Thursday, 12 February 2015

Zimbabwean award-winning producer, Brian Soko to promote local artistes

Zimbabwean award-winning producer Brian Soko promises to open a gateway for local artistes into the mainstream international top flight music circuit — he said this after he received a trio of accolades at the prestigious R&B/Hip-hop Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) Awards 2014 in Hollywood.

The annual event celebrated the songwriters, producers and publishers of the most-performed R&B/hip-hop songs of the previous year. The awards recognised producers and songwriters of Billboard Number One singles on the charts from the past year.
Brian Soko, Rasool Diaz and Andre Proctor pose for the photos at the recent BMI Hip-Hop Awards
Soko is well known all over the world for his production of the instrumental of the hit song ‘Drunk in Love’ by Beyonce featuring Jay-Z which won him the Billboard’s Number One song as well as the Billboard’s Number One Airplay accolade at the awards.

Soko and his production partners of ‘The Order Production Company’, Rasool Diaz and Andre Proctor, added the last award for the Most Performed Song in 2014 which was ‘No Worries’ by Young Money rapper Lil Wayne.

The producer who spoke exclusively last week said that he is abreast with the local music scene and through his recently launched Anashe Media Group, will be a gateway for Zimbabwean hip-hop and R&B acts to get the much deserved mileage with recognised record labels such as Sony.

“I am very much plugged into the local music market, currently working with producers Simba Tagz of Show Time Records , Shayzar Zimanyi of MixMasters and Tatenda Kamera whose productions are doing well in Zimbabwe and South Africa. “I will be bringing back home some of the new ideas and experience I have been exposed to here. I have family in Zimbabwe so I come down every year actually. With Anashe Media Group, we are building a team and working with some exciting Zimbabwean producers and artists. You will hear about our projects soon,” said Soko.

If there is anyone who has the track record to elevate local acts to international standards it will have to be Brian Soko at the moment as he has a knack of making viral hit singles while signing lucrative deals — something that is not universal with the local industry.

He was in South Africa in March working with multiple artists including Cassper Nyovest to produce the record breaking single ‘Phumakim’ which hit 15 000 downloads in the first minute of release; 200 000 in one day and over 350 000 downloads in a week.

Speaking on his quality control policy which he said is a key thing in music, Soko said each project goes through a severe quality and relevance check before being released which is not the same scenario back home where artists haphazardly release tracks.

“We have a team of three, so we make music independently then combine to review each other’s music and critique each other or improve on each other’s music. We are also very competitive amongst each other and push each other — usually you know when you have a hit track,” he said.

It has been a long time coming for Brian Soko who had to labour for years before being recognised by multi-million dollar record labels in the USA, in fact he has kept his production team since college days as the crew share a history prior to the successful breakout.

“I started making music in high school and eventually went to university for sound engineering where I met my production partners Rasool Diaz and Andre Proctor. We started making music together and improved as a team. We presented our music to a number of labels in LA and New York, it took us a while and it was tough.”

“Eventually we presented to Detail a song writer for Young Money who loved our sound, that’s when we produced on ‘No Worries’ for Lil Wayne and ‘Tap Out’ for Birdman and that was our break,” he said. Zimbabweans are being recognised in the USA music industry and seem to be taking the bull by the horns such as Tinashe, Soko feels honoured to be recognised at the BMI Awards where he is well aware of his competition with the likes of Timberland, Scotch Storch and DJ Mustard. “It is an honour and a privilege to be honoured here, this is a culmination of almost five years of hard work and sacrifice. I dedicate this to everybody who has supported us over the years; my family, friends, business colleagues and my dear friend and brother Kaelou who passed away last month and wasn’t able to enjoy this moment with us. I am also very thrilled to represent Zimbabwe and Africa at this level,” he said. Chronicles
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