Maybe he desired to have been either a pilot or a lawyer. Better still, it must have been his stay in the rough suburbs of Accra at a point in his life.
But something certainly caused this celebrated artiste to grow wings and develop raw determination. And to emerge from Bandana to Shatta Wale the way he did.
With the spotlight on Shatta Wale in today’s article, we shed some illumination on the man’s profile behind the new generation reggae-dancehall music genre in Ghana, a king in his own rights.
Going by Shatta Wale as his stage name, he was born Charles Nii Armah Mensah Jr on the 17th of October, 1984, to Mr. Charles Nii Armah Mensah Snr and Elsie Evelyn Avemegah.
Contrary to popular belief, the now prominent and influential Shatta Wale did not start his story from the ghettos and hoodlums. His parents were actually well-to-do. What with his father being a businessman, a legal practitioner and all. He lived comfortably in his formative years.
Shattaincluding left home during a time when his parents had marriage problems to pursue his passion; the creative arts.
With no record of pursuing tertiary education, Charles Nii Armah’s love for music would see him truncate his educational pursuit at the Secondary school level.
Starting at the Winneba Secondary School, he left midway to complete his second cycle education in an undisclosed school finally.
His primary and junior high school education started at the Shalom Institute of Divine Education. He left there after being repeated at JHS 1 and finished his primary education at Seven Great Princes Academy.
Before He Was Even Bandana
The potential and inclination of this award-winning artiste to the creative industry did not simply begin with music but showed itself at an early age, even through acting.
Coming into contact with Grace Omaabo (popularly known as Maame Dokono) during school activities in primary, he played as a gong-gong beater in the By the Fireside story-telling TV show.
It comes as no surprise to have seen him feature in a couple of movies. This includes Never Say Never, The Trial of Shatta Wale, Shattered Lives, acting alongside Majid Michel, Edward Kuffour, Paulina Oduro, Charles Kofi Bucknor, Bisa Kdei, among others.
This dramatic and expressive side of the Shatta movement president is seen in his videos, especially his 2018 hit, Gringo, and his energetic performances on stage.
Beyond his career as a Songwriter, Record Producer, and Sound Engineer, he considers comedy and barbering as his other talents, as disclosed on TV3 in an interview with Caleb Giovani.
His TikTok videos showcase his talent as a comedian, but for the barbering aspect, well, newsflash.
Aggressive From The Start
While many attribute his wild and expressively controversial and rebellious nature to his relation and roots to the street, it just happens to be a part of his identity as an individual, which has been honed and coined to become a part of his brand and career culture.
It seems to be the foundational phenomenon by which he has amassed his massive fan base after all.
From various interviews and interactions, Shatta Wale comes across as an inquisitive man who has a flair for getting to the roots of a matter and making it his own. This side of him shows itself in his effort in building a custom studio of his own where he learned to create beats, produce songs and operate specific software by watching YouTube videos.
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that this attribute guided his almost ten-year evolution from Bandana to Shatta Wale, the transition from Moko-Hoo to Dancehall King.
The Work Process
These songs were hits in their various times of release; Moko-Hoo in 2004 featuring Tinny under his debut album Bandana from Ghana. Dancehall King was released in 2013. Since his re-surfacing, he has risen through the ranks to where he is now through strategic steps and associations.
The use of the word “strategy” to describe Shatta Wale’s work process is by no means an effort to downplay the hard work and massive investment made in his career.
During his come-back, he relinquished complacence and released a song on social media almost every day, allowing his fans to download it for free. In an interview with Paul Adom Otchere on the Good evening Ghana show, he indicated that he had over 6000 songs in store, which included both released and yet-to-be-released songs.
Indeed, as Vince Lombardi said, the man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there. Today his hard work has paid off. To list his awards, nominations, and achievements will seek to lengthen this already starting-to-stretch piece.
At the moment, Shatta Wale has won more than 40 awards, with some 33 nominations, from all over the world. This includes a plaque from His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, the current president of Ghana; a feature with Beyoncé on the song titled, Already, which became a global hit and was nominated at the Grammy’s, as well as a still-to be-confirmed inclusion in the upcoming Rockstar Video Game Franchise, Grand Theft Auto 6 with his song Kakai, after impressing the Rockstar Games co-founder, Sam Houser.
Shatta Wale could be raking in some $744,000 annually if his Rockstar Games deal goes through. Charging some $5000 per show at the moment, I believe it is safe to say the man is doing well for himself, wouldn’t you agree? Having a net worth running in the millions of dollars, Shatta Wale is comfortably considered one of the wealthiest musicians in Ghana.
Speaking on YFM on the mid-morning show earlier this year, Shatta Wale disclosed how he nearly spent 25 years in jail over a misunderstanding that ensued between him and the parents of a lady he was dating some years ago. Escaping by the skin of his teeth, this became a turning point for him where he vowed to make something of his life, considering how he nearly lost a chunk of it.
It is highly tempting to judge Shatta Wale based on the culture of his act as against his personality as an individual, especially when you have not taken the time to know him. Interestingly, against such unruly backdrops, he has simply thrived.
By dint of hard work, focus, perseverance, and a constant attribution of his success to God, this artiste has shown us preparation does not delay, and consistency is key to greatness. If he could jump to the top after ten years of seeming silence, then dear reader, your story has only begun. It can only get better. Be encouraged.