In this exclusive interview with Ikenna Okeh of UbuntuFM Hip-Hop, Ashman talks about music, his move to Ghana, and the industry of both Ghana and his home country, Nigeria.
So, Ashman, I wouldn't be asking for an introduction; you're my homie, my dude from my hood. But for the benefit of those who do not know you so up close, I ask that you do a little introduction of yourself.
A: Yaga!.. I'm Ashamole Christian Ifeanyi, popularly known as Ashman. I come from Ikeduru, Imo state in what's presently known as Nigeria. At the moment, I'm a resident here in Ghana.
About your hit single, OBServe: It's been airing on the UbuntuFM Africa channel lately. How does it feel like, having your track played to an international audience as far as Germany, Brazil, The UK, U.S, Mexico, The Netherlands, and South Africa?
Wow! To be sincere, I was extremely excited when I got to know that OBServe was not only being played to a Nigerian and Ghanaian audience but across West Africa, South Africa, and many other countries. To me, I feel it's a great achievement and a thing of great joy. I honestly didn't see it coming.
I was extremely glad to know that OBServe was being played across West Africa, to South Africa and to many other countries.
A good number of our audience have an appreciation for OBServe. Its lyrics contain a strong social statement. Tell us, what's the story behind OBServe? What inspired the song?
OBServe, as the name implies, is all about observing or caring for your brother, and vice-versa. The inspiration came from the recession that faced Nigeria and Ghana throughout 2016. Nigeria is even yet to recover from it. There were very few resources in circulation, no money for survival. And then there were instances where fathers had to kill sons for money, there was the humanitarian crisis over the legitimate agitation for Biafra's self-determination, ritual killings, etc. I had to put something out to the streets, telling people about how we could love one another in our belief in God.
You left Nigeria for Ghana to pursue music. How has the move been going for you? And by way of comparison, do you think it's a better atmosphere in Ghana or elsewhere on the continent?
At first, I moved to Ghana for the sole purpose of my studies. But then, while studying, I realized that it was easier for your music to get an audience in Ghana. Ghana has a great love for entertainment, I must say. Although it's not a big industry here when compared to Nigeria yet it can be more easily penetrated into. Pursuing music here in Ghana is much more easy and inspiring. Besides, considering the fact that I am not Ghanaian, I have to work harder here at proving myself.
So, tell us, what are we to expect soon? OBServe has whetted our appetite, you know.
Wow! Actually, before OBServe, I had dropped a hit track titled "WANT". It was an amazing experience, I tell you. And now, here is OBServe. The next song is going to be really crazy, and I bet you, the street will love it. There are more surprises I have under my sleeve. You only have to anticipate. But I assure you, you won't be disappointed.
You know, now I think of it, I can guess that your stage name, Ashman, is derived from your surname. Am I right?
Absolutely right. "Ashman" is derived from my surname, Ashamole.
When not recording or performing, what do you do?
Hmmm. I actually have a love for soccer. I play soccer a lot. Most times I observe my quiet moments or write songs. I also own an entertainment company, Ojala Milagro. At Ojala Milagro, we host events for orphanages as a medium through which people can give to society. Ashman Baba Yagaw is never a dull guy. So, no dull moment for me.
Do you have any suggestions as to how the music industry in Ghana and Nigeria can be improved upon?
Well, seeing how good our artists are doing, I also think they can do better if there are platforms for the upcoming ones to showcase their talents and get a chance at getting picked by established record labels. It's a strenuous fight as it is. Such platforms and similar opportunities will go a long way in improving both music industries. Ok, let's take for instance, my bro, Wizkid, who signed in Efya, R2bees, and Eazi to Starboy Records. Look at the two major artists, R2bees and Efya, how many hits have they got? But my bro, Eazi, who was signed in as an upcoming is making numerous hits and more money for Starboy Records. I must thank UbuntuFM for coming in to fill up a need at this time.
Seeing how good our artists are doing, I also think they can do better if there are platforms for the upcoming ones to showcase their talents ...
I must say you have made the hood proud with OBServe, Ashman. A lot of us from the hood will be reading, so here's an opportunity for a shout-out. Let's hear it.
Firstly, big thanks to God Almighty, because without Him there would never have been an Ashman. I'm giving a shout out to my family, for their unceasing prayers, and to my beloved team #Badness #Ojala Milagro. And of course, I give a shout-out to my sweet fans out there. BLESS.
It's been a remarkable one with you. Thanks for the opportunity. We, at UbuntuFM, hope to hear more from you soon. Blessings, brother.
Big thanks for the opportunity. Thanks for playing my song back to back, and for supporting me. May God richly bless UbuntuFM and everyone behind it.