"...you really do not have to be a musician to be a producer but must have a very musical ear and creative mind."
How did you get started in the music business?
Hmmm…Music Business? Well, it started a while ago by first of all “MUSIC” itself. I loved music, I would leave anything I was doing to just dance to it and enjoy the beauty of how it was all put together and basically become so in love with it. As I grew older, I began to get interested in the ‘Business’ side of it. From Production to Marketing to Administrative arms of music. So, I really can’t put a date to when it started as it has always been natural for me but I can categorically say it started strongly for me in 2002.
Who are some of the artists you’ve worked with?
Whenever this question pops up anywhere, my heart beats fast because I often forget some names. So, I will be careful to pick on some names without disregarding other artists. Here we go : Wanda Baloyi (South Africa), Abby Godwin (UK), Lionel Petersen (South Africa), Sammie Okposo (Nigeria), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), Donnie McClurkin (USA), Chevelle Franklyn (Jamaica), Lolo (Nigeria), Lulu Dikana (South Africa),Sinach (Nigeria), Darey (Nigeria), Praize(Nigeria), Jamali (South Africa), Phil (Germany), Noel Robinson (UK), Ibiyemi (Nigeria), and many others.
The Nigerian music scene is pumping right now, what would you say is the cause of this upward trend?
One word – ‘TALENT’. So many of them. Even the world STAGE can’t be enough for all of ‘em.
As a producer, what sort of characteristics do you look for in an artist and their music before agreeing to work with them?
a. Loyalty b. Talent c. Vision & d. Ability to hear music differently and in a versatile way!
How important is it for a producer to also be a skilled musician?
WOW! That is a Golden question! Well truth is, you really do not have to be a musician to be a producer but must have a very musical ear and very creative mind, whereby you are able to explain yourself in a simple manner. Such that the session musicians or whoever you need to make your project rock, understands you. But if you are a musician yourself, it goes a long way. Yea!
What’s the creative process you generally go through with an artist before hitting the record button?
Basically, it starts with a series of listening, to find their voice and another series to connect with them (Soul) and then pre-recording to build their image/style.
These days, how important do you think it is for an artist to try and secure a record deal?
Erm, not very important anymore as the world has become a global village. There’s internet almost everywhere and serious music fans simply go online and download whatever songs they feel they love for a fee (more like $0.99 or a bit more per song) and other avenues as well. Like shows, concerts etc. Although what artistes really need to secure is a Distribution Deal, because “he/she who is a Debtor (Artiste) is indebted to the Debtee (Record Company) for as long as the debt T&C’s are stipulated for! So, I say “Don’t be greedy, get a distribution deal instead of a record deal.”
Are independent, unsigned artists in Nigeria experiencing the same level of success as artists who are signed?
Oh! In all fairness, I will say no & yes. No, because in Nigeria if you are not well packaged, you won’t make great headway. Networking, coalitions, collaborations in the Nigerian music industry is KEY to the growth of any artiste, signed or unsigned. And yes! Truthfully, very few artistes here get signed. And there are also cases of unsigned artistes doing well for themselves. Just because they have an in-depth intuition about what the music biz is all about.
If you could dramatically change one thing about the African music industry, what would it be?
It will be to change the way Music Producers are being relegated to the back when the Artistes they helped become successful, get corky and arrogant, forgetting their start-off point. It is a widely major issue in Africa. I sum it up in one sentence “lack of loyalty” to one another.
I noticed you’ve been bouncing between Lagos and Johannesburg quite a bit, is their perhaps something in the pipeline for Doxology Music?
Hmmm. Yea. Doxology Music is now operational in Lagos, Nigeria as well as Johannesburg, South Africa. With lots of projects in Lagos, Nigeria for this season though. It will be tagged ~DXMedia~ and we will deal with many facets including importing and exporting of talents to and from Lagos/Johannesburg and other places outside Africa!
Who are the artists you currently working with?
Various artists. One of them is PRAIZ, second runner up on the hit show “MTN Project Fame West Africa“. Also PITA who is another fantastic singer and many others including some projects involving some of the various top artistes Nigeria has to offer. Also, some upcoming acts! Hint: found a very talented young boy. We are recording.
What do you see yourself doing in five years from now?
Learning they say never ends. I will still be learning. Hopefully, by then I’ll be helping many talents realize their dreams and also help make music in Africa a force to reckoned with!
What has been the greatest moment of your musical career?
The day Universal Music South Africa gave me the first ever producer’s contract to produce an artiste for them. I almost fainted! I walked into the office of the overall boss and as if that was not enough I was dragged to a meeting with the overall worldwide boss of Universal Music in a secret venue in Sandton, Johannesburg. I almost passed out. I was humbled and realized that in life, you can be all you want to be.
Interviewed by Ryan Coetzee
Images courtesy of juicyafrica.com, lyricspond.com, tiashauntee.com, foluwasade.wordpress.com