2 February 2013

Rwanda: Producing Stars

Junior Klein a.k.a Higher Level is the resident producer at Mega Records Studios in Nyamirambo. In a chat with Moses Opobo, he revealed his musical roots, and why he likes Rwandan music...

Starting out

My musical journey kicked off in 2003 with the Eagles Productions band in Kampala. It was from here that I learnt to play all musical instruments, beginning with the keyboard. It took me about one month of intense practice.

Within a year, I had started to learn production. I used to compose tracks on keyboard and master them, but had no knowledge of computer. It was a gentleman called Big 4 Real of Green Grass studios in Kampala who taught me the basics of computer. After about a year, I quit Eagles Production and joined Rays Band in Mbarara as an instrumentalist. I also part-timed at El Shaddai Studios as a producer.

Turning point

In 2006, I left Rays Band to join Ugandan singer Ragga D as his personal producer. That year, I produced two full albums for the artiste; Ngidida and Oyagala Cash. The following year, I produced another album, Gwoje mukyalo. In the same year, I produced Jose Chameleone's Ekinuma single.

Working with Chameleone

He (Chameleone) had a programme with producer Paddy Man of Dream Studios, but Paddy got too busy. Chamelone wanted the album out quickly to go with it to the Big Brother Africa show in South Africa where he had a performance. He personally came to my boss Ragga D and asked him to loan me to him.

I loved working with Chameleone because he knows the keyboard very well, so when working with him, he gives you hints and plays for you exactly what he wants. You share and marry ideas. I think that is why his music is different.

In 2008, a Bishop took me to work for him at Embassy Studios in Mbarara, where I worked for two years. In 2011, I went to Baghdad Records in Kampala, where I worked till I came to Kigali.

Joining mega records

All my life, I've dreamed of living and producing music in Rwanda because the music here is more melodic than that in Uganda. So when Kayitare Wayitare Dembe invited me to work at his studio, I grabbed the opportunity immediately.

So far, I've produced about 20 songs in all styles, mostly by upcoming artistes because I believe in building raw talent.

We produce a song at Rwf50.000 but since most artistes are poor, sometimes we make special considerations basing on one's potential. On average, a song takes about four days to be mixed and mastered.

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