Chris Koney’s column
You often hear music executives and connoisseurs ask musicians and other professionals in the music space to go all-in. Sometimes, they are encouraged to quit their side hustle and avoid giving themselves a safety net, or else they won’t survive and succeed in the music industry.
But is that actually true? Should musicians and other professionals in the music industry have a backup plan or focus solely on their music careers? This has been an ongoing debate across the globe as to what is the best approach to success as a creative art professional.
Over the weekend, I was hosted by popular Music Producer, Stanley Dartey, known in music circles as PAQ at his ultra-modern and multi-purpose multimedia studio located at Lartebiokorshie in Accra. The conversation was on diversity in the music industry, creating long-term goals and his recently released body of work titled ‘Obsession’.
PAQ is that creative brain who has mastered the ability to combine divergent and convergent thinking skills to continually produce innovative and novel ideas. He is a true creative marked not only by his critical thinking skills but also by his ability to conceptualize, create and implement.
An award-winning record producer and a beat maker who produces a variety of music genres, his works ranges from Afrobeat, Hip Hop, Trap to Dancehall. Currently, PAQ is the in-house producer for multiple award-winning musician and the African Dancehall King, Shatta Wale.
Beyond music production, PAQ is also into radio jingle production and voice over recording for television commercials in indigenous Ghanaian languages, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Portuguese. In addition, his team helps clients with scripting and offers voice coaching services.
According to the creative brain, his interest in music started as a toddler with a heavy influence from his father who is an unrepentant music lover. “My dad played a key role in who I have become today. As a child growing up, I enjoyed the 80’s highlife music, hip hop, dancehall and reggae. Some of the artistes I always listened to included 2Pac, Fabulous, Nas, P.Diddy, Dipset, Bob Marley and Buju Banton,” he disclosed.
On how he started his career in music production, PAQ revealed that “at the age of 13, I got a copy of the fruity loops software and began experimenting with it. I was always on my computer exploring and trying to create music. It was at the age of 17 years when I decided to go commercial and started working from various studios.”
Apart from Shatta Wale, PAQ has worked with some of the best Ghanaian and Nigerian stars as well as some upcoming talents. They include Mr. Eazi, Guru, Wiper, Edem, Kwaw Kese, Yaa Pono, Gasmilla, Magnom, Lord Paper and Skonti.
‘Obsession’ is a seven-track EP recently released by PAQ and has been receiving a lot of attention. ‘1 Mile Away’ which features Shatta Wale and ‘Dey Together’ featuring Shaker are receiving heavy rotation on radio just as ‘Bar Man’ and ‘Rainfall & Sunshine’. The other songs on the EP are ‘Sauna’, ‘International’, and ‘Your Mind’.
On the background to the project, PAQ said: “it’s about love, inspiration, my truth and reality expressed through music. For me this EP and the creativity behind it symbolizes in all its form and shape my transition from music production into artistry. It is all about that growth one works towards in his or her chosen field of endeavor and the drive to be able to scale up to do more and bigger things.”
The idea for the EP came about during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 when we witnessed weeks of lockdown across the country. It created a situation where musicians couldn’t be visiting the studios like they usually do and PAQ had sometime on his hands. That was the point when he thought of working on an EP.
On the title of the EP, PAQ indicated that “I also wanted to strive for more and do something more than just produce music for musicians. Basically, I just wanted to explore and step out of my comfort zone. My life revolves around music and this project is a body of work that represents my truth and the reason for my existence. That is my obsession.”
As we wrapped up the conversation, PAQ revealed that he wanted to be known not only as a music producer but an artiste as well. His dream has been to conquer new territories and push his music to the rest of the world. “Basically, this EP enhances my versatility! My brand is known for bringing out quality sounds. With this project, my fans will experience great sound and music from the previously known producer, PAQ,” he ended!