How Clemzy is bringing his unique touch to Afrobeats [Pulse Interview]
He has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Mayorkun, Tiwa Savage, 2Baba, and Larry Gaaga.
In this Pulse Interview, Clemzy talks about the road to becoming a music producer, his creative process, balancing art with business, and the potential of becoming a musician.
Journey to Music
For several artists and music producers in the Nigerian music industry, their first interaction with music started from the church where early signs of their talents were spotted and harnessed.
Clemzy talks about starting out in the church, where he learnt to play the keyboard and although he doesn't consider himself a church boy, he credited the church for helping him build his talent.
"I wouldn't say I started making music in the church but that was where I started learning to play the Keyboard in the church."
Aside the church, Clemzy was exposed to music from listening to his mother play different Highlife records which she enjoyed listening to.
"My mother play a lot of Highlife because she loves the music. So I grew up listening to this music and it influenced my decision to started singing."
Growing up in Port Harcourt
Clemzy grew up in Port Harcourt and like most artists that grew up in the oil-rich city, the experiences shapes his creativity. I particularly noted through my interactions with Port Harcourt-born artists that they tend to be very direct, parsimonious with words, very detailed in sexual-related songs, and noticeably witty.
I asked Clemzy what he thinks is responsible for this and he tells me with a cheerful laugh that the city is a vibrant environment that requires its inhabitants to always be on their toes.
"Port Harcourt is a vibrant city that makes everyone very sharp. The boys are always looking for ways to survive and the girls are very smart too."
Venturing into Production
From starting out a singer, Clemzy made the switch to production. From his humble beginnings as producer, he would go on to work with several top artists including L.A.X, Ajebo Hustlers, and Mayorkun.
Having to work with several artists demands that Clemzy retains the ability to deliver across different genres and Afrobeats variants. I asked him how he's able to stay on top of changing sounds and he tells me he dedicates extended lone time to honing his skills and expanding his creativity.
"The advantage of being creative is that you can create anything at anytime as long as you have perfected your skills."
Clemzy narrates that the creative process with an artist involves offering them different beats that cut across different genres for the artists to make their choice. He reveals that sometimes, an artist might require that he makes a new beat based on a reference, and his ability to deliver is largely shaped by his ability.
Creatives tend to have different rituals that put them in a creative mind space. Clemzy reveals that his ritual is solitude in the studio as this affords him the space to concentrate. Unlike many creatives in the music industry, he makes it clear that he doesn't smoke. In place of the euphoric feeling of marijuana, Clemzy prefers the soothing ambiance of cool lighting.
"I like to be alone in the studio because I like to focus on work and the side talks are always distracting. I don't smoke so I just prefer to be alone and I also like red lights."
The Growth of Music Production in Nigeria
Music production has grown increasingly as Afrobeats continues to soar in patronage and global acclaim.
Today, listeners pay more attention to music production tags than ever before in the history of Afrobeats. Similarly, producers are also getting their dues more than ever before. Clemzy tells me that this is a reality that they have waited and worked for.
"I'm glad that we music producers are finally getting our dues because we have contributed to the rise of Afrobeats."
With the business side becoming more serious for music producers, the issue of money sometimes disrupts the creative process and ruins relationships. Clemzy tells me that he tries his best to not engage in business conversations and let his management handle the business.
"For me, when I am creating, I don't talk about business when I am creating or before we even create because it can disrupt it. I try my best not to engage in any business conversation with an artist or their management. I let my management handle the business side."
Becoming a performing act
With Afrobeats on a commercial rise, more music producers are venturing into becoming performing acts. Several producers have found success as musicians, and Clemzy tells me he feels very proud of his colleagues who are showing others that it can be done.
"I'm very proud of these guys making waves in the industry because it's not easy to go from music producer to musician."
Clemzy started out as a singer and he tells me he's not ruling out a return to his roots although he's currently focusing on collaborating with talented artists for his debut EP.
"I intend to drop an EP later this year but before then, I will release a single soon"
The upcoming single features one of Afrobeats' finest talents and Clemzy is hoping to use it to introduce listeners to another part of his creativity.
As Afrobeats is taking on the world, the producers crafting the sound are leaving their shells and offering larger pieces of themselves to listeners and Clemzy is one to look out for.
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