“Ladybrille’s 15 Questions with . . .” is a feature that salutes some of the most important names in the fashion and entertainment industries around the globe, with a particular emphasis on Africa. We hope you are as inspired as we are with the brilliant men and women in these industries that make the world go round. Our feature today is with Rocky Dawuni, Ghana and Africa’s top reggae musician. Enjoy.
Ladybrillemag.com: You are one of the top reggae musicians out of Africa who has gained worldwide recognition. What are three unique qualities you believe you possess that makes you stand apart from peers?
Rocky Dawuni: I believe it’s a combination of determination, humility and a focus on writing good songs. It’s something any artist can aspire to with the right discipline.
Ladybrillemag.com: How did you end up in your chosen career as a musician?
Rocky Dawuni: Being a musician was always something I aspired to do since I was a small child. For me, it was a supreme means to express myself. I was also blessed with a natural ability to formulate melodies and create songs. I knew it was my destiny so everything I did went into refining my ability to excel and be successful at it.
Ladybrillemag.com: What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced in getting to where you are?
Rocky Dawuni: The most difficult thing has been operating as an independent artist in an industry where success is based on connections and a big promotional machine. My sights were set on not only being a success in Ghana but also on the international stage. I therefore had to create my own platforms to keep my music moving forward. I started my own record label. (AQUARIAN Records), a festival (Rocky Dawuni’s Independence Splash) and club (Afro Funke’) to provide promotional vehicles for my music and career. This all required thinking outside the box and learning to be patient while embracing every challenge as education.
Ladybrillemag.com: (Very mpressive) How do you define success?
Rocky Dawuni: Success to me is a journey rather than a destination. It’s an elusive concept that defies any form of tangible categorization. In my opinion, my success was defined when I recorded my first song. Since then all I have done is to keep building on that success into new spheres of awareness.
Ladybrillemag.com: What do you love most about being a musician?
Rocky Dawuni: The best aspect of being a musician is the opportunity to communicate to a large number of people. It is a real blessing and something I deeply cherish. As a musician who believes in using music to connect people, it’s a great joy to participate in this sonic communion.
Ladybrillemag.com: What do you hate most about the business of music?
Rocky Dawuni: My biggest dislike is the illusion of prefabricated stardom and its accompanying mass marketing of vanity and false idolatry into mainstream consciousness.
Ladybrillemag.com: What do you love most about the new generation of African musicians we are seeing?
Rocky Dawuni: Their sense of style and the cross fusion of different genres is an exciting trend.
Ladybrillemag.com: What keeps you awake at night?
Rocky Dawuni: What keeps me awake at night is the future of our dear mother continent Africa. How our generation will navigate all the current challenges to be the most accomplished. Yes We Can!
Ladybrillemag.com: (Agreed. Yes we can!) What drives you?
Rocky Dawuni: My main driving force is spreading a spirit of peace and compassion through musical creativity. There is also a deep seated need to keep growing in my abilities and discovering new ways of maintaining relevance. A new song uplifts my soul so I am constantly working and creating. Creativity is the wheel that keeps my life in motion.
Ladybrillemag.com: What are the daily principles you live by?
Rocky Dawuni: Most importantly is to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. Jogging, vegetarian diet, meditation and reading scriptures help me to keep my balance and maintain focus.
Ladybrillemag.com: When was the last time you danced to some great music?
Rocky Dawuni: Just last Thursday (as of the time of this interview) at Afro Funke’! It’s a Thursday night club in Los Angeles that I founded. The music is always fantastic. Afrobeat, highlife, hip hop, reggae, salsa, soukous, cumbia and everything in between.
Ladybrillemag.com: When all is said and done, what is the legacy you want to leave in the music industry?
Rocky Dawuni: I’m a believer in songs that stand the test of time and meaningfully resonate beyond their period of creation. I pray my music and my positive message live up to this and weave themselves into the fabric of peoples’ lives.
Ladybrillemag.com: What African artist are you currently playing in your ipod/blasting on your radio?
Rocky Dawuni: I’ve been listening to Ebo Taylor. He is one of Ghana’s highlife music legends. He is in his seventies and just had his first major international release. It’s a beautiful album and also a real testament to the power of perseverance.
Ladybrillemag.com: Besides yourself (Laughs), who is your favorite African musician?
Rocky Dawuni: Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Ladybrillemag.com: Who is your favorite African designer?
Rocky Dawuni: Elike Nkansa of Elike Dezigns out of Ghana is my favorite. He designs most of my stage clothes.
Ladybrillemag.com: What is the best advice you ever received?
Rocky Dawuni: Don’t believe your own hype! Just put your trust in God.
Photocredit: Rachel Samuel