Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lil Shaker
Rapper and beat maker Lil Shaker has, over the years, proven to be one of the most creative and dynamic acts the industry has ever seen.

Philip Yaw Akoto Atiemo, as he was christened, happens to be the latest addition to leading multi-purpose entertainment company, BBnZ Live.

Shaker has worked with top stars including Sarkodie, EL and Wanlov the Kubolor to produce some award-winning songs.

Lil Shaker opens up to  Nii Ogbamey Tetteh about his life, career and expectations.

Congratulations on your deal with BBnZ

Thank you

In a nutshell who is Shaker?

Shaker is a cool guy, easy going, and music and basketball lover. I’m also a shy person and very reserved. Basically, that is me.

Which Record Label were you under before BBnZ?

I was with Skillions of which Jayso was the leader.

Why did you leave Skillions?

We had our differences and all, but I can’t really say that publicly. But the good thing is after the move, we are still cool. We even talk once in a while.

When did you join BBnZ?

Well, I was unofficially with BBnZ until I officially joined them around middle of 2013.

How has the experience with BBnZ been?

It has been great. It has been different and they are really giving me a though time to get the best out of me. That is how I like it. If you give me pressure and you are always on my case, I just deliver. I am actually happy I am with BBnZ . Things are really going well now.

Has EL got anything to do with your move to BBnZ?

Yeah, EL played a major role in that. He actually hooked me up to the bigger bosses of BBnZ. When I left Skillions, I told him that I needed a management that will take me to the next level and he promised to talk to his people for me and that was it.

Lil Shaker
Do you still produce beats?

Yeah I’m doing it commercially. I have four productions in Sarkodie’s ‘Sarkology’ album and then I have two productions in Edem’s ‘Mass Production’ album. Basically, I have been producing for other people.

When did you start music?

Professionally, after senior high school. By then I was doing Hiplife and I was rapping in Twi.

Which people influenced you to go into music?

In Ghana, I will say Skillions. One big influence is from Jayso because he influenced me to start production. He was actually the first person I witnessed making beats and I was really motivated and encouraged to try something like that. Also, Obrafour, the Last Two and Kwadee.
From outside, Timberland, Dr Dre, Fa Real and Ryan Leslie.

Where did you attend school?

Well, from nursery to Junior Secondary School (JSS), I attended Aggrey Memorial International School. My family then moved to Adenta, so I finished JSS at Adenta Community School. I had my secondary school education at Accra High School, then I moved to IPMC.

What is new with Lil Shaker?

As at now, I’m trying to finish the album which I have been working on for years. I’m trying to work with as many artistes as possible not restricting myself to just Hip-hop, which I’m mainly known for. So I’m trying to work with all of the M-Cat.
Lately I have been labelled ‘Captain Hook’ because I do a lot of choruses for other people. I’m actually doing some hooks for some artistes whose names I can’t mention because their albums have not been announced yet.

Of all the names, why ‘Captain Hook’?

I didn’t sit somewhere and called myself ‘Captain Hook’, they gave it to me. Some people realized what I was doing and gave me that name.

What is the history behind your ‘Kotodwe’ song and dance?

Kotodwe is a dance not formulated by me anyway. Two NAFTI guys came up with the dance. EL called me one day and told me there was a new dance called Kotodwe. He showed me a video and some pictures and I just decided to do something around that.

Your style is unique with a comic touch, where do you get that from?

Honestly, I don’t know. What I know is that in the industry I’m working now, the only way you stand out is when you are unique and when you are in your comfort zone where no one can mess with you. I really try as much as possible to come out with something different, be it comic relief or something of serious importance. I just make sure I sound different from the others. It is not easy but if you have been doing this for long, I don’t think it should be a problem.

When I started rapping in pidgin, people started criticizing  me because they said I sounded like Wanlov the Kubolor but it got to a time they saw the difference, so that is how hard I have worked, trying to stay different from the rest. Quite recently, some people were passing comments about me sounding like EL and all.

Sometimes you sound like EL

We have been working together for years and it is just understandable that some of my talent rubs of him and vice versa. We still have our own unique styles and all. If you hear me in a song with both of us, you will know and if you hear EL too you will know.

Are you married?

(Laughs) Not yet.  I need to really set myself up well before going to that level. Currently I’m not married neither I’m I going out with anyone as well.

What would you have become if you were not a musician?

Well, I like computers and it has been like that since I was a child. I’m actually a final year student at IPMC reading BSc. in IT.

What do you think about the music industry in Ghana?

I think we still have a long way to go, but compared to 10 years ago, things have changed. The market is really opened now. Ten years ago, people did not really accept hip-pop in GH. Some were limited to certain types of music and I can say it is people like us who have actually broadened that limitation in terms of putting our music out there, marketing ourselves via the internet and social networks.

Do you have any suggestions that can help the industry?

First of all the musicians need to come together because I think some of the musicians are not cool with each other. We are the ones that make up the industry so if we are separated I don’t think it is going to work.

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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

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