Ozedikus Nwanne, the Nigerian producer, has continued to make waves in the Nigerian music scene. From being a passionate young instrumentalist at church to creating unique sounds and producing music for big names in the industry, Ozedikus, born Igbinoba Osaze, is a testament that talent and hard work pay off. In this interview with TheCable Lifestyle’s Deborah Bodunde, the Edo-born music producer discusses his upbringing, inspiration for music, challenges in music production, and future plans. He talks about following the blueprint of Don Jazzy, Mavin Records’ head honcho, as well as plans to have his own label. He also mentions his upcoming debut album and his desire to work with Drake and Kanye West.
TheCable Lifestyle: What was growing up like for you?
Ozedikus: I was born in Benin City, Edo. I grew up with my grandparents in Edo state. I started schooling there too and I was probably around 8 years old when I came to Lagos to live with my parents. I grew up living in Lagos and started schooling in Lagos. We were living in the military cantonment. My dad was a soldier and that was basically where I grew up. We moved to other places in Lagos before we finally moved to the permanent site basically.
TheCable Lifestyle: At what point did you realize you wanted to create sounds and make music?
Ozedikus: That was around secondary school, JSS or so. I was introduced to a man in my church. He was the keyboardist and piano player in my church. They wanted him to teach me because his stay was kind of temporary so they wanted him to teach me how to play the piano so that I can be the official pianist of the church. That was when I started learning how to play musical instruments and I was in secondary school, around JSS 3. After some time and I’ve learnt to a certain level, I met some friends who were into music production, they were artistes. This was around 2015, my friend took me to the studio to play the piano for his beats because he’s a producer but he doesn’t play an instrument. I was contracted to play for them as a pianist. That was when I discovered that I like making music and thought it was interesting. I started learning around that time in 2015. That was when I started diving into music production.
TheCable Lifestyle: What was the inspiration behind your interest in music?
Ozedikus: I didn’t really have an interest in music until I started learning how to play an instrument. When the interest started coming I started playing gospel music. It was mainly gospel music that put my interest in music into me. Over time when I started going to the studio and seeing how the process of making music was, it became more fascinating to me than just playing music. Playing music is like you’re playing what someone else has already created. Creating music is creating something from scratch, from your head and that was more interesting for me. That was why I gravitated towards that creation. The inspiration behind it was basically gospel music. It was the church that inspired me to start doing music.
TheCable Lifestyle: What would you consider the most challenging aspect of music production?
Ozedikus: The most challenging aspect of music production for me is trying to come up with something new every single time. It’s almost as if there are no new ideas anymore. For you to come up with something that does not sound like what you’ve done before or what someone else has done before is a constant challenge. You have to keep having new ideas, new content. Sometimes this makes me step away from music creation for maybe a month or so just to clear my head so that new ideas can probably come in. That’s my single most challenging thing about making music. Trying to come up with new ideas because if you do something that sounds slightly close to what someone else has done, you can be sued. So you always have to be sure that what you’re making is original enough to be considered your own work so that you don’t get into trouble. It’s a struggle.
TheCable Lifestyle: You’re launching a website for your beats, how does that fit into your career plan as a producer?
Ozedikus: I’m launching a full website that would house everything from beats to other things that would be coming up like a masterclass, all kinds of things. Everything will be on the site but currently, it’s just the beats side that’s still in the works. The rest is still under construction but hopefully, before the end of the year, it will be fully unveiled. It’s still under construction at this point but every form of service I offer from making beats to mixing, every form of service that I offer currently will be available on the website. It will make it easier for people to contact me and reach out to me for any service they might need.
TheCable Lifestyle: Have you ever had a time when you disagreed with an artiste during production?
Ozedikus: Yeah it happens. Not every session that I go to results in making songs. Sometimes I go there and end up coming up with nothing because I and the artiste couldn’t align our ideas and come up with something. It happens sometimes. Not every time I work with an artiste that is productive. Some sessions are just like that where you go back and forth on one thing and in the end you just lose the vibe. It is part of the job, it’s part of what is expected from the job.
TheCable Lifestyle: As a music producer, what makes a hit song? How do you know if a track would do well?
Ozedikus: I feel like you don’t really know what’s a hit. It’s the fans that choose what is a hit and what is not. You can spend the whole year on a song trying to perfect the song and you drop it and the fans don’t feel it and it doesn’t become a hit. It doesn’t mean the song is not a good song but not all good songs are hits and not all hits are good songs. Some songs will hit because of the time it was released and the trend at that particular time. A hit song is dictated by the market and the audience is the market. When I try to make songs, I just make a song that I like and is good and let the people decide if it’s a hit or not but you also have to promote. The promotion also plays a role in making a song a hit. If it’s well promoted to the right people because every kind of song that you’re trying to make has a target audience. So if you can get your songs to the right audience that resonates with the song, it could be a hit. But you can’t really tell a hit song when making it, you just have to do your best and let the people decide.
TheCable Lifestyle: How would you describe the impact of Amapiano on Nigerian music?
Ozedikus: Amapiano has really influenced Nigerian music. For a year or two now, if you go to the club or any party it’s definitely going to be Amapiano. When you’re thinking of any fast-tempo song now it’s Amapiano and obviously Nigerians will find a way to fuse it with our Afrobeats. That’s how new genres are formed. All genres are like a fusion of different existing sounds together and I think Amapiano is here to stay. It’s going to continue fusing with Afrobeats until it becomes something different eventually. It has a strong influence on the Nigerian music industry at this point now. Influence drives creativity. In a few years from now, people will come up with a new combination of Afrobeats and Amapiano that could be considered a new genre. It’s a good thing because the more Amapiano is being mixed and fused with Afrobeats it will come up with new interesting combinations and some new sounds.
TheCable Lifestyle: What is your favourite part about being a music producer?
Ozedikus: My favourite part is to see people’s reactions to my work. When I do songs and produce songs, you’re never really sure how people would receive it so you just hope that they like it. When you start seeing their reactions, and how people perceive your work, it’s fascinating and kind of interesting. Sometimes I just go on YouTube and search for reaction videos to the songs I produce and see how people react to them. It always gives me a sense of motivation when I see the comments and the way people respond. I could see where I could be lacking and anywhere people might have complained I could work on that part. I think that my favourite part of being a producer is when I see how people respond. When I go to a club or party and they play a song I produced and I see the way people are vibing to it, it gives me a good feeling.
TheCable Lifestyle: Tell us about your deal with Mavin Records
Ozedikus: I don’t have a deal with Mavin, we’re just family. I used to work with Crayon back then, so it was through Crayon. We did a song back then when we were still living on the mainland and someone from Mavin heard it and they invited us. They were looking to sign Crayon, which was around 2016 or 2017. That was when I started mingling with Mavin, living in the same house and working too. It was Crayon they had interest to sign but obviously being Crayon’s producer I had to also be with him. I personally don’t have a deal, contract or anything like that with Mavin. I’m just part of the family. I have access to the studios and I could work with the artistes at any time. They were part of the biggest push that got me this far in the industry so I’m 100% grateful to Mavin. We’re just one family, a contract doesn’t bind us, it’s just loyalty and love.
TheCable Lifestyle: Would you consider a different career path in the future?
Ozedikus: I wouldn’t say a different career path but definitely investing in other areas to get other sources of income. That’s definitely on the table. Every other career option I’m looking into has ties to the music industry. It might not be creating music, I might tend to gravitate more towards the music management and executive side of music, less on the creation part but it is still tied to the music industry. Investing in real estate and trying other businesses, definitely but not making a career out of it.
TheCable Lifestyle: What is your long-term goal in relation to music?
Ozedikus: Basically I’m following the blueprint of Don Jazzy. One day I end up having a label of my own and having my own artistes. To become a full brand and not just be known as a producer that makes music for artistes. Also, have my own structure and have some artistes to work with. If you look at my career path from the beginning till now, I’ve always been more interested in new artistes than big artiste. Every single artiste I worked with till I became known in the industry was new artistes that were unknown before I worked with them. When I worked with Crayon he was an unknown artiste then he got signed to Mavin and I did his first project. Rema too. When I and Rema worked, it was his first project. They were both new artistes who became very big and successful. I tend to gravitate towards new artistes that are talented. So definitely I’ll be looking to have a label that recruits young and talented artistes that don’t have a label or a sponsor. I’ll be willing to invest in those kinds of artistes. I learnt a lot from Mavin. I saw how they worked with new artistes, they were there for a long time till they became stars. So definitely I’d love to do something similar.
TheCable Lifestyle: What project would you consider your most ambitious at this point?
Ozedikus: For a project yet to be released, currently I’m working on an album. I haven’t really disclosed much about it yet but I’m working on my debut album. I featured a lot of my friends, people I’ve already worked with. Talking about the ones that have already been released, that would definitely be Rema’s first EP.
TheCable Lifestyle: Who was/is your favourite artiste to work with?
Ozedikus: I don’t think I have a favourite artiste to work with. I think it just depends on what we’re working on at that particular time. Most of the artistes I’ve worked with, I really like. Working with Crayon is like the chemistry is just there. The first time Crayon recorded in the studio I was the one that recorded him. We have known each other for a long time so the chemistry is different. It’s the same thing working with Rema. Most of them I’ve worked with are just too talented. Working with talented people is just my favourite thing. I’d rather work with a talented artiste that I really love their music than work with a big artiste that I don’t really like.
TheCable Lifestyle: Who would you like to work with?
Ozedikus: In Nigeria everybody I would love to work with, I already worked with. Some of them may not have put the songs out yet but most of the people in Nigeria that I want to work with, I already did. Outside Nigeria definitely people like Drake, I would like to work with Drake and Kanye West. They are people that I’ve had so much interest in since the beginning of my career. So if I get the chance to one day work with them, I definitely will.
TheCable Lifestyle: Who inspires you?
Ozedikus: My source of inspiration switches from time to time. Drake and Kanye definitely inspired me. Kanye especially because he was stronger on the producer side back then but now he’s more of an artiste. I used to go online to check his production videos on YouTube. Kanye definitely inspired me a lot back then. Currently, my inspiration depends on the people around me at a particular time. Months ago I was in Rwanda and I met some new guys, they’re new artistes and new producers. They’re extremely talented and their sound is different. That has been my source of inspiration for weeks now. But as time goes on, I’ll still meet new people and have new experiences.
TheCable Lifestyle: How do you balance your work and personal life?
Ozedikus: I definitely do a good job because my work life is tied to my personal life. I’m a strong introvert and I almost never leave my house, my entire life is in my house and so is my work. I live with my family and my siblings. My family is always around me. My work set up is basically beside me when I wake up. It’s like a room studio. My work life and personal life just sync well and I’ve never had to compromise one for the other. The way I set it up makes everything balanced.
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