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Nessim, making hits at just 21

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AGE DOESN’T MATTER:  Nessim is the producer behind some of the current hit songs including most of newbie A Pass’ songs. As far as former education is concerned, he reached P.7, but he has more than five year’s schooling in music production thanks to his big brother renowned producer Tony Houls, writes Isaac Ssejjombwe

Everyone knows you as a producer, but who is the Nessim we don’t know?
My name is Isma  Mukkuza. I’m the last born in a family of three children, born to Mr Suleiman Njuba and Ms Resty Nalukwago and I’m 21 years old.

Tell us about your production journey?
I started as an artiste, backing up upcoming artistes. My big brother Zubail Lusambya is a producer, so I started learning Frootyloops, a computer programme that most producers use from him. Later, I learnt Logic under the tutorship of  Tony Houls at Fire Records. When an opportunity availed itself, I joined Badi Entertainment as their main producer in 2013. I was just 19 then.

Why then didn’t you continue singing?
I went for something more beneficial to me. I became so good at production, yet in singing, I was only a backup artiste. But singing and production go together. Because of my singing knowledge, I have become a better producer.  For example, if an artiste flats, I can notice because of the knowledge I have and can find a solution to it in production.

You said you are just 21 years old. How does it feel being that young and artistes are running to you to produce their music?
I feel privileged, but I wouldn’t say it’s such a big deal. What really matters is what one is able to do, but not how old they are. I love what I do and associate with everyone.

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Take us through your daily routine …
I wake up at 9am, wash up and head to studio to finish up the work I left unfinished during the night. I then start on the daily programme of recording artistes, following the schedule of who booked first, and that goes on throughout the entire day. I cook beats and when I’m done, I merge them with vocals and master songs.  I usually retire at 4am. Sunday used to be my day for resting, but I now have  to work half day because we are getting more clients of late.

Guys your age are either at campus or in S.6, but we see most of your time is dedicated to work. Why don’t you go to school?
My education background isn’t much to talk about. I was only able to study up to P.7 and after that, my dad couldn’t afford to pay school fees.
Do you have any plans of going back to school at one point in your life?
I don’t think so, but never say never. I’m not complaining at this stage of my life because I have a well-paying job and I have been able to deliver massive tracks for various artistes.

Talking of earning big, how much do you pocket at Badi Studios?
I earn 50 per cent on every song I produce and that works well for me.

What do you use that money for?
I want to invest in something important, something I have always wanted, but the money isn’t yet enough. I’m still saving, though I can’t tell the public what it is.

Are you in a relationship?
Not yet. I’m still looking around for the right person.

Who is you ideal woman?
Someone God fearing, principled, down to earth, humble, beautiful and understanding.

What don’t people know about you?
I’m very principled and respect all people whether they treat me well or badly.

Do you have any regrets in life?
Yes. I had a good friend of mine who died in an accident. We were so tight that up to now, I wish he was here to see how far I have come and to share the glorious days with me.

Take us through the music production process?
After an artiste has cleared the studio fees, I listen to his composed song, formulate the beat, we record the vocals, then I tell him or her when to pick the song because I usually have to put in more work to make it a fine song.

On average, how many artistes can you work with on a daily basis?
I usually work with three artistes, but I can work with a maximum of five a day.

How long does it take for you to complete a song?
That depends on the programme I have, but if I’m free, I can do a song in just one hour, and it will be fully composed with beats, instruments and mastered, ready to hit the airwaves.

Many producers have favourite styles they are comfortable doing. What is yours?
I produce all genres and I believe there is no style in music. A good producer just has to fuse whatever he can get his hands on, then formulate something new, that is why I sound different on every track I have done.

What is the best song you’ve produced?
There is something new in all my songs and I love them all, but there is this one particular song that can’t get off the back of my mind called Walinyambye. It is special because I sang and then produced it.

Which popular songs have you produced?
Oli Mbuzi by Don MC, Ntunga by Radio & Weasel, Maze Okwetegeleza by Radio Weasel and Maro, Tulikubigele, Am Loving and others by A Pass, Broken English by Gravity, You Know by Rabadaba and Lydia Jazmine, Apaana by Geosteady, Everywhere I Go, which is the latest from Bebe Cool and so many others.

Who is the best artiste you’ve worked with?
Everyone is good and talented in their respective ways. I take everyone the way they approach me.

Do you play any instrument?
I play a guitar and piano. I taught myself.

What do you think is lacking in Uganda’s music production?
Ugandans think they know everything, yet we still have a lot to learn and there is room for improvement and creating something new.

What were your top five tracks last year?
Tulikubigele by A Pass, Forgotten by Sizza alongside the Goodlyfe, Gwabise by Nutty Neithan, Am loving by APass, Cindy and Don Mc and Shake Your Body by Kenzo and Tip Swizzy.

Tell us about your future plans.
I‘m trying to create a legacy that will help me go international. I want to become Africa’s best music producer and when I achieve that, I’ll start tutoring other young producers to become the best.

NESSIM AT A GLANCE
What are you afraid of?
Snakes and grasshoppers.
What pisses you off?
Hypocrites.
What makes you happy?
Seeing everyone happy.
When did you last cry and why?
When I was seven, my brother beat me up because he called me and I refused to go to him.
When did you last fall sick?
When I was eight years old.
What type of phone do you hold?
HTC One.
Favourite food?
Rice, chapattis and meat.
Who is your best friend?
A Pass
Best advice?
Always keep quiet when someone annoys you. My dad told me that.
Favourite colour?
Black.

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