Clemzy Interview: When I create a beat, I’m creating it with a banger mindset

When Clemzy embarks on the journey of creating beats for artists, he puts painstaking effort into crafting remarkable pieces. Initially starting his career as an artist himself, Clemzy eventually shifted gears in 2009 to become a powerhouse in the realm of a song’s allure—the beats.

Throughout his fruitful career, he has collaborated extensively with notable artists such as Mayorkun, Tiwa Savage, Ajebo Hustlers, L.A.X, etc. Undeniably, Clemzy has established himself as a formidable force in the music industry, with a ubiquitous production tag that reassures the standard ahead of each track.

Clemzy tells us a bit about himself and his journey in the music space, making bangers with L.A.X and what may be ahead for him.

Do you feel producers are acknowledged enough, given how they’re at the forefront of producing smashing hit songs?

I don’t think we’re given enough credit but it’s actually getting better than before. I think artistes and record labels need to do more in terms of giving producers credits. A lot of people don’t know producers when they’re on a song and sometimes it’s not about the tag, it’s about how the artist relates with the producer that lets people know who the producer is, coupled with how the artist talks about the producer.

Your tag, Bring D Heat Clemzy, is very intriguing and exciting, how did you come about it? — former tag, Clemzy on the beat.

I didn’t think about this tag initially to be very honest, I was in the studio one day and a friend of mine came, I think she came back from the UK and I was using one tag like that then, Clemzy On The Beat, it was a funny name. I felt I needed to change it but I had no idea what I wanted my tag to be like, so I just told her to try something, and she’d have to add Clemzy to the tag. She did five different types but I went with Bring D Heat Clemzy because it sounded better and more appealing.

Take us through your journey as a producer in Nigeria. How did you get here? 

Being a producer in Nigeria is hard work, I’ve been in this field for the longest time and when I started, it was in 2009 when I learnt how to make a beat. Since then, it’s been a journey and hustle, I thank God I’m finally here. It’s not been easy though but I’m grateful. In all, my faith was what kept me going because I knew I was good at producing. Sometimes, it felt tiring wondering when I’d finally be in the limelight, but faith and dedication kept me going.

Clemzy

When did you realise producing was your thing as a music inclined individual?

I started singing before I learnt how to produce, I was an artist before I went into production. Then, I’d go into the studio, see the way beats are made and it was fun to me. I liked how beats were laid, and it was a game to me. One day, I concluded the creative part is better and decided to give it a try in 2009, when I started learning to make beats. It’s been joyful and fun, though it can be stressful, I still love it.

Being one of the first Nigerian producers to hop on the amapiano sound, what’s your general idea on the sound and its constant usage in the Nigerian music industry? Do you think there’s the need to temper down its usage? 

The way Nigeria works is when a sound is out there, everyone wants to hop on it. This sound started in 2020 because I was part of the producers who pioneered it. I remember in 2020 when a friend came back from South Africa told me about the whole amapiano vibe and I went to research about it. I listened to a lot of amapiano sounds and created Go Low out of it. But now, since 2020 till this moment, it has still been going and I don’t think Nigeria wants to slow down on it because the pressure is getting werser, everybody wants to make a hit out of amapiano. For them to slow down, it would still take a year or so.

What is your creative process? How do you come about the magic you make? 

Sometimes when I work, I don’t have any artist in mind because when you have an artist in mind when creating a beat, they end up not liking it because it sounds like what they’ve done before. Most times when I’m in the studio, I try to make a beat that can fit anyone, so they feel it. I don’t like putting myself in the box.

What will you say has been your experience working with L.A.X as you are responsible for the production of most of his stellar records? 

L.A.X is a very talented artist, he’s very good and it has been a great experience working with him. When we’re in the studio, we create a vibe from scratch and that’s very important and extraordinary— it gives you more connection. I’ve been working with him for long now and anytime we hit the studio, we create nice songs. You haven’t even heard all of the music we have made together.

When making your beats do you go with the sole purpose of making a hit recording beat or creating something you love and know the artist will love? 

When I create a beat, I’m creating it with a banger mindset— I want it to be a banger no matter what the artist sings on it because my beat comes first before an artist’s vocals. I want it to sound hard and even when I’m making a best, I’m not done even with an artist’s vocals on it. I can already picture the way I want the finishing touch to be like and I put it down on my note, taking note of what I want from the beat when it’s done and until I get it, I won’t leave the beat.

As hard as it may seem, what will you say is your best work till date? With whom did you create this masterpiece? 

All my songs are nice, the progression is inspiring. It’s actually hard to choose, though I think Go Low is one of my favourites, Sempe is also definitely one of my favourites. There’s a song I did for Tekno, on Old Romance, Neighbor. The way I created that beat, I don’t think I can ever create such a song again— it was inspiring and spiritual, I never thought I could make that kind of swing.

Can you describe your approach to collaborating with artists, and how do you ensure that their vision is realised while also contributing your own unique ideas?

When I’m making a beat, I project what the song will be like and how the beat can make a song internationally relatable and likeable. Sometimes, I let the artists come up with an idea and pitch on it. So we put ideas together and come up with something great, I don’t let artists vibe whatever they feel like on the beat, I try to guide them too.

With the way in which afrobeats is getting global and we’re fusing different genres to the sound alongside collaboration with western artistes, do you feel at a point the will be done better than us by the western people?

I don’t think so. When it comes to Afrobeats, it’s inbuilt, it’s not something you borrow and it’s our lifestyle, what we experience everyday. It’s the type of music we grew up with. This genre didn’t just come up all of a sudden, we’ve been listening to fuji, highlife, shekere type of songs and it has been in us and afrobeats is created out of these musical sounds. Even if they wanted to try, they would try it based on what we put out and what they hear. We know where we’re getting the source. It’s like saying we can do hip-hop better than Westerners, it’s their culture and in them. Afrobeat is a culture to us, not just a sound.

Having such a wide catalog of artists you have worked with, what other artists do you look forward to working with? 

I have a whole list of artists I want to work with, both upcoming and well-established artists. I’d like to work with Chris Brown, I like him a lot. As for Nigerian artists, definitely Buju, Omah Lay, cause I haven’t worked with them yet, I feel like we can create something great and I like their choice of music.

Do you have any new projects coming up? Something we should anticipate in the coming months? 

Yes! My EP is almost ready, it’s Clemzy and L.A.X, we’re planning to put it out probably before the end of the year. I’m also trying to drop a song very soon, maybe August or September, with 1da Banton. It’ll probably be my first single before the project. You should expect ‘bangers’ in this EP.

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