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Interview with Cinematographer David Nicol - Sey 

Film director and photographer, David Nicol – Sey Jnr., talks about his work ethic and shooting for some of the biggest artistes on the continent.

His 3 year-old production house, North Production LLC, has worked with artistes including Sarkodie, D Black , Dee Moneey, Chase, R2Bees, J Town and Edem.

Have a read

Q. Does being compared to the likes of Gyo Gyimah, Nana Kofi Asihene and the other good directors around for the quality your videos come with, put any kind of pressure on you?’

A. Since we all have very different approaches to cinematography, it really differs on what you as a cinematographer is looking to achieve visually. Pressure is always a constant in a competitive environment, which obviously sets in as a source of motivation.

Q. What is the thought process you go through before deciding on a concept for a video?

A. It differs. Every project has what you envision and your source of inspiration basically.

Q. Do you, based on your experiences working with them, think that Ghanaian artistes appreciate the need to put out quality videos for their songs?

A. That depends on the artiste and how concerned he/she is about their brand image and how far they are willing to sell their brand internationally.

Q. You are the co-founder of mymusicstate.com, why did you start it?

A. As an inception to the Ghanaian entertainment industry. I tried out other avenues such as working with content management and flash based website to share interesting content through blogging and that’s how mymusicstate.com begun.

Q. Has it achieved what you set it out to be?

A. Nope, lost the interest and ran out of patience to continue * laughs*

Q. Any memorable moments as a video director?

A. Every shoot is a memorable one with a different experience.

Q. Is there any international artiste you want to work with? Why?

A. Yeah! I would love to work with Kanye West! Because he is awesome and has a really great sense of creativity.

Q. You’ve worked with both Ghanaian and Nigerian acts, what would you say is the difference between the two countries with specific regards to branding and marketing of music?

A. I’d say they are very similar with respect to marketing and brand identity since they are all internationally recognized.

Jane Odartey Talks Photography , Poetry and Mawusi Label 

Jane Akweley Odartey talks to me about pursuing her passions photography, poetry and being a creative designer.

Q. How did photography start for you?

A. In high school, when I got my first point and shoot camera. My main pleasure was to shoot people and things. I did not care much to be in the picture. In college, a friend told me about the photography lab and gave me a tour of it. I knew immediately that I wanted to learn how to shoot manually, develop my own films and print my own pictures.

So I enrolled in basic photography and was fortunate to have this crazy artist (Joel Lederer), as my professor. He somehow made me realize that I cared about photography, and that I do wish to take it seriously.

Q. What does art photography mean to you?

A. Art photography is a process. It is taking what exists and representing it as you “see” it. It often takes some research, because you do not want to waste your time by creating what already is, and because you want to have an idea of what it is you want to do.

It is art, if you manage to make people look again, and despite familiarity with the image, or lack of familiarity, give them a new sense of the image. Make them forget the symbol to see the real. However, it is my belief that good art cannot be successfully defined, only strongly felt.

Q. How many years have you been doing photography?

A. I have been serious about photography since my junior year in University, about six years now.

Q. When did you become interested in poetry?

A. My poetry lessons actually started in Ghana. When I went to Creator, my class 6 teacher , Mr. Prah had us recite every morning, “The Listeners” by Walter De La Mare, and those popular Shakespearean lines in Julius Caesar: “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, It seems to me most strange that men should fear, Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come.”

These poems have had a big influence on my life. Not long after I had them memorized, then I was writing my own poems because of De La Mare and Shakespeare, I associated poetry with the melancholic, so I wrote them in my diary mostly as confessions. Later they became my way of trying to explain love, and then just a way to express my mood.

In university , when I switched my major from Business Management to English lit, I was already minoring in photography, so I figured, I might as well take the plunge and seek out my thing with poetry. My professor (Grace Schulman), who is herself a wonderful poet, encouraged me to take my writing seriously. She said I had a way with words. I was thrilled! So I started thinking I ought to write. I soon realized that I really did love writing and sort of need to do it.

Q. Do you have any written pieces out?

A.I have several poems on my photography and poetry blog (http://janeodartey.com).

Q. What issues do you seek to address when you write?

A. Right now I am interested in language, it interests me that we are born with the ability to learn languages, and that the languages we pick-up is more of the world than of the self but I am obsessed with life and death and they remain my key subjects. I think that in learning to fit into the world we forget our selves, and in so doing we take our selves and others for granted.

I am interested in the self when it is aware of its self. I am also interested in focusing on the immediate environment and reducing the familiar into what it actually is, that is the unfamiliar. I am interested in capturing fear and examining it. I think fear and death mocks us, and I believe once we learn to respect and accept them, they cease to mock us, and we can in turn take them lightly.

Q. You are the creative lead at Fashion Label MAWUSI, what exactly do you do?

A.I am everything behind Mawusi , named after my mother who is half Ewe. I design and buy materials for my products, I create the products, photograph and model my work (sometimes I am lucky to have friends model for me), I edit and make them available on my website(http://www.mawusi.us), and when you buy something I write you a lovely thank you note, and send you a postcard if you are outside the USA.

Right now I am working on finishing my fall/winter 2014 collection for Mawusi, which I am very excited about. I am also working on getting my work into some local and international boutiques. It is all very thrilling and scary at the same time.

Q. When did you start designing? Are you self-taught?

A.I have always been into crafting. I enjoy making things for my friends and family. In high school, I used to sketch cloths just for the fun of it. I have never taken any classes in fashion, nor have I ever been interested in going to school for it. In September of 2012, when I began Mawusi, my designing began with it.

Q. What are some of the products by MAWUSI and when did it officially start?

A.I started with accessories like the Happy Koryo yarn bracelets (named after my grandmother) and started making the Happy Koryo multipurpose necklaces. Then in the winter I started with crochet scarves like the Nonitse and Tsapitsapi scarves. Recently, I added clothing like the Koleki cardigan and Wa crop tops.

Q. Which one thing would you say makes the brand MAWUSI unique?

A. My work does not take itself too seriously and most of my designs are statement pieces in their own right: in a sort of minimalist way that renders them timeless.

Q. Photographer, poet and designer, how do you balance all that?

A. I am a willing slave to my passions. You know the saying (supposedly by Confucius): “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life?” Well there are several days when it does feel like work, and there are days when I get depressed because things are not going how I wish them to go, and I am always broke, but most of the time, I am happy and I have an immense sense of purpose and satisfaction.

Even when I am procrastinating, I am working on something else that ought to be done. I am working for myself, and I have crazy expectations of myself, so it is rewarding when I am able to meet these expectations and a learning process when I do not.

Yonah Odoom’s You Only Marry Once (YOMO) Inspired By Family Pressure To Get Married. 

Being a 30-year-old unmarried African woman must be a nerve-racking situation, when parents and family start asking the why aren’t you married or at least dating questions.

Therefore, U.K.-based Ghanaian actress Yonah Odoom  and friend Moshana Khan , a British actress of Bangladeshi descent, put their respective single experiences and family pressures together in the new web series “You Only Marry Once” (YOMO).

YOMO centers around two young women, Yonah & Moshana (Yo & Mo), trying to find husbands in London. Both are fast approaching 30, and the reality of being left on the shelf is becoming just that: a reality. Determined not to grow old as lonely spinsters, with just themselves and a cat for company, they decide to go on an all-out mission to find their future husbands.

For Yo & Mo, marriage is for life. Therefore they are determined to make sure it’s with the right guy, even if it means meeting all the wrong ones!

Speaking on the mounting pressure to get married, Odoom said, “My co-creator Moshana Khan  
and I met nine years ago, when we joined a theatre group and we have pretty much been joined at the hip ever since. Over the years, we have shared many of our acting, dating and cultural experiences, which have often mirrored each other.

“As actors, we can be out of work up to 95 percent of the time, and unfortunately, when opportunities to work do arise, they are not always representative of our truths and our stories, especially coming from a colorful ethnic background.

“When [Moshana and I] approached 30, we also began to have both of our mothers on our backs on when we were going to get married, and [even though we are] from different backgrounds, our mothers were almost identical in their pleas.”

This pressure, though, became fertile ground for “YOMO,” “We decided to merge a bit of life and art to create something new — a fresh and fun story with two females being the main protagonists for a change.

“We also found that whilst we were (and still very much are!) looking for that Mr. Right, each time we told our dating dilemmas to our friends, they would find our scenarios relatable and quite frankly comical. From this, we decided to create some lemonade with those lemons that were constantly being served to us, and we created the concept of a comedy series based around our dating (or should I say, attempted) dating diaries.”

According to Yonah, YOMO is unique compared to other web productions. “A few things set us apart from the current shows out there: firstly, the show is loosely based on actual events within our own experiences of being in our 30s and looking for Mr. Right.

“Moshana is from a Bengali background, and we found through our experiences many of the things we were going through actually mirrored each other, as in when we both turned 30, something clicked, and all of a sudden the ticker for finding a husband was on!

“We also had both of our parents on our case asking when we were getting married, so the similarities within our cultures were very apparent and comical. We wanted to give viewers a chance to see and relate to this. We are also really excited at having two females of ethnic origin as the main protagonists in a romantic comedy, which is currently rarely seen on U.K. television.”

Yonah has been acting for 10 years, playing many roles including “Grace”’s fiesty mother, “Mrs.

Piper,” in ITV’s “Coronation Street” (2013), the challenging role of an abused wife in “Breach,” a Nigerian trafficking victim in “It Felt Empty When the Heart Went At First…” (The Cockpit Theatre), a crack addict in “Cocaine Anonymous” (Worldwide PSA), as well as in several commercials, including the Sony Bravia World Cup ad and Channel 4’s B&Q Idents (2013), which ran across channel 4 and their subsidiary channels.

But her most rewarding role?

“Rosa Parks in ‘We Stand on Giants Shoulders’ (New Bold Theatre).”

The role had a deep and profound effect on Odoom, because she felt a great responsibility portraying Parks’ humble yet indomitable spirit and wanted to do justice to someone who made it possible for many to be able to have a voice in America.

Odoom was also a part of the cast of Indie movie “Faux Depart” (pictured), where she played the role of illegal immigrant “Nana,” which won the award for Best One Shot Movie and was also selected to screen at the BAFTA-recognized London Short Film Festival 2013.

Of all the roles she’s played, the most-challenging one was “playing the role of an abused wife, for a charity video. I had to research cases of domestic violence and was presented with real case studies to get in to the psych of my character. There was a great responsibility of ensuring I was as truthful within my work as you are not only playing the part of someone’s actual experience, but you could also potentially be helping a victim of domestic violence so there is no hiding behind anything. You have to commit to the scene and go to the places it requires you to go to.

“I had an amazing director who would go over what my characters thoughts were and we would discuss how I saw it.  His approach was very organic which allowed me to feel very comfortable committing to the scene, so when I was getting physically attacked I really felt every blow.  It was a physically and emotionally draining time, but one of the opportunities that I am, to this day, most grateful for.”

Yonah Odoom was born on May 22, 1982, in London to Ghanaian parents and has a BA Hons Degree in Media Performance and Marketing.

My new sounds:

Soon! “The Sandra Appiah Show” - Inside For Details

 Co-founder of Face2FaceAfrica, Sandra Appiah, is excited about hosting her self-titled Talk Show‘The Sandra Appiah Show’.

“This is an opportunity I have been looking forward to all my life. There is so much inspiration within this generation, and I am thrilled and humbled for the opportunity to help shed light on those incredible stories,” she says.

The Sandra Appiah Show is an engaging, informative and inspiring show that will feature the stars and architects of Africa’s emerging future, who will share inside stories of their unique journeys.

The first season of the show will be shot and produced in New York City, bringing viewers face-to-face with the pioneers and icons within the diasporan African community.

More here: Sandraappiah.com

THE AFROKLECTIC PROJECT: Experiential Research

Interview With Fashion Designer Joyce Darkoh 

Q. Any reasons why you decided to specifically make suits for men only?

A. My father is Ghanaian, and one of the well-dressed men I know. Dressing up means you know what you are worth, wearing a suit means you know you deserve to look good.

 Q. How many years have you been making clothes?

A. Since I got my first doll. My whole Ghanaian family is in the tailoring business. I had no choice.

Q. Names of celebrity clients?

A. Terrence Jenkins (“Think Like A Man, E! News), James Anderson (NFL), James Valenti (Opera singer)Ghanaian German TV Host and Lifestyle Reporter Kena Amoa and NFL linebacker Alvin Bowen.

Q. Which fashion events has your brand been modelled or exhibited at?

A. The New York Fashion Week. It all starts there, and ends there as well.

Q. Do you plan to introduce the brand DARKOH to Ghana?

A. Eventually, yes. I owe it to my roots.

Q. How different is the brand DARKOH compared to other fashion labels?

A. Most other menswear labels are designed by male designers, so they are traditional, fashionable, or sporty. As a female, I design suits the way we, as women want to see a man; a bit of a macho, a bit of a gentleman and a bit of a Romeo. Only Tom Ford can achieve this, go figure…

Q. Any thoughts on the fashion scene in Ghana?

A. There is a lot of Western (British) influences in the suit wear, for sure, but they never compromise on the joyful colors of traditional cloth. I always admired the mix, and try to embed it into my designs.

Q. Any role models in the fashion world?

A. My role model, and actually the reason why I am doing what I do, is Ozwald Boateng. I applied for an internship 23 years ago, never received a response, so I said, OK, I will meet you on your level one day. I’m right behind him… :)

nvampgh:

Thinking of your next event? NVAMP is here. 

NVA Marketing and Promotions is an event staffing, marketing and promotions company based in Ghana founded by Nunana Awoonor.

The services we provide includes

Event Staffing

Event marketing

Event Management

Event Promotions

 Here’s why you should engages our services:

We train our staff to properly interact with customers, create a great vibe around the brand and the company they will be representing.

Our staff are very professional and committed to every project.

Our services are customized to meet every client’s need.

Our intention is to create a lasting impression on the minds of clients

 Do you have plans of organizing any event in Ghana or Nigeria? Get in touch with us via email: nvapm@outlook.com or call us on 0554602816. Visit our website www.nva-mp.com

 NVA Marketing and Promotions   ‘providing Exceptional Services with a Phenomenal Experience’.

Interview With Digital Entreprenuer Benoni Tagoe 

Benoni Tagoe, a Digital Entrepreneur,  on as his journey as a music manager, creating web series with renowned Director/Writer Issa Rae and starting his company Volume Visual.

Q. You managed or were involved in the growth of the careers of some musicians early in your career, mind mentioning the names of these artistes?

A. I started my career working for the pop trio, the Jonas Brothers; I basically learned everything I needed to pursue a career in the music business from them and the team they surrounded themselves with. From there, I became a day-to-day manager for Interscope artist, Mateo and I then went on to become the tour manager for urban pop group, Mindless Behavior.

Q. Reason(s) why you decided to start Volume Visual?

A. Working in the music industry, I realized that there was disconnect between artists and the only social media platform that pays them in which is YouTube. Since I had a strong social media background (specifically as it relates to YouTube), I figured I tie in both of my passions, music and social media and create a company that ultimately assists the music industry as a whole with their digital video presence.

Q. What specifically does the company do?

A. Volume Visual is the first and only all hip-hop YouTube network. We take hip-hop artists and personalities and help increase their online viewership by using analytics, strategies and proven theories to make sure all of our artists’ channels are being operated at the highest level possible. For our larger channels, we then start helping them work with brands. If a brand is looking to target a hip-hop audience our network is made up of only hip-hop influencers so in a sense our goal has always been to take up the hip-hop real estate on the web and the brands work with us to reach that audience.

Q. Names of clients you’ve worked with so far?

A. Some of the bigger artists that we have worked with have been DJ Whoo Kid and Chanel West Coast.

Q. How many years have you been creating digital content?

A. I’ve been producing digital content for more than 5 years now. I started off working on a web-series called; ‘The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl’ with Issa Rae and from there, I’ve gone on to produce other web-series with Issa Rae Productions.

Q. How many projects/series have you created or produced? Names?

A. I’ve produced well over twenty shows at this point. Some of them include: The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl, The Choir, TKO Series: Peter Quillin, Black Actress, First, How Men Become Dogs and so many more that have all been released digitally. My latest project ‘The Bizz Plan’highlights entrepreneurs as they explain their thought processes and motivations in everything they do. Be sure to check it out!

Q. Your company has a partnership with Pharrell Williams’ ‘I Am Other’, how did that come about?

A. At the end of the first season of ‘The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl’ Google came out with a 100 million dollar initiative where they were looking to program channels similar to the television model. There were channels created for comedy, cooking, sports and more! At this time whenever someone was looking for urban programming they would come to us first because we had the biggest urban web-series out. After multiple offers, we decided to work with Pharrell because well, he’s a genius and you just don’t pass on an opportunity like that. Period.

Q. What do you call yourself? Digital creator?

A. I consider myself to be a digital entrepreneur; I’ve worn many hats in the digital world; from producing to being a curator of content.

Q. What motivates you to keep creating quality stuff?

A. The web is an open platform when it comes to content! Not only that, but as a content creator there are tons of liberties that are given. I love being able to put out the type of content that I want to see, there is no other way that I would do things.

Q. Do you follow the entertainment scene in Ghana?

A. Yes, of course! My Dad and I talk about the emerging hip-hop scene all the time and there are a lot of initiatives for filming that I’m currently looking into.

Q. Future plans/last words?

A. I’m working on a series of workshops that will highlight my different theories in both business and digital content, I’d love to present and teach in Ghana! Be on the lookout for that to happen real soon. The Bizz Plan is out now! It’s only the beginning, its cool to be smart.

INTERVIEW WITH KAFUI DEY

Kafui Dey, the host of ‘Who Wants To Be Rich’ has disclosed to me that the offer that got him to join Starr FM, was made at the right time.

Dey, who will be hosting the station’s morning show when they fully go live on September 1, says:

”I believe the offer came at the right time. I’ve had a history with radio back in the days when I was in the university, campus radio and then I did private radio in Kumasi, Kapital FM.

“I did private radio in Accra when I was with Choice Fm. And then I went off for a while and did TV but I’ve always had a love for radio. I guess good timing and then the offer came at the right time.”

With an added responsibility of a Programmes Director, he will be looking to help build a brand that holds so much promise.

He is excited about the chance they have to present an alternative on urban radio.

“Two words: exciting radio. We want to bring the excitement level up and come with something fresh, something that will thrill the listeners.

“I will like to say that the star on Starr radio will be the people who are listening so our job is to satisfy the stars who are those listening. And we going to give it our very best shot and we are confident that we will do a good job.”

On the station’s resolve to put up a strong, convincing competition, he adds:

“We want to do programming that is fresh. If the programming is not fresh, there is no reason to tune into 103.5 and listen to Starr FM so the programming will be fresh, it will be relevant, it will be exciting and we have surprising stuff up our sleeve, which I cannot talk about now.

“We want to brighten the media landscape in Accra.”