Wednesday, 17 July 2024

Why Producers Become Great Artists [A-T Editorial]

In music production, several players in the field oversee and contribute to the success of a song. Yet, the music producer and artist are saddled with the utmost responsibility in the hierarchy. When the artist develops an idea for a song, the producer ensures that the vision is enlivened. Like a coach sees to the efficient performance of their team, producers are the backbone of every song, nurturing the artist’s idea from beat making to recording up until mixing and mastering.

Cover Photo (Pheelz, Tekno, Young Jonn)

Producers have foresight and can aid in making functional decisions that can influence perfect results.  These indispensable roles of the producers in music production have often raised conversations on what has appeared to be a sidelining from as much fame as the artists themselves. In most cases, there isn’t any to begin with.

The truth is that producers and artists are like two peas in a pod. They are uniquely different but also similar based on their crucial contribution to the music creation process, which is why it is not uncommon to see either person leaning into the role of the other. 

Over the years, several Nigerian producers have seamlessly transitioned into artists and impressively, great ones. Sitting at the top of the list includes Mavins record label founder, Don Jazzy; an ardent producer and one of the earliest pioneers of modern Afrobeats, Ckay; the brain behind the production of MI Abaga’s Your Father and Dotman’s Tonight.

The list continues with Tekno; a seasoned artist who also produced Davido’s If, a global hit that played a role in setting Afrobeat on an international scale, Maleek Berry; the Eko Miami star behind the production of several hit singles including Wizkid’s The Matter, Wande Coal’s Baby Hello and Runtown’s Lagos to Kampala. And more recently, Pheelz, Young Jonn and Lussh; the skilled producer of Kizz Daniel’s Madu, Mayorkun’s Bobo and Peruzzi’s Nana.

Pheelz is popularly known for the phrase Ridimakulayo, his producer trademark on every song he has produced caught the part of the internet who were new to his performing side by surprise with his single, Finesse featuring Bnxn in 2022. The snippet quickly spread across Tiktok and in no time, became a hit. 

Pheelz is a successful music producer and now a full-blown performing artist with a thriving career. 

On a similar note, Young Jonn known for his production trademark, The Wicked Producer transitioned in 2022 with the release of his debut single, Dada. 

Young Jonn has since forged a flourishing career in music recording, trademarking the word, Jiggy.

The Pheelz and Young Jonn transitions happening in the same year drew attention to the producer-artist path and possible reasons why producers sometimes forge the path of music recording.

Plausible reasons would be firstly, a need for change and a thirst to do new things. Humans are constantly on the edge of evolution. It is an innate quality as nothing ever stays the same. While this is a valid point, a couple of other human factors influence these decisions, some of which have been identified in the music industry to be a response to the unsatisfactory recognition of producers considering how crucial the role is in the final product of a song.

Producers deserve more accolades so that in cases where one decides to switch the game up to music performance, it is solely a matter of choice and not of survival. Having established plausible reasons, another question always arises; why are producers good artists? 

Pheelz and Young Jonn
Pheelz and Young Jonn

There’s a popular quote: coaches don’t play denoting that the masters of the game don’t often participate in the game themselves. They usually work behind the scenes, which for obvious reasons is true, but on a reflective note, what happens when coaches decide to play?

A coach is well-versed in the game’s intricacies and knows how the necessary rules can be inculcated for victory—likewise, the music producer. Producers are conversant with the criteria for making great music. They understand the in and out and everything in between, placing them ahead.

Transitioning after years of experience and fine-tuning songs justifiably gives the balance required for successful music performance. That they’ve been coaches for a long time is enough reason to be seasoned players as well.  This coupled with individual artistic prowess answers the question.

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