Get to know four-time Grammy Award-winning Nigerian Producer turned Artist Kel-P [@ITSKELPVIBES]
Nigeria’s very own Kel-P is the grammy nominated mastermind behind your favourite Afrobeats songs. Best known for working with Burna Boy, Skip Marley and Wizkid, Kel-P is now embarking on a whole new journey in the forefront as an artist. His debut single One More Night flips the script on the popular Nelly and Kelly Rowland’s popular 2002 smash collaboration, Dilemma. Kel-P is on his way to cementing his name as an artist to look out for with his latest project Bully Season Vol.1. Find out more about Kel-P’s inspiration and musical goals.
Bambo: You are an accomplished producer but before we get into talking about your achievements, I would love to know what your childhood was like.
Kel-P: It was a regular childhood. Since I was young, I’ve always wanted to do this but, professionally I started in 2017. That’s when I took it seriously.
Bambo: Music is one thing but, where did your interest in production stem from?
Kel-P: Music has always been there. The interest came in 2017. I remember I went to the studio with a group of my friends and we were in a group called Dynamite. We went to record a song and we met Sarz. Sarz’s studio was not far from my school so, Sarz was like “There’s four of you, why can’t one of you just learn how to make beats?” I was like, “Okay!” That’s when I learnt how to make beats.
Bambo: Cool! Who inspires you musically and production-wise?
Kel-P: Production-wise, right now to date, I think it’s still Sarz. Musically, there are a lot of people that I listen to. I’m a massive fan of both African and international artists.
Bambo: Some people in the UK might not know a lot about your accomplishments. You are a four-time Grammy-nominated producer but, you’ve also worked with Angelique Kidjo and won your first Grammy with her. How does that feel and how have you been able to take in all of the accomplishments that you’ve gotten over the last three to four years?
Kel-P: At first, I would say it was really, really exciting but, right now it’s just alright- I’ve done it now and I’m getting used to the idea of people knowing me internationally. Right now, my major target is winning and achieving all of these awards as an artist – not as a producer anymore. That’s when it will be exciting again.
Bambo: Cool! Do you feel any type of pressure to replicate the amount of success that you’ve had as a producer now that you’re stepping into your artistry?
Kel-P: No pressure at all. I just want the fans to watch me grow the same way they watched me grow as a producer. Do you get me? They should grow along with me and see the progress. Everything takes time but, this is what I want to do.
Bambo: Yes, absolutely. So you’ve worked with many different artists including Rema, Wizkid, Niniola and Dadju. What has been your most memorable studio session?
Kel-P: The most memorable experience was in LA. We were working on More Love Less Ego with Wizkid. Don Toliver, Ty Dolla $ign and Metro Boomin all pulled up to the studio. The initial version of Balance – track two on the album- was Wizkid featuring Ty Dolla $ign but the version that is out today is just Wizkid. So Ty Dolla $ign came to the studio, went inside the booth and in two hours he cut the record. He came out of the booth and the record was sounding fire. That was so cool! The whole song was done so quickly. Yeah, that was a good one.
Bambo: Yeah, I really like that! You’re finally putting yourself out there as an artist and taking your first step with your amazing single One More Night, which is on your new project Bully Season Vol.1. So firstly, what is the song about for people who haven’t heard it?
Kel-P: Okay, so I think when I was making this whole project, I was around a lot of women at that point in time. I noticed that people judge women by the things they post on Instagram. I was around women who actually put in the work. I decided to make a project to appreciate women and to express how I feel about them. So, I listened to a lot of the music that came out in 2001 and 2002- those were the years I started listening to music. Those R&B songs I used to listen to back then, I want to sample all of them. So there are a couple of songs on my album already, but the first one I’ve released is One More Night, which I sampled Dilemma. My boy KDaGreat who is a producer from Burundi flipped this sample and made it into something new. I just wanted to make a song that will make women dance.
Bambo: So how long did that process take? Was it a couple of days or was it over maybe the course of a couple of weeks?
Kel-P: It wasn’t really a long process. I was the one who just made it look like a long process because I know I could have finished the song that same day. I was taking my time with it because of how I was feeling about the melody. I was enjoying it too much to the point where I didn’t want to write any lyrics. Really, it took me a week to finish that record but, it took me like seven months to clear that sample.
Bambo: Why did you think now was the perfect time to introduce yourself as Kel-P the artist and not just the producer?
Kel-P: It just feels like the perfect time. Producing is great but, it didn’t feel like I was growing. I wanted to challenge myself and show people another side of me. I think it’s time for people to know the face behind the name. That’s why I decided to take this bold step.
Bambo: Amazing! You said you’re going to be using a lot of 2000s R&B songs as samples. Apart from the fact that’s what you grew up listening to, where did the inspiration for that come from?
Kel-P: So, as I said, when I started listening to music, it was 2000 or 2001. I’m a massive fan of R&B but, I fell in love with Afrobeats because of the artists I work with. I’ve always been listening to R&B and I told myself that if I start making music, I’m going to make music I enjoy. I’m not even going to make music people want but, because I’m not the consumer I have to make music for people, not just for myself.
Bambo: Yeah, definitely. So now, looking on to the rest of this year, you’ve dropped this amazing single and EP, what else should we look forward to from you?
Kel-P: A lot of things. My EP Bully Season Vol.1 is out now but, I’m still producing as well. I produced three albums coming out this year: Mr Eazi’s album, Adekunle Gold’s album and Wande Coal’s album. I’m still a producer in the day, but at night, I’m Kel-P the artist.
Discover more from GUAP’s Music section here