Monday , September 26 2022
King Promise is making a 5 Star contribution to the ascension of Afrobeats [Pulse Interview]

King Promise is making a 5 Star contribution to the ascension of Afrobeats [Pulse Interview]

On the Ghanaian spectrum, there’s a common denominator that is instantly recognizable, especially in their collaborations with Nigerian superstars. Ghanaian artists possess a homegrown sound that is propelled by their indigenous language and unique pidgin that almost entirely appeals to the Ghanaian audience.

King Promise has collaborated with Nigerian superstars such as Simi, CDQ, Omah Lay, Patoranking, and Wizkid. These artists majorly employ different music styles ranging from R&B, Street-hop, Afropop, and Dancehall. King Promise was impressively able to reconcile his sound with these talents and created Afrobeats music with a wide appeal.

The first question I asked King Promise was how he was able to deliver a street-hop song, an R&B song, and a Dancehall song without the predictability of the Ghanaian sound that is repetitive in such collaborations.

“I’m a big music fan regardless of wherever an artist is from,” King Promise tells me. “If I feel you’re going to sound perfect on something and I know you, then I will reach out.”

For the superstar, making the kind of music he loves is the driving force behind the elasticity of his talent. “For me, I usually just do the music that I love first, and after that, I then think about who can fit into the sound,” he reveals.

King Promise released his debut album ‘As Promised’ in 2019 after he gained mainstream success in the preceding year. His debut was followed by the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak and his sophomore album ‘5 Star’ was released three years after his debut album. I asked the award-winning superstar if that translated into three years of preparation to make a flawless album.

King Promise revealed that like most artists, he had the opportunity to undergo some introspection inspired by the interminable lone time and fragility of life brought about by the pandemic.

“The lockdown gave me the time to think about things which if I was on the road I wouldn’t have time to think about. I was able to find focus and direction and also get closer to family and friends, and these are some of the things I put in the album,” he tells me.

For King Promise, he came out of the lockdown with a clear mind knowing what he wanted to do next. “You can say that during the lockdown I made 50% of the album and finished it after the lockdown”.

Listeners who have been following King Promise’s career will find that his debut album is notably different from his just-released ‘5 Star’ album. While ‘Commando’ and ‘Tokyo’ enjoyed impressive international appeal, his debut was more locally focused in terms of the soundscape, the content, and the choice of featured artists.

For his sophomore album, King Promise adopts a much broader commercial and international approach that builds on the type of Afrobeats he has been making post-pandemic.

I asked King Promise about this approach and he tells me his new sound mirrors his growth and evolution as an artist. Like every superstar with an international appeal, he wants to make Afrobeat music that defiles language and cultural barriers.

“It all comes with growth. Even though I am still that guy, who I am now is different from who I was when I started. At the end of the day, I just tried to make music that appeals to everybody regardless of language or country,” he tells me.

King Promise’s music has found an audience in his home country of Ghana, in Nigeria, across the African continent, and even in Europe. He recognizes this, and he hopes to further push the boundaries of his music.

‘Commando’ and ‘Tokyo’ charted in European countries and that was amazing. So when I realize that there is more audience who wants to listen to me, so why not reach out to everybody.”

‘5 Star’ album notably features artists uniquely spread across different sounds and markets. Afrobeats giants Omah Lay and Patoranking, UK rapper Headie One, and American Hip Hop star Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa.

I asked King Promise if he handpicked these artists as a strategic approach or if the music was inspired by creative spontaneity and availability. He tells me the latter was the case.

“I make music that I love. I don’t try to make music for different territories. I already had a relationship with Headie One long before the song happened. I made the song with Omah Lay in Ghana. The WSTRN song happened because I found myself in London at that time. So it all happened spontaneously even though it looks like these artists represent different territories.”

Naming an album 5 Star is a bold assertion of the album’s faultless quality. I asked King Promise if that is the message he was hoping to pass and his response was that of a superstar with unflinching faith in his music.

“I have confidence in my music and my ability. Everything I do is five-star. When I am chilling with my friends it’s five-star. When I’m performing it’s five-star. And my music is five-star”.

With his status as one of Ghana’s superstars with an international appeal, King Promise has his eyes set on the global stage with his new album. I asked him how he hopes to conquer the global market while still taking along the Ghanaian consumers who may not understand his desire for international success.

He tells me he tries to strike a balance but at the end of the day, Afrobeats is global, and everyone would have to come to terms with it.

“I try to find a balance in my music and even in the times I spend in and out of the country. I make an effort to carry everyone along but we all have to understand that Afrobeats is about to become the biggest sound in the world and we have to come to terms with that.”

King Promise tells me that Afrobeats’ speedy global ascension is not lost on him and he intends to play his part. “Afrobeats is becoming the biggest sound in the world. Afrobeats to the world is about global domination and ‘5 Star’ is my contribution to this movement.” he says.

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