major shows in a long time and artists are mainly getting paid through streaming of their songs.
How have you been adjusting creatively and personally to life during this pandemic?
Well, I’ve been recording a lot actually. I’m the type of person who doesn’t let situations overcome me. I try to adapt as fast as possible because the thing is if Corona came and took away my ability to sing then I would feel like, ‘Okay, yes, my power has been taken.’ But as long as I have breath and I have the voice to sing, then work still goes on. The only problem is how do we get this work? Or this product that I create to the people and that is where the internet comes in so I’ve been good.
What venues have you performed so far and which have been your favorite and your least favorite?
I did ‘December to Remember’ and if you know shows in Ghana that show is a big deal, so when I was called to go do the show I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is it.’ I felt very blessed because I didn’t lobby and if City Fm is calling me then it’s official because these people are one of the top notches. I performed at Rappaholic, Sarkodie’s annual end of year show, King promises end of year show, which is Promised Land, which is a big stage. I performed at Empower. Yeah, some major stages. I’m looking forward to performing at the Ghana music awards, I’m really looking forward to that, as an upcoming artist it’s one of the places I want to perform. Every time I’m called, I feel blessed, no form of pride even comes in. Every show is an experience for me. I see the love I receive. The experience has always been love.
What’s the strangest and hardest thing about concerts?
I think singing a song back-to-back because I remember a mainstream artist actually told me, “Oh you have to tweak your lyrics, you need to like make it very simple because the average Ghanaian might not be able to sing your song.” I feel like I am only trying to deliver quality stuff and I wouldn’t want to lose the quality in the name of I’m trying to make everybody sing along. I would rather bring out something dope and they’ll learn. So I get to a concert and people are singing my song back to back to back to back to me. That’s kind of strange, I started doing bigger shows then it gets to a point where the crowd is singing everything, especially the areas of the song that they told me will be difficult for people to sing. I always try to chip in work those critics said and then I see how many people feel the same way. The vision is to take it to the world. I don’t want to just remain here all things being equal meaning that if there was no Corona the aim was to like really try to take over Ghana like try to market my music to ensure that it takes over Ghana the next year. We can look at Africa, you know. But I mean God’s ways are not our ways.
What’s next for you? What do you have upcoming after this pandemic?
I’m still working. We just put out CP and we’re about to put out the visuals to one of the trucks, ‘Maria’ on the EP which is track 5.
Hopefully next week and then we do promotional exercises here and there to see how people are loving it. We could do like other videos as well. You know, it’s a product. So we do everything to ensure that it sells really well. So the work continues and right after I’m sure I’ll probably be doing some collaboration and then also focus on releasing the album.
So are there any artists that you’re eager to work with?
One of my dream collaborations is with Angelique Kijoe and others. I would love to make music with them. It has to be organic so I have to meet them, learn from them, catch up vibe and proceed to make music. I have been watching Angelique Kijoe for a very long time and I’ve learned a lot from her, I watch her interviews a lot. I love her confidence. She has a lot of confidence as a woman and that kind of teaches me.
How can the Voice of Africa support and contribute to your causes?
I think that you have already started by having me on your platform to talk with me. That’s like a great opportunity, you know, the super super super great. Share my music with your people or those that you come across on your platforms and also whatever PR services, whatever services. However I could benefit from The Voice of Africa, the son of Africa is ever willing to do it, you know, so let’s just connect and you know work a lot to put African content out there to the world.