Just like making a soup or even preparing cereal to be eaten, music creation has a process and involves a couple of ingredients.
From its idea stage till finish, the expertise of artists, lawyers, producers, beat makers, songwriters, labels, performers and – a group of people that do not get their fair piece of the limelight too often – audio engineers are employed in order to make a great song in a proper system.
However, the music ecosystem in Nigeria is far from proper, so a couple of these personnel usually need to play multiple roles in order to give the music an expected quality and many times, it’s the producers and audio engineers that get to bear this burden.
In this list, the leading sound engineers and mix & master architects in Nigeria have been rated, according to their recent quality and frequency of work.
Although he started off as a producer and the magic fingers behind a good number of hit records by Psquare, Victor Kpoudosu, better known as Vtek has now comfortably owned the role of being a hits-engineering machine.
With two Grammy awards in his bag, over a decade of experience and multiple hit songs in his name, Vtek is topping this list. He has mixing and mastering credits to culture-shifting records including Kizz Daniel’s ‘Buga’, Adekunle Gold’s ‘High‘, Kizz Daniel’s ‘Lie’, songs on BNXN’s ‘Sorry I’m Late’, multiple Yemi Alade singles, Grammy-award winning ‘Diginity’ by Angelique Kidjo, to mention only a few – with “Personally” by P-square being his breakthrough song to have worked on back in 2013.
Vtek definitely deserves his flowers as it seems like there’s no stopping for him any time soon.
Most people know Timilehin Joseph Jolaoso as Timi Jay, and majorly because of his tagline on the songs he works on that goes ‘Timi Jay On The Track’. And usually, this suggests that popular producer Niphkeys also worked on the song as the duo seem to have a special music relationship. From BNXN’s ‘Commander In Chief’, to Olakira’s ‘Maserati‘ and on to undeniable greatness, Timi’s journey has been quite a unique one and the year 2022 seemed to have solidified his place in the industry, having worked with the likes of Zinoleesky, Mohbad, Badboy Timz, Fave, Reekado Banks, Zlatan plus many others.
In June 2022, Mayorkun released a song that happened to top a good number of playlist across DSPs and so incredible figures on charts titled ‘Certified Loner’, and STG was behind its mixing and mastering, alongside a couple of other hit records in the African music space. Real names Stephen Abenga, the Benue state-born producer and engineer has been relevant in the space for about six years and doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.
Known to be the Nigerian singer with the hearts of the ladies locked in his pockets, the Mavin Records artiste also doubles as a mix & master engineer and has credits on the label’s 10 years anniversary album project, “Chapter X”, which has “Overdose (Overloading)” and “Won Da Mo” as its leading tracks. John Ighodaro is also credited for mixing and mastering one of the biggest songs out of the county in 2022, Ayra Starr’s “Bloody Samaritan”.
Swaps happens to be a very popular name in Nigeria’s audio engineering scene. This is majorly because his tag has been on some of the most popular songs in the region since 2017. He has worked with Davido, Flavour, Lil Kesh, Ruger, Omah Lay, Peruzzi, Cheque, Teni, Don Jazzy and a long list of other leading names in the scene.
“Traboski”, “Cold Outside”, “Ijo Laba Laba (Remix)”, “Likkle Riddim”, “Ice Cream” and “Diana” by BNXN, Timaya, Crayon, Joeboy, Falz and Fireboy respectively are some of the hit records SynX made in 2022. The year definitely helped him move up the ranks on this list and there’s much anticipation as regards what the future holds for the mix genius.
Just as Joeboy rose to stardom in 2019, so did his producer Beats By KO and Oxygen, his engineer. Today, Oxygen is highly regarded in the space and has credits for mixing and mastering “Alcohol”, one of the biggest Afrobeats records of 2021.
It only took a meeting with Skales, who would later on introduce him to business magnate Mr Eazi, and then to DJ Neptune in order for Milla Mix’s career to be activated. Today, his works are largely celebrated and he has remained relevant in the space since 2016.
Spyrit has a Grammy award to his name, and it’s courtesy an Angelique Kidjo and Burna Boy joint, “Do Yourself”. He is rising at an incredible pace and has credits with Rexxie, Spyro, Peruzzi, Badboy Timz and a couple other names.
Ediongsenyene Umoren, professionally known as 8notes is a name to watch out for in audio engineering in Nigeria. Born in Cross River, but from Akwa Ibom state, the fast rising music creative has worked with Phyno, Reekado Banks, Teni, Kwame Eugene, Dremo amongst a pool of others and doubles as an uber-talented songwriter.
Yet, all of these ten are able to be who they are and as relevant in the space as they are, because right before them, an era of audio engineers laid the groundwork for how much mix and master artists could be appreciated in the system. These special mentions in the game will include the likes of Zeeno Foster, TY Mix, Mix Monstaa, Suka Sounds, Sheyman, Suspekt and OshOnTheMix who have contributed immensely to the growth of the art of sonic engineering in Nigeria and Africa at large.