What It Takes To Be A Music Producer in Africa (10 tips)

You’re probably reading this blog post because you want to make hot records, you want to be the person behind the wheel but most importantly, you want to be the reason the track is a hit! So you want to know what it takes to be a music producer.

Sarz on what it takes to be a music producer
Sarz (Nigerian Music Producer)

Look, becoming a music producer nowadays isn’t all that difficult really, all it takes is just some dedication, hard work and knowing some stuff about how music works. That’s it.

Now let’s talk a bit about music producers and beat makers.

Who is a music producer or record producer?

A music producer according to Wikipedia is one who oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer’s music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. In other words, a music producer is one who is involved in the complete creation of “music” working with raw music making components like music chords, drums, instrument riffs and anything we can manipulate to produce “sound”, which ultimately we like to call a “song”, or “music”.

Who Is A Beat Maker?

I’ll keep the definition very brief because there’s really not much to it. So, a “beat maker” basically is someone who creates “beats” singers and rappers vibe to. In other words a beat maker is a “one man band” because he/she composes the entire track.

They’re responsible for playing/programming the drums, keyboard or synth melody, percussion, bass, sampling, basically any sound that’s got to do with making the track work etc. These days, it’s usually done on…

  1. A computer using music making softwares (Digital audio workstations like FL Studio, Logic Pro etc).
  2. A beat machine (like an MPC or sampling keyboard). It’s almost the same thing as a computer. They are just pieces of hardware with their own internal CPU systems.

In 2018, because almost 99.9% of music nowadays is made on a computer, beat makers are mostly referred to as music producers because they currently do the basics of what a music producer or record producer does.

So, now that we understand the similarities between music producers and beat makers I believe we can move on to knowing what it takes to be a music producer.

Note I’m referring to beat makers as music producers in this blog post, you’re free to disagree with me.

Now Here’s What It Takes To Be A Music Producer Explained in 10 simple tips.

  1. You’ve gotta love music : I know this might sound like, “Yes I love music, if not I won’t be bothered about reading this post”. Now let me clarify… When I say “love music” I actually mean, “love music enough to want to know how it’s made, the process, the elements, attention to detail etc”. Note the difference then ask yourself “do I really care about knowing how this song was made?”. If your answer is a slight No or anything close to being a No. You should probably stop reading this post this very instance 😊.
  2. You’ve gotta listen to tons of music : Yep! You need to broaden your musical horizon if you’re ever going to break the barriers of being an average music producer. Take it from me, when I started producing I was totally inclined to hip-hop but I had to diversify to hit creative heights I never knew existed in me, that in return got me more interracial and diversified customers. You need creative ideas each time you work and getting inspiration from different sources and styles of music far from your traditional style would be a huge plus. You shouldn’t be limited by genre, so if you’re a core lover of hip-hop you should probably listen to more reggae, pop, highlife, house music, edm etc. You’ll thank me later for this.
  3. You’ve gotta be tech savvy : uhm, recall I stated earlier that beat makers are basically music producers now and that majority of the music you hear nowadays are made off a computer. Look, it’s 2018, the world is basically all softwares now. What that means is that you need to be open to technological advancements as you’ll be dealing with computers basically every time you work and making music is no different. As a matter of fact, computers have made the music making process very easy to understand and seamless to get into with very minimal effort needed from the user.
  4. You’ve gotta learn how to use a DAW(Digital audio workstation) : This is like the most obvious part right? DAWs are basically softwares designed for making music. Nobody actually makes music these days without a DAW. So you gotta take out time to learn and Master a particular DAW.. There’s tons of DAWs out there that you can choose from. There’s FL Studio, Reason, Presonus Studio One, Cubase, Logic Pro, Ableton, etc. I could go on and on. They all basically do the same thing but in different ways. They(DAWs) all have trial versions you can try out before choosing, so just pick one, master it and make it your favorite. There’s no “best DAW”… They are all equally good. And oh, you can actually learn almost everything about how they work and how to get better at using them on the internet, you don’t need a personal tutor to get good at this. Get tutorials on YouTube, Music blogs etc. (Google is your friend).😉
  5. You’ve gotta learn sound engineering and mixing skills : note “producing” is different from “mixing”. Obviously this isn’t the only path to success, but majority of the top producers you know have some kind of background in sound engineering or mixing. Understanding how the different elements of a song work together “sonically” will undoubtedly give you a stronger foundation for when you’re in the producer’s chair making decisions about how the track will finally sound. The good part is, you can actually get better at sound engineering via the internet. All you gotta do is just read online articles about sound engineering / mixing and you could get better at it. Check out YouTube for tips on audio mixing and everything you have to know about being a skilled producer. There’s tons of tips on the internet. It’s literally how I learnt how to produce and mix music properly.
  6. You’ve gotta be content with whatever music making skill or gear you have : Rome wasn’t built in a day, you don’t need to be completely skilled, have a studio or be in a studio to make hot beats. All you need is your laptop or your mobile phone. With the softwares and apps we have access to nowadays it’s becoming easier to make beats anywhere you are. Look at it this way, if you don’t know how to drive and you buy a G wagon, how are you gonna drive the car? You can’t! So you better get better at making hot beats and music with minimal skill and gear before you worry about making the big leap. With time and constant practice, the skill set needed to go big will eventually develop itself in you. NB : When I say skill set I mean understanding how audio works and “learning how to play a music instrument like the piano, guitar etc.
  7. You’ve gotta develop your own “Sound” : In reality, Nobody really wants to work with a producer who sounds like another producer. Don’t mistake your learning from a particular producer’s workflow to making your beats sound like his/hers. It’s good to learn from others but at the same time, make sure you’re doing you. It’s “your” sound that’s going to make you stand out. So please I need you to to discover your own sound!
  8. You’ve gotta network, build up your circle and maintain relationships : The music business is built on relationships. How you treated someone five years ago can (and often will) have an impact on potential opportunities for you in the future. So, you should definitely get yourself out there, meet people who are deep rooted in the game. It will definitely help you out in the long run. 🤝
  9. Build up your portfolio : When you make good stuff, the good stuff you make should speak for you right? How else would you grow your craft if people don’t have a glimpse of what you’re capable of? You need a portfolio of beats, complete records, sound tracks etc that you’ve worked on in the past to help you grow quickly in the music industry. Mainly because people need optimum confidence in who they’re working with. When they hear how good your sounds are, they automatically want to work with you. So, Build your music producer portfolio online or offline. You can have an online portfolio by signing up on AmplifiHub.com and uploading your beats to the personal online beat store provided by AmplifiHub. You can read more on how you can get a beat store here.
  10. You’ve gotta keep doing what you doing : consistency is key if you’re gonna actually make anything out of creativity. You can’t be creative for a few weeks and go missing for a few more weeks. When you keep doing what you do, you automatically get better at it and customers start to notice you and value your work because of the amount of time and energy they you have invested in it. Just stay in the train. Don’t drop off.. Ever! 💪🏾

That’s basically all that there is to it. You see it’s not rocket science? So go on out there and make that hot record! We’re rooting for you to succeed.

If you got any questions or if you feel I left something out, kindly leave it on the comment section and I’ll be happy to discuss.

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