NATIVE Exclusive: King Promise Took His Time With His New Album

"It is my most personal album."

For King Promise, the music has always been first. His early days as an artist found him letting his words speak for themselves, which earned him a growing presence online. While he pursued music as merely a side hustle during his early university days, he soon realigned his focus on his craft when he saw its propensity for success.


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First earning his stripes as an artist back on Soundcloud in 2017, Ghana’s King Promise began steadily releasing Afrofusion singles which finely merged a range of genres including Afropop, R&B and Highlife. Born Gregory Bortey Newman, the singer has spent the past few years establishing himself as one of the trusted voices in Ghana’s Pop scene with a string of notable releases including 2018’s “CCTV” featuring Mugeez, Sarkodie and R2Bees, and 2019’s “Call Waiting” with Joey B.

Unapologetically placing his Ghanaian heritage at the forefront of his sound, he’s built a catalogue of music that lets his talent do all the talking. In 2019, he released first LP ‘As Promised,’ with features from African artists such as Wizkid and Shatta Wale, which went on to become one of Ghana’s most streamed albums. Through consistent practise, he continues to hone his skills and further his global ambitions.

Taking time to create his music, he took a sabbatical from the music scene to concentrate on creating more music. Recently, he announced the release of his forthcoming album ‘5*’ with a romantic ballad “Ginger” which serves as its promotional single, joining a line of already released drops such as the Headie One-assisted “Ring My Line,” “Bad N Rude” with WSTRN, the Patoranking-assisted “Chop Life” and “Slow Down.” While these songs give a taster course to what fans can expect, the album also promises features from globe-throttling artists such as Vic Mensa, Patoranking, Omah Lay, Chance the Rapper and more.

Looking to write music that connects with his fans, ‘5*’ ushers in a new phase of his career. Through constantly betting on himself, King Promise has been able to hack the formula and create music that speaks to the base of his own existence and emotions. “Slow Down” acted as the first announcement of the album, with the singer narrating a story of broken love over a glitchy Afropop soundbed. WSTRN-featuring “Bad N Rude,” equally showcases his near veteran tendencies with impressive writing ability while his latest release “Ginger” sees him lean into delivering romantic quips with with honey tongued lyricism.

At each point on the new album, King Promise is making a statement: he’s spent years keenly observing the scene, learning his sound and trusting himself. Now, he’s making music that reflects his current standing, and drawing inspiration from his daily life as well as occurrences from all over the African continent. When we speak over Zoom, he tells me that what listeners hear in his music is as a result of his dedication to his craft. “When creating an album, I take 2 years to ensure it is meticulously curated with honeyed productions and that is what I have been doing,” he shares with the NATIVE.”

This attention to detail shines through on the forthcoming album. King Promise tells us that he spent his time with this album because he began working on it during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns. In this time, he was able to get closer to himself, to family, and to his hometown in Ghana which reinvigorated him with the tools he needed to take on his next album. “It is my most personal album as you can note from the released singles which speak of my growth from Boy P to 5 Star,” he shares.

Ahead of its release in June, we caught up with the singer to talk about his upbringing, his love for music, the creative process for ‘5*’ and the changes he wishes to see in the Ghanaian music scene.

Our conversation which follows below has been lightly edited for clarity.

NATIVE: Hi King Promise, how did you first get started in music?

PROMISE: I got into music when I was in school. Back then, it was more of a hobby rather than a career. Before finishing uni, I blew up, something I didn’t expect but I was earnestly hoping for. At this point, it was still more of a hobby but the conviction grew stronger and I began earning from my music. I really loved music as it was a huge part of my upbringing, eventually I became aware that I could actually sing. Professionally, I’ve been making music for about 4 years.

NATIVE: Growing up, your father was a music head and a lover of various genres, did this impact the sound of music you currently make?

PROMISE: Growing up there was music all around me, my dad ran a boutique in my home city. During the weekends and after school, I took care of the shop. Music was always playing, and as I was the one controlling the playlist, I played music that my father always played. All that moulded me into the artist I am today.

NATIVE: Who were some of your earliest musical influences?

PROMISE: I grew up on heavy Highlife music and all genres. Daddy Lumba, Bob Marley, Westlife,Shaggy, Usher, Ne-Yo. I feel like my influences are a mix of various genres mostly Highlife thus influencing the sound and type of music I make.

NATIVE: You had a long break from music, what prompted you to take it?

PROMISE: Honestly, there was no reason. It was over a year where I was mainly concentrating on making music. Beforehand I was touring and didn’t want to rush into making and releasing music. When creating an album, I take 2 years to ensure it is meticulously curated with honeyed productions and that is what I have been doing.


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NATIVE: You are set to release your new album ‘5*’ next month, what has been the inspiration behind the project and what prompted the name?

PROMISE: I began making the project during lockdown when I got back to Ghana after my tour. I got to be home, become closer to family while taking note of my growth in both my romantic relationships and my finances. It is my most personal album as you can note from the released singles which speak of my growth from Boy P to 5 Star. When I started off my career I was under the moniker Boy P, and I am at the point where the public sees my growth. Basically ‘5*’ is a lifestyle, everyone around me is a 5 star. I stand for good stuff and ensure the best standard of music is dished out.

NATIVE: Your recent release “Ginger” revolved around romance, should we expect more of love centred themes in your project?

PROMISE: I am exploring a plethora of topics. The album is very diverse, touching about love, money and definitely a little bragging. “Overthink” and “Iniesta” talk about my journey and where my head is at. It’s just good vibes and energy as I had fun while making my album. I want my fans to experience that same feeling. I want them to feel as if we were together when creating the album.

“I want them [my fans] to feel as if we were together when creating the album.”

NATIVE: Who are the producers involved in the creation of the project?

PROMISE: I mainly worked with Killerbeatz and Guiltybeatz. There is also Jae5 who produced “Ginger”, MOG, Rexxie and a couple of more producers from Amsterdam. I was in the UK for a couple of months so I was working with different producers working on different songs. I was trying to be experimental in the album as I wanted fans to hear different sounds and other side of me.

NATIVE: You have a blend of talent from various continents on the project, have these collaborations impacted the sound of the album?

PROMISE: What I really did was evaluate who would sound better on each song. I wanted to make music that came organically. An example is “Choplife” which I did in London with a producer from Amsterdam. When I got to Ghana, I felt Patoranking would deliver a stellar verse on the song. That is mainly how most of the songs and collaborations came to be. As much as the collaborations impacted the sound in the album, it was still within the vision I had for it.

NATIVE: Which songs on the album mean more now that you’re able to share them with the world?

PROMISE: I have a couple. “Overthink” is the first song I really didn’t write by myself. I had a conversation with Jae5 on how life changes over time. He later on sent a verse written by someone who was having the same issues and he had written exactly what I had written on my side. I just added another verse to what was already done and made it my story. I also love “Ginger,” “How Dare You” and “Ten Toes” featuring Omah Lay.

NATIVE: While making music, what do you want your fans to take away from it?

PROMISE: I am super glad I inspire people because that is all I want to do. I want them to know we are all the same despite our status in society, so they should have a good time and be able to dance in the clubs while being at peace.

NATIVE: What are some of the changes you wish to see in the Ghanaian music industry?

PROMISE: The support. There is a saying that ‘you can break a broom stick but you can’t break the broom as a whole.’ The music scene in Ghana is budding and growing across Africa. We find Ghanaians topping charts not only in Ghana but also Africa and worldwide. We had KIDI receive international recognition with “Touch It”. The industry should see all these beautiful things happening and support instead of picking favourites. The gatekeepers sometimes are ignorant as they are rigid despite the change in times. The artists also have to play their part as it takes a lot of blood sweat and tears to make music.


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Pre-save ‘5*’ here.

Featured image credits/NATIVE