While we have praised the artistes behind some of the most popular hits, the people who put the music together, the producers, are rarely noticed. Emma Ikwap highlights some young producers who have put together some of our hottest tracks.
It is the producers’ duty to make sure they make beats that match the voice and song of the artiste. In the 1990s, Uganda had just a few music producers, but currently we have more than 50 –some well-known, others yet to be discovered— producers who have got different instruments at their disposal. In just a few years, the music industry has seen a rapid rise of young music producers. Since they are normally behind the scenes, they are rarely recognised. However, some of their work is so good that the songs they have produced have been nominated for BET, Club Music Video Awards, MTV Africa, and so many other awards. Below are a few of them:
Ronny Lutaaya aka Crouch
This soft-spoken man produces different categories of music ranging from mostly Reggae to RnB, and others. Born on April 25, 1990, the first song he produced professionally was Pressure Ya Love by Walden and Chosen in 2011.
He improved his skills and knowledge on production by observing other producers and hanging out with people in the music industry. Crouch first worked with Dream Studios, owned by Paddy Man who has done most of Jose Chameleone and Iyn Namubiru’s songs. He says Paddy Man used to start on a song and then let him complete it. It is no wonder that he praises Paddy Man for having passed on his skill to him.
Crouch later left Dream Studios and joined Bobi Wine’s Fire Records. He then had a short stint at Gong Studios. Around this time, he went to Harmony and Visual Institute, in the Netherlands for a four-month short course in music production, honing his skills. He currently owns Jeeb Studios in Lugujja-Mengo.
He believes that besides himself, Paddy Man and Benon of Swangz Avenue are the best producers in Uganda or even East Africa. His best production is Paddy Man’s Proud To Be Africa done by All Stars because of the instrumentals. Crouch says the best artiste he would produce music for is Mariam Ndagire because of her soft voice. His latest hit is Rema’s Kukaliba and Kenzo’s Kamunguluze.
Some of the songs he has produced include:
Oliwange by Rema
Kabirinange by Bebe Cool
Kukaliba by Rema.
Cinderella by Nince Henry’s
Kisumuluzo by Diana Nalubega.
Kamunguluze and Ongedankuzisa by Kenzo
Arnold Bungamuzi aka Andy Muzic
Born on May 27, 1990, Andy has been in the music industry for only two years. He is widely known for the current hit song Love Portion by Rabadaba and Don MC.
He owns Buddies Audio Studio, which is situated along the Kiwatule-Naalya road. He is also signed under Buddies Events, which he produces music for. His song Whine It, which features Big Trill won the Best Use Of Technology award at the Club Music Video Awards.
To learn production, he did a lot of research on the Internet and visited music studios often to learn the skills he was reading about. He was first recognised when he produced Solatido which featured Bakri and One Moment by GNL Zamba and Leila. He believes he is one of the most competitive producers in Uganda because he has attracted many big names to his studios. The best production in Uganda so far according to him is Nash Wonder’s Ekyama, performed by Radio and Weasel.
Andy’s best Ugandan producer is Micro Finger who produced songs like Ompalula by Fantom Lovins and Clothes Off by Michael Ross. He says besides other musicians, Fille is one artiste he enjoys making music with.
He blames the first artistes in Uganda who didn’t recognise the people who produced their songs and the producers too for never standing up for recognition. However, he acknowledges that today’s musicians recognise producers in their music, which is a really good thing for them.
Where Have You Been At by Fille.
Bwase by Mun G.
Love Portion by Rabadaba feat Don Mc
Solatido ft Bakri
Yes Yes remix by Don Mc ft Mun G
Enock Kubeerwa aka Nash Wonder
Barely two years in the busines, Nash is already proving to be tough competition for his counterparts. When the Goodlyfe Crew dropped Washington, it is to Nash Wonder’s Entebbe-Nyanama’s Monster Studios that they went. His latest songs are Ndabirawa by Goodlyfe, and Hellena by David Lutalo.
Born on December 31, 1988, his debut was at UNCC Records, a government owned studio, where he worked for few months till last year when he opened his own studios. He says his target this year was to capture the whole of Uganda and his prospect for next year is to go international. One of his dreams is to produce for the likes of Wiz Kid, P Square and many more international artistes.
Listening to his work in progress, Let’s Connect by Radio and Weasel featuring Sizzaman, it is not hard to imagine where he gets his confidence about going big. Everything Nash Wonder knows about music production was through mentorship by Kingsley, who Nash believes is the best producer in Uganda. Kingsley is the producer behind songs like Missing You by Bebe Cool and Rema, and Jose Chameleone’s Better Than Dem.
Nash stresses that had it not been for Kingsley, he wouldn’t be what he is today.
Asked about the artistes he would produce good music for, Nash mentions the Goodlyfe Crew and Khalifah. He is well known for producing RnB and urban dancehall, though he says he can do all kinds of music that comes his way.
About staying in the background, he says: “I believe patience pays. I know time will come when I will be recognised.”
Magnetic by Radio and Weasel
Ekyama by Radio and Weasel.
Ndabirawa by Khalifah
Gyayo Ntekeyo by Ziza Bafana
We Are Their Problem by Khalifah ft Iryn Namubiru
Joseph Mwima aka JUST JOSE
Born on August 8, 1987, Just Jose is a hip-hop music producer and sound engineer, who started producing music professionally in 2009. His first widely-known song was Ability by the Goodlyfe Crew featuring Rabadaba.
He did not come by his training at an institution but was tutored by one of the pioneers Henry Kiwuwa and also learnt from Benon at Swangz Avenue. Before opening his own record studio, Dustvile Records Studios in Ntinda, Jose first worked for Swangz Avenue. What got him into producing? “One word”, he says, “talent.”
The producer says the song he enjoyed producing most is The Whistle Song by All-stars, which won in the Best Collabo and Best Hip-hop categories at the 2011 Buzz Teeniez Awards. He says it came out well, was widely loved, and it raised him to the top.
The Ugandan producer he thinks is the best, is hip-hop producer Aethan of Aethan Music because of songs like 808’s And Heartbreaks by hip-hop group Airport Taxi.
Jose is currently working on what he promises to be a hit song, Commando, which he thinks will become international. The song features Navio plus the Goodlyfe crew. Among artistes he hopes to work with is Fille.
When asked how he feels about not being as widely recognised as the artistes who perform the songs, he says, “I’m not looking for recognition. Good work never goes unnoticed. We are producers not celebrities. It also depends on what one is looking for.”
To aspiring young producers, he advises: “Be creative and always aim at standing out”.
How We Do It by Keko, which won in the Most Gifted East African Video category at the Channel O Music Video Awards.
Ebintu by Mun G.
Kwekunyakunya by Vampino
Whistle Song by All stars, which won the Best Collaboration and Best Hip-hop song awards at the 2011 Buzz Teeniez Awards.
Bwondekawo by Radio and Weasel.
Alex Lugwana Exopheal aka EXXO DRUMS
He is a new dancehall and ragga producer who first worked with Jah Live Studios, before opening his own Makindye-based studios, Wizard Order. He however, admires Moz B of Fenon Records, the producer behind Juliana’s Kanyimbe music album. The talented lad was born on May 11, 1987. He began music production in 2009 and he is commonly known for his Tebakusobola hit that saw Yung Mulo rise to fame.
Although he can produce music beats for various artistes, he believes Cindy would be an artiste he could produce great music for because of her powerful voice and music style. He gives credit to producer Washington for his amazing instrumentals on the Nawewe hit that was performed by Cindy. He says he did not get any specialised training from an institution but just got music production ideas from the Internet and from watching music producers doing their thing.
Exxo’s latest hit is Nabbambula by Daxx Kartel. He believes for one to become a music producer, they should not aim at being famous very fast, but should wait for their time. They should put their heart in what they want most and time will come for them to be in the clouds.
Tebakusobola by Young Mulo
Woman of my life by David Lutalo
Beat Ewunya Nyo by Daxx Kartel ft Tip Swizzy
Magic Town by Arnold Stan
Ekomera by Virginia
Anthony Ssewaguba aka Aethan
The talented hip-hop producer born in June 1, 1988 learnt his skills on a laptop. He says he used to produce beats from secondary school through university with his colleague William Wasukira. His debut was in 2008 when he produced The Myth’s I’m So Ug.
Aethan actually produces his songs in his room in Kisaasi and then takes them to other studios for voicing. He gives his respect to Sam Lamara who produced Air Ug by Klear Kut and Winner by The Mith, and Just Jose for their good instrumentals when producing hip-hop songs. However, he feels that the best song ever produced in Uganda was Benon’s Mr Dj track that featured several artistes.
Among all the artistes, he has worked with, he says Navio is the best: “It’s so easy to work with him because every time we get to work, he sings like a new artiste who is anxious about whether he nailed it.” That is why he produces most of Navio’s songs.
He advises those who wish to join music production to do what they want to do, but also finish school for wider knowledge. His latest song is 808’s And Heartbreaks by Airport Taxi.
Fire by the Myth
Nawuliranga by Navio
Leka Kwenyumiriza by Navio
Ngalo by Navio
Shutting Down Towns by Flex D’Paper
808’s And Heartbreaks by Airport Taxi