One of Nigeria’s best exports is undoubtedly its music. Within the past decade, Afrobeats has taken up more space on the world stage, and the country has produced some of the most recognisable figures in music.
Behind those talented musicians are equally talented producers who are the backbone of the sounds that have captivated the world.
Andre Vibez or Alexander Uwaifo is one of the producers shaping the music coming out of the country. He is the sound maestro behind Ladipoe’s new hit single, ‘Feeling‘. The song was released in May 2021 and within a month, has garnered over 800 000 streams on Spotify, over 500 000 views on YouTube and charted number 1 on the Apple Music Nigeria Charts. This is no mean feat.
The record is Uwaifo’s best performing song even though he is a tenured producer that has worked with the likes of Omah Lay, Crayon and Yung6ix. Speaking about how the track ‘Feeling’ has changed things for him, he says, “The song is different because it’s going really far out. The love and the reaction that I have been getting from it has been massive. It’s put me on another pedestal in the industry. Since the release of the song, I’ve been getting more jobs and followers than ever. People are paying attention to my stuff and to what I do. I just know it’s different because it never used to be like that before. It seems like I have been underrated for a while, so I consider this song my big break.”
Obviously talented from the start, Uwaifo started producing in 2005 when he was just 16 years old. He picked up the basics fairly quickly and experimented with R&B before delving into Afro-pop and Afrobeats. The Lagos-based producer started off as a musician and would make songs for small-time artists to earn money.
By 2012, he had transitioned to being a full-time producer. But in between that and earlier on, Uwaifo has had his fair share of struggles, many of them common amongst artists. Some challenges included dealing with being underpaid and/or being expected to work for free, alongside the heavy costs of music-equipment. All this could have made breaking into the music scene seem impossible. But Uwaifo’s determination helped him overcome the obstacles.
“The industry is tough and doing all of this, you have to spend money. Considering how the economy is, it’s harder to promote yourself. It’s consuming financially which can make it difficult to crack into the industry,” explains Uwaifo.
He shares that in order to be successful in Nigeria’s music scene, producers need to be talented, be able to network and have a plan. “If you know what you’re looking for and if you know what you’re doing, then it’s really not that difficult. You need to be in the right circles and the right environment in order for things to work,” affirms Uwaifo. He’s certainly proved himself to be a great role model for anyone awaiting inspiration to pursue their dreams of becoming a musician — and a successful one at that.
The producer also credits his success to his dedication to constantly working on his music. “I also feel like my work is good and people like it. I let my work speak for itself and I love to do it. I’m almost in the studio every day and I’m just creating…” he concludes.
Words: Lee Nxumalo @LeeNxumalo
Editor: Nikki Temkin @NikkiTemkin
Images: Babalola Joseph @iamjinius_