SheHUB Ghana: I almost gave up on music – Gospel singer Piesie Esther shares her inspiring story

Breaking the glass ceiling in a male dominated space is by no mean a small task. It can be herculean and often times, tiring when you do not have the needed support to pull through.

At a point, you may just want to give up. However, you remember the adage that “quitters never win and winners never quit”.
But you persist until you reach your gaol and plan to surpass it.

This is the inspiring story of Ghanaian Gospel artiste, Piesie Esther.

Born Ohemaa Esther into a devoted Christian family, Piesie started singing in church in the late 1990s. In 2002, she released her debut album, which made waves in Ghana, indicating a promising career.

But her poor economic background almost brought that bright career to a dead end before it could properly blossom.
“My first album came out, then for financial reasons so I couldn’t come out with any song again. I was finding it difficult,” she tells recently.

While growing up in Mampong Nsuta Atonso in the Ashanti Region, her peasant farmer parents could barely make ends meet. And so, they were not in any position to support her financially when she mooted the idea of venturing into music.

Thankfully, the church and her pastor were there for her, providing the necessary financial assistance to produce her debut album.

After the release of that album and the impressive showing that it made, Piesie needed heavy investment to push her career further.

However, this was beyond the church and her spiritual leader’s capabilities.

So, she went out scouting for an executive producer to partner with.

But that search was a wild goose chase.

She says although many patted her on the back after listening to the unreleased work she was not making any progress.
“In fact, we went to many producers but unfortunately, they all turned me down.

“What they were me telling was that the songs were good but the market was not good so ‘,why don’t you do it yourself’. But if I could do it myself, why would I even come for help?”

More than six years after the release of her debut album, Piesie was still unable to produce another one.

But she kept faith, believing that if she strived harder, she would catch the attention of the investors.

“It took seven years before I came out again with my second album, Me Nte Ase. That album put me in the limelight,” she shares.

With this prominence in the music scene and her melodious vocals, Piesie was certain that there would be a mad rush to invest in her career.

But that was her in her wildest imagination.

Though the album earned her nominations at the 2009 Ghana Music Awards, no one showed interest in signing her onto a record label or putting money into her music.

So, she carried her cross all alone with little support from the church and her pastor.

But the task became so backbreaking that she contemplating throwing in the towel.

It was, however, not an option since she had no other skill or trade to rely on for her survival if she had quit music.

As a result, she stuck to the music, releasing a number of albums.

The songs on these albums got lots of airplays, cementing her career in the industry and fetching her numerous awards.
However, she did not make much financially from her flourishing career, mainly because of the absence of a management team.

As a result, she was making the name but not the cash.

And it got to a point that, she could not bear it any longer: “I was about to throw in the towel. Because things were not going on well for me,” she remembers.

However, her pastor friend encouraged her to keep going.

“He told me that I shouldn’t give up, who knows maybe what I was going through at the time, someday, it might turn to be a testimony that I will be sharing with a lot of people so I should continue praying.”

And that was a prophecy that has come to pass.

Piesie celebrated her 20 years in the music industry in 2022 with the release of ‘Wayε me yie’.

That song became an instant hit. It gave her the attention she needed and afforded her the opportunity to grace all the major music platforms.

She is more than a star now and so, when organizers of the most prestigious award scheme in the country, Charterhouse announced the list of nominees for the 24th  Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, it was unsurprising that she bagged seven nominations, coming second to only hip hop star, Black Sherif.

Her nominations have solidified her as a household name in Ghana. Many tipped her to win the coveted award, Artiste of the Year.

On the award night in May 2023, she walked home with two awards including the Gospel Artiste of the Year and Gospel Song of the Year for her hit tune ‘Waye me yie’.

Although she lost out on the ultimate, industry players say she gave the winner, Black Sherif a run for his money and made the conservation around this year’s edition of the event lively.

Through the turbulent times, Piesie Esther persevered and has duly been given her honour at the table of success.
She offers these words for young women, no matter where they are in the world, who are struggling to make it in life.

“If you want to win, or you want to be successful in whatever that you’re doing, you have to be focused and believe in yourself and I know with God, all things are possible. So I will encourage them that God has done it for me; who knows, maybe, it’s your time. God, the one that did for me will do it for you, so they shouldn’t give up.”

Subscribe to Piesie Esther’s YouTube channel here.

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