Producer Speak: How Masterkraft makes hit records

Nigerian music producer Masterkraft returns on Coke Studio Africa season 4 and has been tasked with producing three musician pairings.

He says: “It’s a pleasurable experience to return to Coke Studio Africa. Last year on season 3 we were creating mash ups and on this [Discover] season we are producing new tracks. It’s more inspiring for me this season to produce artistes from more countries.”

On the fourth season of Coke Studio Africa; on top of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Mozambique – the show now includes artistes from Ethiopia, Togo, Ghana, Cameroon and Ivory Coast.

The renowned producer talks about the secret of making it big and making a hit record: “There was a time when it was all about the song, now it’s about the hype and this means that artistes need to spend more money on shooting videos and creating lasting visual effects. Producers [on the other hand] need to educate their minds with hit songs. You also have to be very humble at heart and keen – any additional instrument can add a lot to the song.”

“Take risks. Sometimes I wear my Timberland boots and take a carton to press down on my feet so that by the time I finish recording that sound - it’s something heavy and [unique] – nobody else can take that sound.”

Masterkraft is also a DJ, recording artiste, band director, pianist and a songwriter. He says of his versatility: “I don’t rely on software when I think - I just make sounds to create anything. It’s like sound design. In my mind I am always imagining how to create new sound. I can use two spoons to achieve a sound that two knives or keys wouldn’t produce and then all I would need to do is tweak it.”

Masterkraft’s personal projects also include producing his own songs featuring other artistes. He says: “I realized that as a producer in Africa we keep on producing for artistes but sometimes we can get phased out – we can’t last forever. Because I am blessed to have hit songs and [the fame], I was prompted to start DJing and owning rights to songs I produce.”

His second solo song, Finally, featuring Flavour and Sarkodie has been nominated for Best Collaboration at the 2016 AFRIMMA Awards. He has also been nominated in the category of Music Producer of the Year at the same awards. Masterkraft has been largely influenced by his piano playing skills and love for jazz music.

“It’s a big advantage for a producer to play an instrument,” explaining how his career began.

“I didn’t think I could be a producer to start with. I started off singing Jazz in church and along the lines I realized that I could play the piano and produce music. Artistes started to approach me, and as they say the rest is history.”