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Cina Soul: “Someone in the industry discouraged me because of ‘Ojorley’”

The queen of new Ga soul tells Naa Ashorkor on Asaase Radio’s Between Hours” about her struggle to be taken seriously

The award-winning highlife and Afropop musician Christie Quincyna Quarcoopome, popularly known in showbiz circles as Cina Soul, has revealed on Asaase Radio how she was discouraged by someone in the Ghanaian music industry because of her popular single “Ojorley”.

Though she did not identiy who the mystery man was, Kla Manye, as she is affectionately called, said that the man was noticeably cold towards her on many occasions.

She was sharing her experience on the “Story Time” segment of Asaase Radio’s Between Hours with Naa Ashorkor.

“Wasting her time

“A month after I released “Ojorley”, I got called for a show. It was a very big show that happens every December. I was very excited about it because that was the very first time performing ‘Ojorley. So I was called for a rehearsal and then I went.

“I went early but artistes who came later were asked to rehearse. But never mind, I waited for my turn.

“Someone big from the industry called me outside and asked me what song am I performing on the show and I told him about ‘Ojorley’ and I played the song for him to listen. While listening to the song, he was pacing.

“He came back to me and said, ‘Why did you do this song? This song is not good for you. You look too young for a song like this. This song will never sell in Ghana; you are wasting your time. This song won’t take you anywhere.’ ”

“Ojorley

Cina Soul’s  “Ojorley is the first single off her sophomore project. “Jorley” is a Ga term for “lover”. The song is sung from the point of view of a wife, coaxing a cheating husband back to their married home home after she confronts him.

The song is one of the current Ga soul hit tunes getting massive airplay on the radio. The clip has over 3,000 views on YouTube. She says she adapted the expression “ojorley” after eavesdropping in her native Ga-Mashie, the quarter of Accra she comes from. She heard people teasing each other about “ojorley” and decided to use it as a musical idea.

“I want to be inspired by people and so I went to live in Ga-Mashie for a couple of days. I heard people saying “ojorley” and I said to myself, ‘This term, I will use it in my song.’ So from that, I created ‘Ojorley.”

Setbacks but determination

The “Killi Mi” hitmaker, who received an award in the Best Video category in this year’s Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs), disclosed that she encountered setbacks as well as words of discouragement from some industry players but pulled through with the determination that has brought her this far.

“When I started music, I was in school and people were not taking me seriously,” she told Naa Ashorkor. “I had to focus on both studies and music.

“Some of the … gurus in the industry, one of them actually came to my house and told me to my face that, ‘You should probably stop what you are doing right now – just focus on your studies. In the meantime, you should be backing other big artistes and learning.

“‘Don’t do music. The way you look, you are too small. You look too young. No one will take you seriously. If you come and perform in front of me, I won’t take you seriously because you look like a child.’

“It hurt me but I still kept pushing.”

COVID hustle

Cina Soul also recalls how her line-up of activities was cancelled because of the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. She says some musicians like her suffered slow business in that period because they mostly relied on live performance for quick payment of royalties.

“It’s been slow, it’s been boring. I always tell people around me, ‘I’m a performer I love to perform live.’ If there is a lockdown, there is no show for me to play. And if there is no show for me to play, there is no money.

“It’s been hard. We’ve been broke. It’s been hard surviving as a Ghanaian artiste. Because our royalties system doesn’t work. All the money, we get from playing shows. So if we don’t play shows, we are broke.”

Cina Soul is one of the fastest-rising stars in Ghana. In her unique way, she delivers fine stagecraft. And she is now poised to make the big time with her music.

Andrew Serpah

* Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.
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