Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2021: Diana Hamilton is Artist of the Year

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Hamilton, the renowned musician behind local hits including ‘W’asem’, ‘Mo Ne Yo’ and ‘Adom’, clinched the trophy ahead of Adina, KiDi, Medikal, Sarkodie and Kuami Eugene, who won the coveted trophy at last year’s edition of the awards, which celebrates outstanding musical feats in the country and across the continent. The win for Hamilton also comes on the heels of securing a brand ambassadorial deal with insurance company Enterprise Life in May alongside rapper Kofi Kinaata.

In addition to the ultimate prize, which makes her the first female gospel act and the first gospel act since Joe Mettle in 2017 to be crowned Artist of the Year, Hamilton walked away with the laurels for Most Popular Song of the Year, Gospel Artist of the Year and Gospel Song of the Year, making her the biggest winner at this year’s awards. 

An elated Hamilton expressed gratitude to everyone who supported her to annex the title. 

“Family, what God cannot do does not exist,” she added in a Facebook post shortly after her big win. “I’m trying to put this all together but making sense of it means I’ll be doubting God’s ability. To everyone who supported me through your prayers, words of encouragement, public or private support, I am very grateful. It’s been a long day and a bit. This is to encourage somebody out there, the road might be long but it will be worth it just trust the process!”

‘Enjoyment’ singer KiDi won the Highlife Artist of the Year, EP of the Year, Afrobeat/Afropop Artist of the Year, Afrobeats/Afropop Song of the Year and Highlife Song of the Year categories. Adina, who won Record of the Year the night before, also took home the gongs for Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Reggae/Dancehall Song of the Year.

Going into the night, KiDi, 3Music Awards’ Artist of the Year for 2021, was widely believed to be Hamilton’s biggest contender in the keenly contested category as he too had emerged as a top favourite among industry watchers, heightening the debate around who deserved the ultimate title. The musician, who had released his sophomore album days earlier, chalked impressive feats in the year under review, notable among them being the release of the commercially acclaimed Blue EP, and securing a deal with US multimedia music publishing and entertainment company Made in East New York, which announced a new partnership deal with international distribution company and record label Empire.

A feature of the awards in recent years, Hamilton’s Artist of the Year win was also heralded by a campaign by fellow musicians and industry gatekeepers, notable among them being artist manager Nii Noi, producer Fred Kyei Mensah, and singers Sonnie Badu, Ohemaa Mercy and Celestine Donkor.

“We know Adina Thembi [who this year became the most nominated artist in the award scheme’s 22-year history] with was an industry favourite when the nominees were released, but her ‘clout’ dropped,” journalist, university lecturer and popular culture critic Mic Yamoah held at the height of the debate. Yamoah observed that Adina had “been able to warm herself into people’s hearts with her recent performance at the Ghana Music Awards Experience concert”, however, it had become “too late” as KiDi and Diana Hamilton had taken over because they were “hungrier”.

While Yamoah admitted that KiDi was the one to beat due to industry backing, he noted that public voting could be his biggest hurdle, insisting that Hamilton had the support of neutrals as well as pro-gospel folks. 

Colleague journalist Gary Al-Smith echoed Yamoah’s sentiments after the announcement of Hamilton as Artist of the Year. “It’s very, very hard to win against the religious side of GH at almost any level. Joe Mettle proved it. Diana Hamilton proves it again.

“The gospel side doesn’t make much noise. But the influence is huge. And, when a gospel song is a hit, it is not just “one song”. It’s a whole movement. Hard luck to KiDi. Come back stronger next time.”

After losing to Hamilton, KiDi took to social media to congratulate her. “To God be the glory,” he tweeted. “Thank you, Ghana. Huge congrats Aunty Diana.”

Elsewhere, Sarkodie took home the Best Collaboration for his song Happy Day featuring Kuami Eugene, and Medikal won the Best Hip Hop/Hiplife Artist of the Year. Kofi Kinaata, who picked up the Songwriter of the Year Award for ‘Behind the Scenes’ the previous day, also received the Vodafone Green Award for his campaign against illegal fishing. 

The main awards night witnessed performances from top acts including rapper Eno Barony, Mr Drew, KiDi, Joeboy, Kwesi Arthur, and Adina. Sarkodie led a special tribute performance for hiplife artist Castro, who disappeared about seven years ago at the Ada Beach and is expected to be legally declared dead next month. 

Meanwhile, Day 1 saw significant victories for Richie Mensah, who picked up the awards for Sound Engineer of the Year and Producer of the Year. Gospel singer MOG Music won his second consecutive Male Vocalist of the Year trophy. Highlife veteran Bob Pinodowas the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, whilst South Africa’s Master KG won the African Artist of the Year Award.

The 2021 VGMAs were produced by event company Charterhouse Ghana and ran under the theme, Stronger With Music.

Below is the complete list of winners from the 22nd VGMAs:

Gospel Song of the Year

  • ‘Blessed’ – Akesse Brempong ft. Joe Mettle
  • ‘Favour Everywhere’ – Celestine ft. Evelyn Wanjiru
  • ‘Adom’ – Diana Hamilton
  • ‘Jesus Over Do’ – Empress Gifty
  • ‘Yesu Mo’ – Joe Mettle
  • ‘Jesus’ – MOG Music
  • ‘Jejeli’ – KobbySalm ft. Okey Sokay
  • ‘Who Say God No Dey’ – Kofi Karikari

Highlife Song of the Year

  • ‘Posti Me’ – Akwaboah
  • ‘Playboy’ – Dada Hafco ft. Akwaboah
  • ‘Enjoyment’ – KiDi
  • ‘Behind The Scenes’ – Kofi Kinaata
  • ‘Open Gate’ – Kuami Eugene
  • ‘Asabone’ – Lord Paper ft. Bosom P-Yung
  • ‘Later’ – Mr Drew ft. Kelvyn Boy
  • ‘Party’ – Sista Afia ft. Fameye

Hiplife Song of the Year

  • ‘Thank God’ – DopeNation ft. Kofi Kinaata
  • ‘Enough Is Enough’ – Eno Barony ft. Wendy Shay
  • ‘Long Life’ – Fameye ft. Kwesi Arthur
  • ‘No Dulling’ – Keche ft. Kuami Eugene
  • ‘Dw3 Remix’ – Krymi ft. Drew ft. All-Stars
  • ‘Pilolo’ – Strongman ft. Kelvyn Boy
  • ‘Happy Day’ – Sarkodie ft. Kuami Eugene
  • ‘Ghetto Boy’ – Tulenkey ft. Kelvyn Boy & Medikal

Hip Hop Song of the Year

  • ‘Ataa Adwoa’ – Bosom PYung
  • ‘Otan Hunu’ – Dead Peepol ft. Rich Kent. Akobam – Joey B ft. Medikal & Kofi Mole
  • ‘Ekorso’ – Kofi Jamar ft. Yaw Tog & Ypee
  • ‘Money’ – Kweku Flick Live from 233 – Kwesi Arthur
  • ‘La Hustle Remix’ – Medikal ft. Joey B & Criss Waddle
  • ‘Sore’ – Yaw Tog ft. O’kenneth, City Boy, Reggie, Jay Bahd
  • ‘Force Dem To Play Nonsense’ – Eno Barony ft. Sister Derby & Strongman

Reggae/Dancehall Song of the Year

  • ‘Why’ – Adina
  • ‘Sheriff’ – MzVee
  • ‘Forever’ – Samini
  • ‘Lonely’ – Jah Lead
  • ‘Killy Killy Rmx’ – Larruso ft. Stonebwoy & Kwesi Arthur
  • ‘Make Up’ – Kaphun ft. Stonebwoy
  • ‘Gye Diee’ – Ras Kuuku ft. MOG Music
  • ‘Mi Dey Up Rmx’ – Kofi Jamar ft. Stonebwoy

Afrobeats/Afropop Song of the Year

  • ‘Take Care of You’ – Adina ft. Stonebwoy
  • ‘Inna Song’ – Darkovibes ft. King Promise
  • ‘Forever’ – Gyakie
  • ‘Momo’ – KelvynBoy ft. Mugeez & Darkovibes
  • ‘Say Cheese’ – KiDi
  • ‘Sisa’ – King Promise
  • ‘Turn On the Lights’ – Kwesi Arthur
  • ‘Let Me Know’ – Mr Drew
  • ‘Maria’ – Camidoh
  • ‘Emergency’ – Wendy Shay

Afrobeats/Afropop Artist of the Year

  • Adina
  • Darkovibes
  • Camidoh
  • KelvynBoy
  • KiDi
  • King Promise
  • Mr. Drew
  • Wendy Shay

 Unsung Act

  • Nanky
  • Oseikrom Sikani
  • Malcolm Nuna
  • Kwame Yogot
  • Kobby Tuesday
  • Naana Blu
  • Adelaide The Seer
  • Queendalyn Yurglee

Gospel Artist of the Year

  • Akesse Brempong
  • Joe Mettle
  • Celestine Donkor
  • Diana Hamilton
  • Empress Gifty
  • MOG Music
  • Efe Grace
  • Eric Jeshrun

Highlife Artist of the Year

  • Akwaboah
  • Fameye
  • Kofi Kinaata
  • Kuami Eugene
  • Sista Afia
  • Dada Hafco

Reggae/Dancehall Artist of the Year

  • Epixode
  • Samini
  • Ras Kuuku
  • Kaphun
  • Larruso

Hiplife/Hip Hop Artist of the Year

  • Eno Barony
  • Joey B
  • Keche
  • Kofi Jamar
  • Kwesi Arthur
  • Medikal
  • Sarkodie
  • Yaw TOG

Best Collaboration of the Year

  • ‘Take Care of You’ – Adina ft. Stonebwoy
  • ‘Inna Song’ – Darkovibes ft. King Promise
  • ‘No Dulling’ – Keche ft. Kuami Eugene
  •  ‘One Man’ – KiDi ft. Adina
  • ‘Ekorso’ – Kofi Jamar ft. Yaw TOG & Ypee
  • ‘La Hustle Remix’ – Medikal ft. Joey B & Criss Waddle.
  • ‘Happy Day’ – Sarkodie ft. Kuami Eugene
  • ‘Sore’ – Yaw TOG ft. O’kenneth, City Boy, Reggie, Jay Bahd

Best Rap Performance

  • ‘Best Rapper’ – Amerado 
  • ‘God Is A Woman’ – Eno Barony 
  • ‘Cold’ – Joey B
  • ‘Stop It’ – Medikal
  • ‘Brown Paper Bag’ – Sarkodie ft. M.anifest
  • Flawless – Strongman 

International Collaboration of the Year

  • ‘Favor Everywhere’ – Celestine Donkor ft. Evelyn Wanjiru
  • ‘The One’ – Efya ft Tiwa Savage
  • ‘Something Nice’ – Kofi Kinaata ft. Patoranking
  • ‘Show Body’ – Kuami Eugene ft. Falz
  • ‘Baajo’ – Kwesi Arthur ft. Joeboy
  • ‘CEO Flow’ – Sarkodie ft. E-40
  • ‘Paper’ – Sista Afia ft Victor AD
  • ‘Thomas Pompoyeyaw Rmx’ – Pappy Kojo ft. Busiswa Gqulu

Vodafone Most Popular Song of the Year

  • ‘Ataa Adwoa’ – Bosom PYung
  • ‘Adom’ – Diana Hamilton
  • ‘No Dulling’ – Keche ft. Kuami Eugene
  • ‘Enjoyment’ – KiDi
  • ‘Sisa’ – King Promise
  • ‘Ekorso’ – Kofi Jamar
  • ‘Open Gate’ – Kuami Eugene
  • ‘La Hustle Remix’ – Medikal
  • ‘Happy Day’ – Sarkodie
  • ‘Sore’ – Yaw Tog
  • ‘Say Cheese’ – KiDi
  • ‘Inna Song’ – Darkovibes

Album of the Year

  • Araba – Adina
  • Kpanlogo – Darkovibes
  • Son of Africa – Kuami Eugene
  • The Truth – Medikal
  • Inveencible – MzVee
  • 10 AM – Strongman
  • Blackstar – KelvynBoy
  • Lava Feels – Joey B

EP of the Year

  • Blue – KiDi
  • Seed – Gyakie
  • Different – GuiltyBeatz
  • Mood Swings – Edem
  • This Is Not The Tape, Sorry For The Wait II – Kwesi Arthur
  • The Truth – Kofi Jamar

Best New Artist of the Year

  • Amerado
  • Bosom PYung
  • Dead Peepol
  • Gyakie
  • Kofi Jamar
  • Kweku Flick
  • Larruso
  • Mr Drew
  • Yaw TOG
  • Camidoh

Artist of the Year

  • Adina
  • KiDi
  • Diana Hamilton
  • Kuami Eugene
  • Medikal
  • Sarkodie

Instrumentalist of the Year

  • Joshua Moszi
  • Nana Yaw Sarfo Prince
  • Sennah Emmanuel
  • Bludo Enoch
  • Owuraku Kissi

Songwriter of the Year

  • Diana Hamilton – ‘Adom’
  • Kofi Kinaata – ‘Behind the Scenes’
  • Adina – ‘Hyedin’
  • Joe Mettle – ‘Yesu Mo’
  • Abiana – ‘Adun Lei’
  • Epixode – ‘Too Much’

Record of the Year

  • ‘Be Your Own Beautiful’ – Adomaa
  • ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ – Adina
  • ‘Fancy’ – Amaarae
  • ‘Die 4 U’ – Cina Soul
  • ‘Too Much’ – Epixode
  • ‘Diplomatic Teef’ – Trigmatic
  • ‘Commot’ – Worlasi
  • ‘Mmusuo’ – YaaYaa

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • KiDi – ‘One Man’ ft. Adina
  • Joe Mettle – ‘Yesu Mo’
  • Akwaboah – ‘Posti Me’
  • MOG Music – ‘Oguamma’
  • Kyei Mensah – ‘Take It All’
  • Kingsley Amporful – ‘God’

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Abiana – ‘Adun Lei’
  • Adina – ‘Hear Me’
  • Yaa Yaa – ‘Mmusuo’
  • Cina Soul – ‘Die 4 U
  • Efe Grace – ‘Lord Have Your Way’
  • Enuonyam – ‘Fill Me’

Best Video of the Year

  • ‘Why’ – Adina
  • ‘Fancy’ – Amaarae
  • ‘Adom’ – Diana Hamilton.
  • ‘Cold’ – Joey B
  • ‘Open Gate’ – Kuami Eugene
  • ‘On the Street’ – Kweku Smoke
  • ‘Let Me Know’ – Mr Drew
  • ‘Baddest Boss’ – MzVee
  • ‘Kpa’ – Okyeame Kwame
  • ‘Thomas Pompoyeyaw Rmx’ – Pappy Kojo ft. Busiswa Gqulu

Best Group of the Year

  • Bethel Revival Choir
  • DopeNation
  • Dead Peepol
  • Keche

 

African Artist of the Year

  • Burna Boy
  • Davido
  • Wizkid
  • Master KG
  • Fireboy DML
  • Omah Lay

Traditional Artist of the Year

Music for Good Award

Sound Engineer of the Year

Producer of the Year

Vodafone Ghana Music Awards Green Award

Lifetime Achievement Award

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