Interview
Image courtesy of Killbeatz.

Interview: Killbeatz' Short & Sweet Debut EP, 'Love and Happiness'

We speak to the renowned afrobeats producer about his joint Love and Happiness EP with King Promise & Ofori Amponsah, and his daughter's inspiration behind the project.

Killbeatz needs no introduction. The producer born Joseph Addison is one of the biggest hitmakers as far as afrobeats is concerned. From R2Bees to Sarkodie to FuseODG to M.anifest, Killbeatz has blessed your favorite singers and rappers alike with the soundtracks to their biggest hits. From the azonto era to the global spread of afrobeats, his contribution to African music as a whole cannot be overstated.

However, Killbeatz' influence doesn't stop at just music production. Behind the scenes, he's a complete industry player. The CEO of Ghanaian record label Legacy Life Entertainment, he's responsible for bringing star singer King Promise to the limelight.

Despite producing for the crème de la crème of the Ghanaian music industry as well as several international artists over the length of a decade, the highly-influential producer and instrumentalist never had a project of his own. Now he has set out to change that. In October 2020 Killbeatz dropped his debut EP, titled Love and Happiness.


Love and Happiness is a joint project, a collaborative effort between him, singer King Promise, and legendary Highlife singer Ofori Amponsah. It's a brief affair, just four tracks long, but it represents the best of two worlds—classic Ghanaian highlife and contemporary afrobeats. Joey B, Sarkodie, and Darkovibes also make appearances on the project, balancing out the old school vibes with that present-day feel. The entire project was recorded in a single night, but you couldn't tell just from listening to it alone.

We sat down with Killbeatz to speak about Love and Happiness, the creative process behind it and more. Check out the interview below.

Killbeatz, King Promise, Ofori Amponsah - Odo Nti (Official Video) www.youtube.com

So what inspired this project?

Just as the title depicts, love and happiness inspired the project. I had my first child recently. She has brought me a lot of happiness and she is my love, hence the title Love and Happiness. The project was inspired by her.

What made you decide to make your first EP a joint project, instead of your own solo project?

The project actually wasn't planned. King Promise and I had already made "Odo Nti," and we had invited Ofori Amponsah over to work on the song. He came over to the studio, and we made magic in one night. We recorded the whole project that night.

It must have been gratifying to be able to work with and produce music for a legend like Ofori Amponsah. How did that make you feel?

I have been a fan of him for quite a long time, and admired him right from when he broke out into the Ghana music scene. I'm actually very happy for the chance to work with him.

Image courtesy of Killbeatz.

What was the creative process of making the EP like?

So we had invited Ofori Amponsah to come do "Odo Nti.". But when he came we happened to work on all the other songs on the EP on that same night. I played him some beats that I had ready, and he liked them and vibed to them. I play the beats and then he goes in to freestyle, and then that's what we have now. Nothing was forced. It was just positive energy around us that night. It was great.

Tell us about "No More".

"No More" is a great tune. On that one I sampled Ofori Amponsah's "Dabebi", which is a classic highlife tune. It came out perfectly.

What's your favorite song on the EP?

Actually, my favorites keep changing. I love the whole project. I'll say all the songs on the EP are my favorites.

What should we expect next from Killbeatz?

I actually have a lot of things in the works. I'm planning on dropping an album, and also working with more international artists. There's a lot of dope stuff in the pipeline, so stay tuned!


Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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