By Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
His grand appearance on the music scene has been as surprising as it is fascinating. Not only has Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Kofi Sarpong broken barriers as a security officer and musician; he also has mass appeal for his inspiring songs, dancing skills and elegant dress sense.
It is not unusual to see policemen singing in public — the Police Central Band has been an integral part of society and has been seen at state and private functions for many years. However, DSP Sarpong is perhaps the first security officer who has gone public in music production. And just a few months on the music scene, the ‘Singing Cop’ has already carved a niche for himself and his debut album, Sacrifice, is enjoying massive airplay and is high up the music chart.
Ayeyi Ndwom, one of the tracks on the album, is currently fifth on the popular Adom FM Top 20 Music Chart published by the Graphic Showbiz, an indication of the popularity of his music.
That Sacrifice connects well with music fans is the result of the craftsmanship of songwriters such as Kwabena Akwaboa, Michael 'O.J.' Oware Sakyi and Kwesi Ernest who wrote some of the songs an the album and the handiwork of some renowned recording engineers such as Zapp Mallet, Nacy, Collins T and Shadrack Yawson.
The end result of every great album is usually massive airplay, good sales and possibly awards. The appeal of the Sacrifice album culminated in DSP Sarpong receiving nominations in three categories for tonight’s 11th Ghana Music Awards, with the hit song, Ayeyi Ndwon, listed for the enviable Gospel Song of the Year award.
Not many gospel artistes rise to such prominence within a short time and to be nominated for both the Gospel Artiste of the Year and the Discovery of the Year awards is the ultimate endorsement for DSP Sarpong by the connoisseurs of the music industry and the general public.
Ironically, although currently rated among the giants in the gospel music industry, DSP Sarpong is not a member of the Police Band but rather the officer in charge of Supplies at the Police Headquarters in Accra.
One significant thing about DSP Sarpong, the aide-de-camp to the former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, is that he appears at ease, effectively combining two professions — policing and music.
Last week Thursday when The Mirror visited the ‘Singing Cop’ at his office at the Police Headquarters for him to throw more light on his new-found career, the young and smart-looking police officer was busy behind his desk attending to procurement issues.
Sporting a grey suit with a light peach shirt to match, he opened up to The Mirror concerning his music career and new-found fame but the hearty conversation was interrupted by constant knocks on his door by other police officers who needed his services.
That was enough evidence that DSP Sarpong is a busy man. Therefore, taking on another demanding and challenging work like music was the story The Mirror wanted him to share with readers.
DSP Sarpong’s passion for singing and dancing is an open secret to his colleagues who have worked with him in the Police Service for the past 14 years. Reminiscing on his days with the former IGP, he said the former police chief often allowed him to display his talent at public functions, to the admiration of the audience, adding that those opportunities opened the door to his new career.
“Sometimes when I escorted him to social functions, he told the audience, ‘There is a policeman here who likes to sing for free so I would like him to perform two songs for you.’ Then I will do it,” he explained.
It is no surprise, therefore, that he is a member of all the singing groups at the Rev Dr Thomas Nantomah Memorial Presbyterian Church at Kanda, where he fellowships.
“I am the reserved type. Therefore, when I am not policing, I am in my church quietly singing and dancing. I am the band leader, choir secretary and president of the Anointed Voices, therefore I always have something to do,” he explained.
He was quick to add that music is just a hobby, for which reason he tries as much as possible not to let it have precedence over his profession as a police officer.
How, then, did he venture into professional music?
DSP Sarpong explained that after singing at a friend’s wedding, he was approached by Mr Ernest Kwasi Ennin, who is now his Executive Producer, to record him.
“In fact, that was two-and-a-half years ago but I told him I was a policeman and couldn’t go commercial. However, he kept pushing. Therefore, I decided to write a letter to the Police Administration for permission. My sister, I swear I knew it wouldn’t be possible and that was why I did it, so I could show the refusal letter to Ernest to get him off my back. Incredibly, it was endorsed and here I am everywhere performing to glorify God,” he said.
Fame comes at a price and DSP Sarpong has his fair share of the downside of celebrity status. He spoke fondly of how he drove around freely in the past and ate virtually anywhere with friends. However, fame has put limitations on his movement and some habits.
“The little fame I’ve attained is making it impossible for me to enjoy my favourite ‘konkonte’ around the GBC Club House. Now when I do so people point fingers at me,” he said amidst giggles.
A native of Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region, DSP Sarpong, the third of four children, holds a Diploma in Purchasing and Supplies from the United Kingdom.
His education commenced at the Berekum Methodist Primary, from where he proceeded to the Berekum Secondary School (BESS) for his Ordinary Level education, after which he enlisted into the Ghana Police Service in 1996.
His first station was the Quarter Master’s Office at the Police Headquarters. After furthering his education, he was promoted from a Constable to an Inspector, after which he proceeded to the Police College. Upon completion, he was transferred to the Police Hospital and put in charge of the stores.
By dint of hard work, he was selected on a peacekeeping mission in The Sudan. There, he was the Chief of Logistics for the Police Civil Component for a year.
DSP Sarpong, who is very fond of his mother, Madam Comfort Yeboah, alias Yaa Seikwa, is married to Salomey, with whom he has two children — Nana Nketiah and Maa Afia Yeboah Sarpong.
He expressed gratitude to the entire Police Administration which granted him the opportunity to show his talent.
His hobbies are dancing and cooking. Indeed, the Singing Cop waxes lyrical about his culinary skills. “I can cook anything — from kenkey, banku, konkonte, fufu to rice, which is the simplest. In fact, when I was a Constable and not married at the Osu Barracks, I used to sit in front of my kitchen to prepare banku and konkonte to the admiration of all the women.”
Give him a bowl of konkonte with groundnut soup and a little okra anytime and he will be thankful to you.