Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
He is young, energetic and forward looking and it is no wonder that he has worked with several big names in the music industry in Ghana and abroad.
His prowess on the keyboard and guitar and his skills as a producer and recording engineer make Kwame Yeboah a hot commodity in the world of contemporary music.
He has provided services for big names in the industry such as Kojo Antwi, Miss Dynamite, Craig David, Stevie Wonder, Alexander O’Neal, Amy Winehouse, Jimmy Cliff and good old Osibisa.
This makes him shuttle regularly between London and Accra and, at 34, the only job he has ever done is to play music, something he emphatically says he will not trade for any other.
“I have no regrets at all for being a musician all my life,” Kwame said. “I have tapped knowledge from a lot of people and sources and I’m happy now that I spend a lot of time here these days to manage, guide and share what I know with some of the young, brilliant and up-and-coming Ghanaian musicians.”
His father is a veteran highlife musician, K.K. Yeboah, and Kwame attributes his achievements to the fact that he was surrounded by music throughout his childhood and was allowed to drift where his instincts led him.
Apart from his father’s early influence, he also learnt from his maternal uncle, the late Paa Gyimah, who was a proficient guitarist for Jewel Ackah, Senior Eddie Donkor and several other local bands.
“Though there were instruments all around me as I grew up, my father was initially not too keen on me taking up music. He felt I should pay more attention to school but I was playing drums by the time I was five and the guitar by seven,” he recalled.
Since his father was not excited about his venturing into the music industry, Kwame hung out a lot more in Snr Eddie Donkor’s house, which was close to theirs at Abeka in Accra. He also followed his uncle Gyimah around quite a bit.
“The guitar was my main instrument in the beginning but I moved on to keyboards. I realised that whenever a band was playing and the keyboards came in, the sound became bigger. I wanted to be able to be the one responsible for that big sound,” he said.
Many know Kwame in Ghana as Kojo Antwi’s keyboard player and music director. The two first came together through keyboardist Kwabena Akwaboa in 1996 for a Miss Ghana gig.
“I was hired to play that gig alone but Kojo invited me to a session in the studio after that. He was extremely impressed with what I produced in the studio and we have been together since then,” he recalled.
Kwame started his primary education at the Cosmos Preparatory School and continued to the Wassa Amenfi Secondary School in the Western Region and finally completed at the Pank Secondary in Accra.
As a result of his love for music, he took some music lessons in Denmark to be able to write and interpret music with world jazz piano players such as Michel Camilo and Danilo Perez.
Kwame hails from Wassa Akropong in the Western Region and his main focus now is running his two Mixstation studios in Accra and London and performing with his Ohia Beye Ya Band.
He was music director for this year’s Vodafone Ghana Icons music reality show.