Spotlight on Rocky Dawuni
Born David Rocky Dawuni in Accra, Ghana twenty-something years ago, Rocky Dawuni as he's better know to his fans, grew up in military barracks in Tema before attending school between Tamale in the Northern part of the country and Koforidua which is 2 hours from the capital of Accra.
He first got his break into the music business when he performed on stage in the early 90's and was inspired by the likes of Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, Curtis Mayfield and James Brown. His first single was 'Sugar' off an album called 'The Movement' which was released in 1996 and he says that it "set me forth on this journey". The single was the first release off his own label, Aquarian Records which he founded in late 1995 and Rocky started establishing his music in Ghana. Aquarian Records has bases in Accra and Los Angeles. A second single 'What Goes Around' soon followed and that was released and licensed by Atlantic Records/Mesa Bluemoon in the USA.
So far, Rocky has done 3 albums, 'The Movement', 'Crusade' and the upcoming 'Awakening'. His most successful single to date has been 'In Ghana' off the 'Crusade' album as it got "great rotation from radio stations around the world and has become the unofficial anthem of Ghana". The album 'Crusade' has also been his most successful to date.
Rocky writes all his own lyrics and says, "My lyrics come in bits and pieces like a painting. I then join all of it together to form a whole. The sources are from books, conversations, insights and JAH". He has dreadlocks and is of the Rastafarian faith, but does not belong to any particular order of Rastafarians. Rocky says, "The only sect I belong to is the sect of JAH. I respect all different factions, but don't necessarily belong to any of them". As such his realisation of faith has been life-long and his "faith grows with each new day".
His talents are not limited to song writing and singing as Rocky also produces and has produced all his own albums to date. He has not collaborated much with other artists in the past, but plans to change that in the future. Currently he is not signed to any major record labels, but releases his music on Aquarian Records and then licenses it to labels outside Africa.
Rocky is based between Los Angeles and Accra and is also involved with AIDS Awareness programs as well as helping his community as much as he can. He believes, "positive works bear positive fruits" and he makes that the mission of his music. He quotes,"' to whom much is given, much is expected', so it's definitely my duty to walk the talk".
He has performed mainly in the USA, Canada and Africa so far in places such as Accra, Abidjan, Vermont, New York, Boston and Seattle, but would love to tour Europe. He has performed at WOMAD USA and says his best responses have been in Abidjan on the Ivory Coast "where fans rushed and overrun backstage and security had to pry us from the fans". Rocky is humble though and says that the reason for the responses he gets is "it's JAH music and when the people feel it they move".
After being in the music business for a few years, Rocky has his views on it and dislikes "the lack of real support by the labels in terms of long-term artist development". What Rocky would like to see is "equal opportunity in terms of radio time for Reggae music like any mainstream music". He also believes Reggae music needs "a much bigger profile… and artists have to be bold enough to innovate and progress".
As for his accomplishments in the business so far, Rocky feels "blessed" and plans to take it higher. If he hadn't gone into the music business, Rocky would have been a philosopher as he enjoys reading and philosophising in his spare time. He advises up and coming singers to "focus and keep trying".
Rocky has just finished shooting a video for the song 'I'll Try' off his upcoming album 'Awakening'. The album will be released in Ghana in early November 2000. He also plans to play at a peace concert on December 1st 2000 for Ghana's elections and then he embarks on the 'Ghetto Tour' of Ghana where he will play at small clubs all over the country. He is also planning a European tour.
His final message to his fans is "be still and ye will know". A few choice parting words that highlight the philosophical side of this talented artist. We're sure he will progress into higher heights with the forthcoming album 'Awakening'.
To book Rocky Dawuni contact Cary Sullivan on firstname.lastname@example.org and check out www.rockydawuni.com.