Music Wed, 4 Jul 2007

Mark Okraku Mantey guns for Presidency

The sexist, finest and one of the youngest producer/executive producers of our time Mark Okraku Mantey has finally taken a bold decision to stand for the position of a president at the up coming general assembly to elect a new Ghana Association of Phonographic Industry (GAPI) president.

Making his intentions clear, Mark said he strongly believes now is the right time in his life to vie for such position because whether we like it or not the industry is dying and he has to stand up for his right.

The position has become vacant because the current president Mr. John Mensah Sarpong C.E.O of J.M.S Records has completed his first term of office. Since the inception of Ghana Association of Phonographic Industry [GAPI] in 2001, Mr. John Mensah is the second president after Osei Kwame Despite resigned from his post as the first president of the association pre-maturely even before the end of his term.

Mr. Mensah took over the mantle from him and has now become the first running president to have successfully ended his term of office After his exit, Okraku thinks he has something to offer because according to him there were so many things John could not do which he is capable of doing even better He was walking in the streets of Accra carrying loud speakers from one club to the other, funerals and other public places only to learn how to mix, scratch and control the turn table like the disc jockeys do. He was so crazy about selecting and playing good old skull music.

From 1995 when Mark entered into the music industry according to him by accident, he has never looked back even though the road has not been all smooth for him. He only assisted a musician friend called Kakabo who wanted his help to promote his album. Though he did his part to promote it on Joy FM where he was then a young DJ, Mark also realized how influential he was for the first to be able to convince his fellow presenters on other radio stations to play Kakabo’s song. He began gaining some interest for the music game and got himself more involved as the executive producer back then.

Gradually something he only had the passion for turned to be where he was exerting all his energy and strength. As young as 21, he registered and started running his own record company Slip Music when the real thing started. Mark started it all with new and unknown artistes mostly hip life from Mr. Solomon presently in Germany, Akyeame (Brebre Obaa Hemaa), Lord Kenya (Sika Baa), Daasebre Dwamena’s “Kokooko” on biggest success which people came to identify him with.

He did Adane Best and released one of the first contemporary compilations with a new breed of artistes on his label like Felix Bell and Tackie Quaye. Before Nana Qwame, Nana Yaw Asare and the likes also joined the train. After twelve years of ups and downs, investing in the music industry with the strong hopes of ripping it back to re-invest and keep the show business going has been a bit rough for Mark.

He came as a very young music producer with the intentions of giving our musicians the professional artistic values they deserve but may be most of the up coming ones never understood desire to at least make any musician he works with feel good.

Rather, the old and already made musicians like Oheneba Kisi, George Jarrah, Rev. Mensah Bonsu and Nana Tuffor have always understood him and has once  even made benjamins from them.

Now Mark believes it long over due to also have a say in his endeavor and thus vying for the presidency in an association he so much fits into, is a step in a right direction.

Though Mark still has a lot of problems with the present systems and structures of the music industry, he said, “when you disagree with the people running the affairs of the game, and you keep quiet and decide not to meet and speak your mind, wrong people will always take wrong decisions for you and you have to abide by them because you don’t have a say” And it is something I abhor”.

“I feel that it has gotten to a time where some of us who are investing hugely in the industry should be able to take decisions or help in the process. I believe this is the right time because the industry is getting worse and worse day after day. It is about time we do something because nobody is there to do it for us I am not so crazy about the position per say but I feel that if I have the position I can make it happen faster and very effectively. I might not be able to do it all but I will surely make a difference.” Okraku Mantey shares his vision.

To him the major problem of the industry is everybody thinking he or she is a king or a queen and the fact that everybody is afraid to speak the truth even when they are given opportunity.

Currently Mark is one of the most popular TV faces in the country as a permanent judge for the acclaimed TV3 Mentor Show. Aside music, he is also the executive producer of the popular TV soap “Efiewura”.

He disclosed to us for the first time that he is setting up his own music recording studio, a video editing studio, a fashion agency and employ young and energetic new professionals to restructure his record label Slip Entertainment.

On his leisure time he does not miss his keyboard lessons. As somebody who dreams to be a headmaster of his own school, it means the spirit of leadership is affluent in him.

Source: ghanamusic.com