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Ibadan

#StarsConnect: “It’s One Thing To Enjoy Music; It’s Another Thing To Make Money From It” – Record Producer T-Piano

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You are welcome to Stars Connect Network, a Subsidiary of Jetheights Services. Stars Connect network is a programme that brings together entrepreneurs, business owners, inspirational speakers, pastors, and leaders in the society, upcoming artistes, NGOs, people giving back to the society and the world at large. We conduct interview sessions to find out everything we can about their journey to stardom, we hope to bring together stars who can be of benefit to one another and who can synergize with Jetheights in other to impact the community. Once again you are welcome to Stars Connect.

Could you please introduce yourself to the StarsConnect Community?

My name is Temitope Olugbode, am a native of Ibadan, Oyo state, west Africa, Nigeria, basically am a record producer, am a full time multimedia person, it’s just production alone, am into other multimedia aspect of the business too. I’m a christian, am married.

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Record Producer T-Piano and 2 of his companions at Jetheights Reception

How was your childhood days like?

I grew up like a normal child where you have to go to a school, I attended Ebenezer African Church School, which happened to be the start of my education, and from there I went to 2 secondary schools because of change of locations, I went to Awarusam at Eleyele, then the other one Eyinni High School at Orita Challenge for one or two reasons. Basically, when I finished from there I had one or two options, I had to decide what to do next, which course of study to choose, when your parents wants you to be a lawyer and you want to be something else, I wanted to be a musician, not someone that will just stand on the stage just carry microphone and start to sing, someone who really makes music, I don’t originally find it easy with my parents but after sometimes they had to let go, I had to conquer a lot of battles. Then, I don’t have good grades in my SSCE, I had to resit for another examination that gave me a leverage into the higher institution. I attended St Andrews College first in Oyo town, which was where I started my music career full fledged because I had to do music education there and I was trained to be a music teacher because if you really have to teach someone you have to be taught because you have to teach people, basically that was what I went through. After that, I had to do a lot of professional examinations and certifications because it depends on how far you are going as a person in life which will determine the amount of study you are going to do. When I finished, I discovered I needed to do so much of research into my business because as at that time when I was rounding up in college, I saw it as business already because I wasn’t ready to be a music teacher teaching in one school and that will just be it, what I was having in mind was just to have a music conservatory where people can come to learn music, to teach people to sing and play different instrument. We started producing music for people, we take them to studios. There was this friend of mine, he’s a Liberian that wanted me to have my own production studio then but I was still in school, I was preparing for my exams but it was still on my mind, but he refused he said I have to do it and till date we still taking stuffs from here and then, we still have training to do here and there like in the year 2017, something big is coming up.

 

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Mr. Olusayo welcoming T-Piano to Jetheights Services

How did you get started in the music and entertainment industry?

I first started as a producing artiste, people will come and pay me for services that was rendered for them, make their instruments ready for the studio with the engineers, we make music, later I discovered I could actually put my efforts together and make it more meaningful. Initially, I don’t have a computer system because I could not afford it, somebody brought a system for my brother from Dublin, he just told me, go and pick the system in my office and start using it, I was so happy because before I could buy a system then sold for N150, 000 which I couldn’t afford, so that was the start of it all. The use of software was not so rampant in those days, we started working with some of them and the Liberian friend of mine I talked about called me over. Actually it didn’t start like a business, it started like a play, guys will come around, we will play some of the instruments, after some time people will call me for the same thing I was doing for free. When people started calling me, we want you to do this for me, I was like, and could this be true that it’s because of what we are doing that a lot of people are coming for, we started making music for people, they come in, we will play and by and by, we started getting some music marketers to say we discover that you make music, can you work for the artiste to produce a compilation of album, songs and the marketers will give it to us themselves. It’s one thing to enjoy music; it’s another thing for you to make money from music, when I started making money from music, it wasn’t time consuming to me. I started with a lot of guys around me, the likes of Opeyemi Awolola, Porta, Michael Johnson, they were in my church, and we make music that was how the entertainment thing brought some light. We started it and before we knew it, it became something that the whole City started celebrating. We started buying gadgets and before we knew it the whole thing grew to a big Iroko tree.

How did you come about the name T-Piano

It’s very simple, when I was in the College my major instrument was piano because as a music student, you major instrument, you have minor instrument and my minor instrument was guitar. When I started my journey into the entertainment industry, I just coined the name from what I do, since my name is Temitope and I play Piano, so let’s call it T-Piano.

What does a digital producer do?

Basically, Digital happens to be an improvement on the analog because people who really wants services might not be able to tell you the differences, but it’s those of us who are into the business that can tell them the difference, some say they are comfortable with the analog, some say they are not comfortable with the analog, they like the digital. Basically, what a digital producer does is that he puts his computer to work because initially most of the instruments we use in the studio are not computerized, some of them are digitalized but not all are computerized. As it is, it’s an improvement on production but not only production, every form of production and entertainment now make use of computer, so everything has gone digital. A digital producer will simply make use of a digital machine to make music. Now, with your computer you don’t need a lot of guys to make instrumental for your music, home videos, films or events, you could actually make music from your laptop digitally, just make use of applications.

 

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T-Piano with Mr. Ayo Alex Alao, CEO, Jetheights Services Limited

In your opinion, what classifies as a good mix and a good master?

It has a lot to do, when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. Basically what I will say is great sound recording is just a totality of sound making, because anybody can make sound, but to make it quality is another thing. Right now, with the use of computer and digital machines, when your music has noise, it can be removed with the digital machine depending on the kind of noise; we have wide noise, all sort of noise depending on the mistake while recording the sound. Music is meant to be enjoyed, that’s why it has to be properly done, a great sound recording is an attempt to make music enjoyable, whether vocals or music, it’s just to make it pleasant to whoever wants to listen to it. A good sounding recording is not just something you will do for no purpose, for instance, if you are recording sounds for a movie, the way you do such recordings is quite different from the way you do music recordings. You are using that to score a movie, for instance if you have to shoot a movie, the use of audio equipment set alongside cameras is becoming rampant now especially in digital world now because everyone wants a clear recording. Right now, we can properly digitalize it then process it before we send it to the camera.

Do you work solely as a producer or as an engineer?

Actually, in Africa, you find one man doing a four man job, basically I have impromptu recordings and sound to make, in that kind of situation, I have to function as the producer and the sound engineer. But it makes the work a lot easier when we have a sound engineer on seat and a music producer, if you want kick, neck, you can easily send for the sound engineer and tell him you want kick, and you can fix the creative aspect of the job, but in a situation whereby you are the only one thinking of how to choose instrument, how to structure the music, it may be a whole lot of work for you but it’s something one could actually do. Sometimes I produce when I have people around, then most of the time; I prefer to have the control over the idea of the whole profession, in that process, I record, I make the sound, does some arrangement and so on. What makes it easier for me is because I have made it a lifestyle, it’s no more work for me because almost everything I do is music, it’s recording, it’s digital, it’s multi-media, I think along, as am here right now, I still have so many other things am thinking about.

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Record Producer T-Piano having a chat with Mr Ayo Alex Alao, CEO, Jetheights Services

In your opinion, what classifies as a good mix and a good master?

Good question, the reason is because this has really became a problem for many of our musicians in this side of the world, because we have a lot of people that are not professional, who don’t look into details or who don’t make their recordings really good, you find some of them using cameras that they don’t know about, some of them at the start of the music, they will ask you, baba have you mixed it, I’ve not mixed it, and we’ve barely made the instrumentals, so the mixing does not come in now. Mixing has to do with the frequency of the music; we have the high, mid and low frequencies. Talking about mastering, it’s the totality of all that’s put into a particular production that makes it come out well. In a situation whereby you have your volume low, mastering helps you boost all these frequencies at the same time they are still levelled, no frequency is higher than the other, that’s when you have a good sound, it makes your music more pleasant for people to listen to.

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How many of the artistes you work with are able to match live what they’ve done in the studio?

I can’t say but right now on my computer in the studio, I have more than 164 artistes have worked with, some are not even there, I have worked with the likes of Pato ranking, Reminisce, Fabulous Pizzy, Porta, a whole lot of them. I’ve worked with reasonable number of people, but am more comfortable working with people that are not that popular, people that are just coming up because it is with them you could actually experiment a lot of good ideas but with the popular ones, they don’t really have so much of time to experiment and do some kind of creativity, what they have is what they bring, there’s not much time to really talk and mix but for the non-popular ones, we have the real target, we sit down and talk.

 

 

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Record producer T-Piano with Mr. Olusayo during the interview

How do you value studio time?

Studio time for me is a time of enjoyment because I enjoy what I do and it meant be work for the artiste coming to the studio to sing but for me I value it because it’s another time for me to enjoy what I do and it’s no more work for me, it has become a lifestyle. I like to make everything comfortable for me so that both I and the artistes that come into the studio enjoy the moment so that we can have a good working time.

Where do you find most artistes that work with get their funding?

A producer should not really help with the funding, whereas people should pay for studio time when they come to the studio, basically you come to the studio and pay for the services rendered to you, you are paying for the technicalities involved in the making of your project. The best we can do the upcoming artiste, though they don’t have the money but they still have to pay because music is not for poor people, if you have to make recordings, music and the likes, you need money, we just try to reduce the cost of production minimally to a price that won’t be too much for them to afford and at the same time that will also allow us to take care of their project. That’s the best we do, we don’t help with funding.

What else do you bring to the table besides being able to record and produce?

I train people, for instance I have a media school where we teach people the art of sound recording, how to do it professionally, we need so many professionals in our music industry, if we are asking for a great industry, we need great hands to be able to manage those talents, that was what gave birth to T-Piano Media School, we basically teach people to as producers, sound engineers, as video editors, fully fledged cameramen to handle whatever project and so on.

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L-R: One of T-Piano’s companion, T-Piano, Mr Ayo Alex Alao, CEO, Jetheights Services and the other companion of T-Piano

Imagine, you and your team are presenting a project to your client. The client is unhappy with the work, starts to become aggressive. The client raises their voice at you and your team. What will you do?

Music is not meant for people that are not knowledgeable, we hardly have this kind of situation because when you bring a project to us, we want to know what angle you’re coming from, if you have an idea you want us to put in your project, we will settle all of that before we start the project. What makes a project professional is when you mix your idea as a technical person with the person bringing the project not when you lock your idea over them, that’s very wrong, that’s the situation that will create a fight.

Share the challenges you’re facing in this profession

When we talk of challenges, people always think of money, though it’s part of it because in a situation whereby you as a producer have a client who actually has the money to pay for the services you want to render to him but he cannot properly define what he wants because we have a lot of them like that coming around, they believe once I have the money I can control professionals, but what we try to do for them is know the angle from which they are coming from, once you speak, we have an idea of where you are landing, once you land, we will try and repeat it the same way you’ve given it to us, do you mean this is what you want, if he says yes, fine, then we commission your service. We document every project when brought in and when executed. In other situation, the talented ones come into the studio but cannot afford studio time, these are one of the greatest challenges we have in the industry and if less professional people come around and they have the money, eventually it’s going to tell on the venture output because the industry just like building a house with broken bricks, you will build a house but it will take some time before to get to a reasonable level where your project is going to be appreciated. In this kind of situation, they don’t allow us come out with our best because when they don’t know what they want, how do we satisfy them and everyone of them sound like they know what they want but in the course of the production, you realize they are really confused. So we have a lot of non-professional people posing to be professionals then it affects the eventual output. Then we have the issue of piracy, it has eaten too much into the industry that people can’t really say this is what gains are on this particular project, and if you are not sure of your gains, you will be skeptical to invest into it because your investment will be very nice and very huge because you know you’ve gained so much but in a situation whereby you’ve spent millions on your project and what you are getting is less than what you are putting in there and there’s someone out there who has stolen your idea and he’s making too much money than what you’ve even made from your project, that’s an angle the government needs to look into.

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T-Piano, Mr Ayo Alex Alao, CEO, Jetheights Services with members of staff of Jetheights

What other producers, songwriters and/or artists do you see as your primary inspirations?

 There are a lot of producers, and artistes that inspires me as a person because I as a person because am like a father in Music, what I mean by a father as a producer, whether you started today or yesterday, you are a father in music, because you are bringing music from different culture. Any kind of music inspire me as a producer, I listen to all kinds of music, so it’s hard for me to say it’s this one that is inspiring me, I still have a few of them, people like R-Kelly, he’s a good inspiration, because he makes very music, I listened to one of his interviews when he said he makes at least one song in a day. The likes of Timberland, Mixed mix, Tumipidril, those are lovely people, the only thing I will just say is in this side of the world, the music of Africa, we can’t say its original itself because more of what they do this days is more on infusion, we infuse more of the Western feel into the African culture which we call the Afro, so when we say we have hip hop in Nigeria, we don’t just have hip hop, we have Afro hip hop. These are the people we pick ideas from. In Nigeria, i have the like of Don Jazzy, late OJB Jezreel, he makes beautiful music and some African young guys that are not even popular but makes god music.

What is the most rewarding part of being a producer?

 The rewarding part is the fame and the popularity i get when i go out, for instance shopping and the owner is like, is this all you want or you need more, pick more. It makes me joyful when i get to know that i affect people. How many homes can you go to but once you make one music and it’s played on digital radio, and many benefits from it, that’s a plus for me.

Do you have advice for young people who want to become pop music producers?

Just keep your head straight, that’s the only thing i will say to young people because most of the distractions will have this days is facing what you are not supposed to do. Don’t spend most of your time in the clubs. This days many of our up and coming producers always think that the bulk of the time should be spent in the club, all those are just fake life, the real life is when you sit down and make good sound. If you spend bulk of your time in clubs, how much of your time are you going to spend creating your own sound that will really sell you to the outside world. Just focus on what you need to do.

Phone Number – 07032253466

Instagram – Tpmstudios

Address: We have annex in Lagos, Port-Harcourt, we have in London but basically the one in Ibadan is at Lister building, Ring-Road.


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