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Songtrust Spotlight: Offei

OFFEI, also known as Derrick OFFEI-Awuku, is a Ghanaian singer, songwriter, and guitarist who has performed at big festivals, concerts, and private parties, most notably  Afrochella, Live wired, BisaFest, Promiseland, PramFest, Detty Rave, and more. Born and raised in Tema, a suburb in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, his silky voice and melodic style reflects in his music. He terms his genre of music as AfroFusion - a blend of Highlife, Hiplife, Pop, and R&B. For Offei, it is all about how the kicks, the bass, and the strings make him feel at the particular moment of creating a record. Music, according to OFFEI, is like a sixth sense, an addition to the five senses which God has blessed him with. For him, to be fully functional as a human being, music has to be part of the equation.

His 2020 release "Fi Mano" featured Nigerian superstar, Patoranking, and Ghanaian legendary group, Blackstone, and was nominated for three music awards and set the record straight in the Ghanaian music industry being the first Ghanaian artist to sample an old record and feature the original composers of the song. The record continues to make waves in Ghana, Nigeria, and the Eastern part of Africa, especially Uganda. He had his single "Lowkey" featured on Apple Music’s homepage, where his style of music was described as "Oscillating Afrobeat Pepper." He has since gone on to release successive singles which have enjoyed immense radio plays and been part of many playlists on various digital streaming platforms. Offei is on a musical journey to share his artistry with the entire world by creating everlasting memories. He is also a licensed Medical Laboratory Scientist who seeks to provide free health care screening for less-privileged citizens in Ghana and Africa through his foundation "OFFER FOUNDATION."


WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO MUSIC?

Growing up, I was inspired by a lot of local and international music. I can say I really got inspired to do music by three main artists: Lauryn Hill, Terry Bonchaka from Ghana, and Sarkodie, also from Ghana.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHILOSOPHY AND STYLE AS AN ARTIST?

I would describe my style of music as AFROFUSION. It’s a combination of African elements - be it in the language of the lyrics, instrumentation, and progression to any genre of music such as RNB, SOUL, HIGHLIFE, FUNK, ROCK, etc. I am a choreographer (dancer), rapper, and guitarist as well, so my performances can be calm and soothing, and as well as energetic the next minute, due to the wide variations of my discography.

WHAT DRIVES YOU TO CREATE, AND HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOURSELF IN MUSIC?

My songs are mostly inspired by true stories and also the actual mood I am in at a particular point in time. Sometimes, the beat also inspires what I write, especially when it is made before I get into the studio. Success to me in music will be when my songs are able to crossover far and wide across the world and affect other cultures in other parts of the world I haven’t even visited before.

THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER, WHO WERE THE MOST BENEFICIAL PEOPLE IN GETTING YOU TO WHERE YOU WANTED TO BE? WAS IT MANAGEMENT, ASSISTANTS, A&Rs? HOW DID THEY HELP?

Throughout my career, my entire team has been very instrumental in my rise. The loyalty and dedication they exhibit to my craft and the projects we put out, fuels me to do even more. Also, the advice and direction from my publisher (Mandy from Songtrust), and other A&Rs, have really made me minimize common mistakes I would have made as a young artist.

SOMETIMES BEING IN THIS BUSINESS CAN BE REALLY OVERWHELMING. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR MAINTAINING PERSPECTIVE AND NOT SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF?

I do a lot of delegation to my team members. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, so we try as much as possible to play to each individual role and reach a common goal. Also, I do a lot of active listening, trying to get information from whomever I can get it from.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR YOUNG ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS JUST STARTING THEIR CAREERS, BASED ON WHAT YOU'VE EXPERIENCED?

They should take time to improve on their craft each and every day. Try and learn more about the business of music as well, as the industry experiences change more often than expected. I will also say they should stay determined and resilient as it can get hard at times. But regardless, they will pull through to success.

WHAT ARE SOME PIECES OF INFORMATION THAT YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE YOU GOT STARTED IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? WHAT WAS SOMETHING YOU LEARNED THROUGH YOUR EXPERIENCES THAT YOU WERE SURPRISED BY?

What I wish I knew before getting into the industry was to really understand how imperative it is to know my own worth and the value of my craft. It's only then that I was able to develop the level in music I was and start leveraging that, which was before getting my first record deal. At the time, I knew nothing about royalties and publishing, and I was surprised when I saw the financial potentials my songwriting had to offer.

HOW IMPORTANT IS COMMUNITY TO YOU? HOW DO YOU CONNECT WITH YOUR FANS/COMMUNITY IN AN AUTHENTIC WAY?

Community to me is the whole essence of my career. The people that love and support my music mean the whole world to me - they are the reason I do what I do. I try as much as possible to engage them in live, intimate shows both IRL and online. We have discussions online where I even allow them to help me make decisions, such as the type of cover art to use for a particular single, the genre of music to release next, etc.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU? ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS OR PLANS FOR 2021-2022?

I am releasing my first and only single this year in November 2021, then I'll go on to release my debut EP early next year.

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