Go-to-Producer, Kaywa, talks to enewsgh.com about making stars out of nothing, the changing trends of Ghanaian music, and how to survive the industry after that one, hit record.
What’s have you been up to?
I am putting up an ultra-modern recording studio, we taking the music to another level. It on a global scale now and we have to put up structures that can handle the work that will be coming out. It’s evident that our music is out there now and we have to work harder than we have ever done to keep it up there.
The trends keep tilting from one main and sub-genre to the other. Dancehall is quite popular now; your take on it?
The changing trend of the music is good and it’s healthy for the creators and the listeners of the music at the same time. Every other trend we have witnessed thus far came with its own excitement. Palm wine to High life, then hip life came to hijack urban radio, then crank, and then Azonto, Alkayida and the industry is still in motion. The trends in motion is good for the industry in the sense that it keeps opening up the industry and introduce new talents and skills set to us and the music never gets boring.
I think it’s good but at point we need to be careful with the lyrics we put into our recordings, Dancehall is trending now and the artistes feel the need to say certain stuff to ignite certain feelings which will not help the industry. An industry should be about creativity to entertain and not to incite people; it’s a business with people and should have boundaries for it to benefit us the creators and the fans.
Ghana music is everywhere now, the new generation including Fuse ODG, Sarkodie, Castro and the rest have taken the music out there massively, wherever you travel now, when you mention Ghana, you can use certain names and terms from our music to give the people a clear picture of who we are and represent. It has marketed the country in different ways. Commercially it’s working well for us and it sure will get better.
You are noted for a good number of hits. What’s the secret?
Most of the artists I have worked with record with other producers they feel produce well but almost all their hits are done by me and it’s because there is a strategy for making the hits that only a selected few understand.
The strategy is taking a lot of time out and research the artist you are working with. It takes a lot of work to be able to win producer of the year at the Ghana Music Award back to back considering the number hits other producers churn out in one music year.
Take a look at all the artists who burned out at certain times in their career, I brought Asem back with “Bye Bye”, I re-introduced Buk Bak to the Ghana Music scene with “Kolom”; I have a way of bringing them back, it’s a solid way of doing things that many don’t understand. God inspires us all and we also have our own plan on how to approach the music.
I have a plan for every artist who walks in to record a song, it’s not a one size fits all approach production, you don’t just take an artist who has been cold for a while and introduce them to the trending music hoping they are going to blow because it’s the order of the day, you have to consider their past works, their abilities vocally, and I look at the present condition you the artist find yourself in and the music trending and we create a piece of work that will cut through all the noise.
Who makes a record, a hit. Artist, producer or the consuming public?
The listeners enjoy what you have done as a producer, it starts from the producer, a very good producer is not just responsible for the beats, a very good producer cares about how vocal takes are, how the songs should be mixed and all that. A producer is responsible for almost half of the hit making process because the final work the listeners hear, it the final output of the producer and if they really like and appreciate that piece of work that much, then the producer has done something right.
As someone who has worked artists who have made hits before, you should know how to sustain one’s market share. How can that be achieved flawlessly?
I tell every artist I work with at some point; you can never be on top forever. The industry doesn’t work that way. Once you hit the top, find ways of sustaining it and look ahead. Don’t think you have arrived when you get to the top off the ladder, check history; history has a huge story to tell. People made hits, smash hits and we thought they were never going to go away. Years down the line, they start struggling for attention. When you are a hit now, you need to find strategies of sustaining it.
Artists are not consistent in putting out hits like producers because I for instance have to put a strategy down to attack every piece of music I create, you don’t have to make it seem like it’s a drill, you have to have an approach for every song you want to make, but you realize that an artist makes a big song, and all of a sudden everyone is making songs that sound like that hit song. And the same artist is also caught in the same cloud that if he makes another record that sounds like that, he is going to be hot.
An artist should not rest on that one sound that worked for him. But whiles you are dabbing your hands in many genres as possible, make sure your brand is not diluted, that point where people don’t know what category to put you into. If you are a hiplife artist and you choose to do a hilife record, let people still feel your hiplife brand in the sound somewhere.
What’s makes a great album?
Good quality songs, makes great quality albums, if I listen to an album and I realize the sound quality is bad, song is not trendy, lyrics weak, obviously then it’s not a good album. Albums should speak to people’s heart, it should inspire us. I mastered Sakodie’s album and I love it, it talks to you.
It’s just like building a photo album, you don’t put the same kind of pictures in album, and there are pictures of you and others at different times and places. Every other picture has a background story. The album should come with variety.
Some more plans?
My record label is running full scale now, and I am working on Levelle London and Capricorn now. Levelle London is breaking grounds in the UK and has even opened shows for Omarion and a couple of artists and Capricorn is a French rapper who has a strong grip on the Twi language. Ghana music is growing and we shouldn’t kill it with our selfish interest, we should also realize the only time we will be respected is when we focus on quality and not quantity.
By: Abdullai Isshak/Enewsgh.com