Prestigious Artiste of the Year Award at TGMA

by Abigail Agbottah

The Artiste of the Year award has been the highest and most prestigious accolade during the Telcel Ghana Music Awards (TGMA). This award is given to the artist, who is judged by the Charterhouse, the TGMA Board, and the general public as having the highest audience appeal, radio play, online streaming, and popularity. To qualify, the artist must have released a hit single or album during the year under review.

Stonebwoy’s Second Victory

This year, the 25th prestigious award was claimed by Stonebwoy for the second time, mirroring the achievements of Sarkodie, who also won twice in previous years. Stonebwoy’s victory came amid tight competition from notable artists such as Sarkodie, King Promise, Kwami Eugene, Black Sherif, and the sole gospel artist in the group, Nacee. His win cements his place in the history books as the “Artiste of the Year.”

The History of Telcel Ghana Music Awards (TGMA)

The Telcel Ghana Music Awards, initially known as the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, was established in 1999 by Charterhouse, a local event-organising company. The TGMA stands as the premier annual event in Ghana’s music industry, aiming to recognize and honour the contributions of Ghanaian musicians. Held typically in April, May, or June, the ceremony celebrates the talents and achievements of artists who have significantly influenced and expanded the local music scene.

International Recognition and Trophy Description

The TGMA has gradually gained international recognition, with broadcasts not only on local TV stations but also on international platforms such as Akwaaba Magic on satellite TV, DStv, Terrestrial TV, and GOtv. The trophy awarded to the “Artiste of the Year” is a beautiful Gold Star plaque with a circular hole and strings on opposite faces, designed to mimic a guitar.

Controversies and Conversations

While the “Artiste of the Year” is the most coveted award, other categories such as “Song of the Year,” “Rapper of the Year,” “Best Collaboration of the Year,” “Reggae-Dancehall Artiste of the Year,” and “Best New Artiste of the Year” have sparked considerable conversations and controversies. In particular, the “Artiste of the Year” category has often been the centre of intense debates. One of the most notable controversies occurred in 2019 when the award was annulled due to a conflict between Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale, which led to one of them waving a gun on live television. Consequently, the board decided not to award the title to any nominee that year, inadvertently allowing the late dancehall star Ebony Reigns to remain the reigning artist for two consecutive years.

Gospel Artists Making History

In 2017, Joe Mettle made history as the first gospel artist to win the “Artiste of the Year” award, breaking the long-standing trend of secular music dominance since the award’s inception in 1999. His victory was a landmark moment that inspired other gospel artists. Diana Hamilton followed in his footsteps in 2021, further establishing that gospel musicians could aspire to and achieve the topmost award.

Past and Present Winners

Reflecting on the past and present “Artiste of the Year” award winners from 1999 to 2024 highlights the evolution of Ghana’s music scene. Notable winners include:

  1. 1999-Akyeame (Quophi Okyeame and Okyeame Kwame)
  2. 2000: Daddy Lumba
  3. 2001: Kojo Antwi
  4. 2002: Lord Kenya
  5. 2003: Kontihene
  6. 2004: V.I.P
  7. 2005: Bice Osei Kuffour
  8. 2006: Ofori Amponsah
  9. 2007: Samini
  10. 2008: Kwaw Kese
  11. 2009: Okyeame Kwame
  12. 2010: Sarkodie
  13. 2011: V.I.P
  14. 2012: Sarkodie
  15. 2013: R2Bees
  16. 2014: Shatta Wale
  17. 2015: Stonebwoy
  18. 2016: E.L
  19. 2017: Joe Mettle
  20. 2018: Ebony Reigns
  21. 2019: Unannounced
  22. 2020: Kuami Eugene
  23. 2021: Diana Hamilton
  24. 2022: KiDi
  25. 2023: Black Sherif
  26. 2024: Stonebwoy

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