FOR a country that prides itself on its culture, it has taken too long for poetry and spoken word to gain the kind of recognition it deserves but there are some whose exploits are making the case for this art form and one of them is Rhymesonny.
Having graced some of the biggest stages with his craft, Rhymesonny might be easily recognised by many people as that tall, fair guy who strings words together in a way that gives you no choice than to pay attention.
Even before it became fashionable for one to call him or herself a poet or spoken word artiste, Rhymesonny was there doing his bit and as he told Showbiz last Tuesday when we caught up him, what he is doing is no accident, it is an interest he harnessed into a profession.
“I’ve always made it a point to put words and thoughts together to make songs. That was how my interest in spoken word started. I have had more than 300 performances in my decade of work and hosted many poetry events.
“My most recent shows were at the MTN Music Festival, MTN Heroes of Change 2018, OK Stripped Concert and Akwaboah’s Shades of Love Concert,” he said.
It is a thing of beauty to see Rhymesonny at work; he effortlessly blends English and Twi in such an exciting way that delights audiences.
The way his words come together make him seem like someone who has lived all his life in the palace but that is the kind of dedication he has put into his careft that ahs made him stand out.
That dedication is what earned him a well deserved handshake from former President, John Agyekum Kufuor with his ode to the statesman at the opening of the AU Arts Festival at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra last month.
Giving the former President several appellations, the native of Asieso in the Eastern Region enjoyed constant applause and cheers from the patrons, who were visibly pleased with his recital.
In appreciation of what just a few people can creatively put together and deliver, the former president called Rhymesonny after his act for a handshake and a hug.
Such heartfelt appreciation may be normal for Rhymesonny who has performed to a varied audience of Heads of State, ambassadors, ministers, religious and traditional leaders but he tells Showbiz that the recognition from respected personalities like the former President spurs him on to work harder.
“Art is essentially an expression of emotions and people’s reactions to works of arts depend on how strongly they connect to it. It was a great feeling to have the former first gentleman of the land call me after a performance to give me a hand shake.
“It probably shows that I’m doing something right. It is not easy to put up a piece to perform to an audience. Sometimes, you wonder the kind of reception you get after delivery but that is your job.
He may make what he does look easy but Rhymesonny admits that writing a piece doesn’t come easy at all.
He cites an instance where he had to get help from his friend to write a piece for a religious programme. Titled, My CV of Sin it turned out to be one of his best poems over the years.
“I was engaged by Stratcomm Africa for a performance at their annual Praise Jam concert in 2015. I was told I will perform before an altar call and that was a huge challenge since it meant I had to put in extra work to get the results.
“I called my colleague, Tawiah DeSoulPoet to help me come up with an interactive piece. Together, we put My CV of Sin together and till date, I always thank God for its impact because it had about 300 people giving their lives to Christ on the day,” he stated.
Born Sonny Kwaku Bedwei, Rhymesonny had his secondary education at Opoku Ware School in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region before furthering at the University of Ghana, Legon. His siblings, two sisters and a brother currently live in the UK.
Narrating how he came by his moniker, Rhymesonny said “When I started poetry, I distinguished myself with my rhyming so my friends named me “King of Rhymes”. I just added Rhyme to my real name”.
Since he started doing this about a decade ago, he has seen Poetry and Spoken Word grow and now he says their services are in demand.
With others like him in the field, he acknowledges that it is competitive but just like “the agama lizard that fell from the high iroko tree praised himself when no one did,” Rhymesonny counts himself as the best.
“Do you expect me to mention another as the best, of course not? I wrote in one of my poems that ‘when it comes to spoken word, I am always at the bench because I don’t have a match’.
“Few have distinguished themselves in terms of style, content, work impact and branding but sincerely, many are pursuing it just as a hobby whiles others like myself have taken it up as a career,” he noted.
It is perceived that arts in our part of the world isn’t rewarding financially and Rhymesonny agrees. However, he supports himself by selling CDs of some of his works as well as creating content for advertising agencies.
“Spoken word has come to stay and just like every human institution, it has its challenges but I can boldly say that in the coming years, it will provide an alternative source of income just like music and movies,” he added.
Columnist: Gifty Owusu-Amoah and Lumina Mensah