Friday, 27 October 2017



Who is a music producer? A music producer is a one who carries many feathers on his head. One who is musically sound. One who is multi-talented and mostly a multi-instrumentalist. Sometimes, a vocalist. Do you really want to become a music producer? This is not a job for the lazy at all. On top of it all, your knowledge of music has got to be epic! As a music producer, you are expected to be able to oversee the entire music production project which certainly demands that you possess the following skills:
*Song writing
*Music directing
*Performance and voice instructor
*Artiste management
*Promoting and bunch of business skills!

More recently, more is demanded from a music producer as he/ she has to put in optimum effort to ensure for the all-round success of the artiste. Indeed as the saying goes, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. The producer is the king/ queen of any music production project and the outcome of the producer’s input will determine the extent of the success of the project.
Still on the producer’s skill set, I discovered during my training in the United Kingdom for my Masters in music production at Leeds Beckett University, (by the way, I am the very first African woman to obtain a Masters in this field – bragging rights…lol), the requirement of a good knowledge of music theory is also paramount. You have also got to be a good scientist! You would be dealing with sound waves and their effects, which is an aspect of Physics, a most dreaded secondary school subject! Let me not cause a scare here. Lol. Physics is actually not difficult. It’s just like any other subject. Once you study well, you will get a grip of it.
Ok, so back to the producer’s skill set. As a wannabe producer, you must be ready to sit in one place for long hours. I remember spending two nights at my school’s studio during my final project. You should also be a good negotiator, as you may even find yourself lobbying for shows for your artiste. Most producers in Nigeria, take the game further by learning to mix and master. I am sure a lot of you here are good at this. This is just the reality of things in Nigeria. Although in very big projects with hefty sponsorship, experts in other fields are brought in for a highly professional touch.
Let me use myself as an example. I am also a singing teacher, artiste groomer and performance instructor. I gained different experiences at different stages of my life. I function more as a vocal coach these days because more and more artiste are getting to find out about that ‘Vocal Coach’ who just landed from the UK. So I have worked with three artistes who are doing pretty much well now: Dee – Z, Stephanie Ghaida and King Bernard. They all took voice lessons with me amongst countless other singers as can be seen from my social media handles.
A producer’s work is indeed huge, tasking but interesting and fulfilling. Do you want to make it big as a producer in Nigeria? You need to get ready to unlearn and relearn. The job is highly professional, therefore, you need patience, determination, hardwork, consistency and persistence to pull through.
This is the way to go if you want to become a successful Naija made music producer:

*Enroll to study music: It is shocking that up till date our tertiary institutions do not offer music production as a course despite the proliferation of music producers and studios in the country. But not to worry, all you need do is hook up with local music schools like Lee Ellie Music School, Tenstrings Music School and others, to get trained in singing and keyboard playing (you need this knowledge badly); plus any other musical instrument that interests you. Also enroll to learn some music theory. You won’t regret this at all. Take a course in songwriting if you can. Then, most importantly, enroll for the music production course proper. At Lee Ellie Music School, you can cover the course between 4 – 6 months but you need to have your own set up at home for personal development and to carry out your assignments. You can also seek outside the shores of Nigeria for this training, just like I did.

Ensure you are copyright protected: You want to ensure that you register with a copyright organization to protect your intellectual property. Your personal work which sprung out from you creative efforts must not be left without protection as it has the capacity, ability or potential to earn you serious money. We have the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) which you can join for free by supplying a few requirements like photos, valid identity card and filled application form. This will ensure that you receive royalties and your work does not get stolen. COSON will take a list of your work and negotiate your earnings from them on your behalf.

Set up a recording studio: A studio is the hub for recording activities and a reference point people associate with the professionals in the industry; so you want to invest in setting up one, even if it means starting small. As you improve in your skills, you will attract the big shots and that will facilitate the expansion that you have always dreamed of. Don’t wait for anyone to validate you! Start a studio. The experts you see today were once beginners.

Show up in music industry events: If you are not social, you will find it quite challenging to achieve your aims as a music producers. You need to hangout where the artistes are so that you can be relevant. You must be actively involved in contests, live shows, parties, etc., where you could meet top players in the industry, who can avail you the connections and exposure you need to make it in the business. Print a business card and have it handy as you socialize. You never can tell who you might come across!

Be active on social media: I cannot over emphasize the importance of social media. It is a very important ingredient in the mix of requirements. Open a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Soundcloud and the list is almost endless! Pick a few of them that serves your purpose and connect to the world with them. Post your studio activities for potential clients to see. Upload your music and make money online also.

What do music producers really do? Producers have multiple roles that may include but not limited to:
§  Artiste grooming and management
§  Coordinating recording sessions
§  Promoting the musician and music produced.
§  Signing an artist to a record label.
§  Manning project logistics and budgets
§  Putting ideas together for the success of the project
§  Selecting songs for a recording project
§  Promotion of artiste and music
§  Recruiting session musicians
§  Coaching and guiding the artiste in the studio for excellent vocal delivery
§  Supervising the entire recording project from song writing/ arrangement to final mix

Is music production a profitable profession?
In Nigeria for example, the number of music producers that have emerged in the last 20 years have really proved to show that our music industry is buzzing with money-producing activities. So many music schools are opening up music production departments following the huge success achieved by big names in the industry like Don Jazzy, Sarz, Masterkraft, Cobhams Asuquo, and Wole Oni.
More and more youngsters are emerging and enrolling for music production education. You can only imagine the number of studios springing up daily. This is a huge sign that the music production industry in Nigeria is a big earner! So in what ways do music producers earn? What do they do to attract all the bank-breaking amount of monies we read and hear about? Read on.

They make beats, instrumentals and sound tracks for artistes, movies makers and companies.

They hire their studios to bands and artistes for rehearsals and recording sessions.

They receive royalties for the online download of their works.

They sign on artistes to their record labels and receive commissions from record sales.

They receive a percentage of income from gig deals of their artistes.

They receive money for being brand ambassadors to big companies.

When invited for a live show, they are paid for appearances.

Most of them are judges for music competitions. They also make money through this means.

Some producers run a music production academy where they teach for a fee.

Depending on their expertise, according to world statistics, well recognized producers earn up to N10,000,000 (ten million naira) a month!

In conclusion, it is not at all difficult to become a producer in Nigeria. It only demands that you have an insane love for music and sound. You also need to develop good musical ears and multiple musical skills. You will also need a little bit of audio engineering training. You also need to develop social and diplomatic skills as you may be dealing with a lot of people and companies. Computer, IT and Internet skills are a must! To really succeed in the business of music production, your patience must be really patient and your passion for music has to generate the kind of heat that can be felt by anyone who comes around your space! And lastly, remember, it is not like the 9-5 kind of work, you have to be ready to put in your best round the clock! Consistency, skills development and the right connections will bring the molla for you!

If you need guidance on how to become a music producer or on how to develop your music production skills, drop a comment below. Also if you want to hang out with other Nigerian music producers, and exchange skills and knowledge, send a request to join them in this group:

Laura Etemah
Music Producer/ Vocal Coach/ Performance instructor/ Music teacher/ Star Quest winner, 2006.