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P.Priime: The Nigerian wunderkind who’s more than just a producer

P.Priime speaks on being at the vanguard of current sounds brewing underground in Nigeria, having collaborated with Olamide, Fireboy DML, Teni, Zlatan, DJ Cuppy, etc.

The recognition of Nigerian music as a global phenomenon is facilitated by a slew of recognized and unsung players alike. Producers are prime members of the latter set whose cardinal inputs have been downplayed by the virtue of working from behind the scenes – away from public eye. Music producers have since time immemorial propounded sonic palettes that instigate pop culture in Afrobeats. They lay the groundwork for which the vocals and lyrics of artists feed into.

In truth, the Nigerian music industry and media only recently started zeroing in on the welfare of producers who have long been afflicted with lack of credit, underpayment, non-payment etc. The likes of Kiddominant (Davido’s “Fall”) has aired his anguish about the injustice heaped on these creatives whose work are indispensable in the production and commercialization of Afrobeats. As the producer realm of Afrobeats culls its much-deserved recognition even amidst the deluge of projects being churned out, there are a number of new generation talents at the fore of introducing new sounds that form the base of our relish, while projecting sounds from the West African country for global acclaim.

P.Priime, born Peace Emmanuel Oredope is one of such talents. Kicking off his course in music as a drummer, his curiosity for applications led to him  trying his hand at beatmaking, following a bout of boredom from designing and DJing. The chain reaction of his stint at The Sarz Academy now sees the 18-year old wunderkind neck-deep in producing beats influenced by sounds from his time in church. “I had to incorporate my ideas from church, while seeking ways to balance everything so that it suits the present day”, which has resulted in the production of popular records such as “Like I Do” off Fireboy’s magnum opus, Laughter, Tears, Goosebumps, “Gelato” by DJ Cuppy, “Egungun” by Zlatan and veteran indigenous singer Obesere etc. P.Priime’s contribution in shaping sounds brewing underground in Nigeria comes in full display via Olamide’s latest album, Carpe Diem. Having produced 7 out of 12 records on the album that debuted at #11 on Billboard’s World Album Chart, the producer doesn’t only come to mind as one who glossed the experimental edge of Olamide singing but as prime patron of contemporary pop culture in Afrobeats.

Speaking to PAM, P.Priime recounts happening upon music production, his relationship with Sarz, being a producer on the rise in Nigeria etc.

Nice catching up, Priime. How’re you faring? Where does this interview find you?

I’m home, resting for a bit. I’ve been working for weeks, months and have just decided to unwind; seeing a couple movies.

It’s been quite a year actually from COVID, #EndSARS; how has it been for you?

I have mixed feelings, honestly. I must say it’s been amazing for my career but crazily overwhelming for my mental health. It’s like a blend of the good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant alike but it’s all good – I hope.

Before P.Priime, where did your passion for music begin?

First off, I’m from a musical family. I used to attend an Anglican church and almost all my siblings were choristers, so it was inevitable to gravitate towards music when I came of age. I started playing drums at about four, before moving on to the piano at about eight. I had always known I’d go into music but I thought I was just going to compose, like full-on orchestra and all that. I didn’t envisage music production at any point.

How then did producing get in the picture?

I might sound like a broken record now [laughs] but honestly, I was bored as I had just finished high school while prepping for the university. Before then, I’d started graphic designing, DJing and I got tired of doing the same thing over and over. I had this production software on my laptop called FL Studio that I had downloaded long prior. I didn’t even know what it was for initially but because I’m typically a curious person and also an applications and software enthusiast, I get to download almost anything I lay my eyes on. I started messing around with the software and with time, I realized I was actually making sounds. I basically kept at it without much expectations.

Did any artist or producer influence the sounds you were making at this point?

Not exactly; I was just creating music off the top of my head. I mean, it’s music, I’ve always done music from church and because I play the piano and from my stint with choir presentations, that is sometimes reggae, funk etc. That itself influenced the sounds I was creating and when I got on the system, I had to incorporate my ideas from church, while seeking ways to balance everything so that it suits the present day.

Interesting. So, how did you end up in Sarz Academy?

I was about two years into production before Sarz Academy. I saw the post about an academy on Sarz’s Instagram page but I wasn’t going to submit an entry because I wasn’t sure that I was good enough. I believed there are more talented people who’d send entries and get the slot, so why bother? I mean, what exactly would Sarz love about my beats? I moved on and in the final week for entry submission, a producer friend asked that we give it a shot as we’d have nothing to lose regardless of how it turns. I hesitantly sent my application and luckily for me, I received an email that I’ve been accepted into the academy. You can imagine my surprise when Sarz said he loved the beat – my ‘mediocre’ beat!!

What was the phase of that academy like?

It lasted for about a month. It was a fun, educating, eye-opening exercise. Before the academy, I knew next to nothing about the music business and some aspect of music production. During the exercise, I was able to get a hang of those and more, as well as connecting with like minds who have since been instrumental to my trajectory.

How relevant would you say the academy has been to your trajectory?

It’s been beyond relevant, if I may. It made me understand how the industry works; some dos, don’ts and general rules that come in handy presently, including the business part. It also played a vital role of introducing me to a team of people that have contributed positively to my growth. Iredumare Opeyemi, one of the players at the academy enjoined us to reach out if we wanted to work with anyone in the music industry. I have a habit of checking up on people that even after the academy, I was hitting everyone up. After a while, I think I had a beat for Zlatan and I notified Cake, also one of the players at the academy [who manages me now]. She did her thing and next minute, I’m working with Zlatan. Definitely, that leverage is courtesy of my participation in the academy.

What’s your relationship with Sarz like right now?

Sarz is my industry dad. He doesn’t hesitate to come through if I need anything or want to work with anyone beyond my reach. He’s been just as helpful.

Tell us about meeting Fireboy and how “Like I Do” landed in his project Laughter, Tears and Goosebumps?

I first met Fireboy at a session with another female artist and that very day, we created music from the scratch. I think after the third session, we created “Like I Do”. It was one of those nights we made three-four songs and we didn’t realize how powerful it is because after the session, I listened and reluctantly deemed it “minimal production”. After a while, Fireboy beeped me that the song is making the album. Frankly, I wondered why that song, out of all the other songs we created, until the album dropped, and “Like I Do” charted, becoming one of listeners’ favourites in the album.

How did you become Zlatan’s frequent collaborator?

I messaged Cake to help relay a couple demos I have for Zlatan. To my surprise, she reverted almost immediately about an already scheduled meeting with Zlatan. We met in the studio and after we made the song, we parted ways and didn’t hear from each other for a minute. Much later, we met through a third party and he mentioned that he’s been meaning to find me, as he’d love for us to work more. The rest as they say, has been history.

You were hands-on in the making of Carpe Diem. What was working with Olamide like for that project?

Amazing!! Olamide is someone I’ve always looked up to, I’ve always loved his songs and working with him was like a dream come true. He’s about the chillest, calmest person ever and one of the artists that I’ve worked with who’s sure of what he’s gunning for and wants to hear. He made it so easy – working with someone who allows you to do what you do best while bringing their own magic as well. Him trying to make me a part of his songwriting and every process means everything to me. You know the kind of joy that comes with doing something you enjoy and collaborating with someone who is putting even more effort, it’s crazy. Just watching him put lyrics together, forming melodies was surreal. He’s about one of the funniest persons I’d come across; I had the most fun with him.

How did you come in contact with the singer?

All thanks to my manager, Cake. Before I created the sounds, I told her I would like to work with Olamide and she asked me to send some beats over. I made a couple beats I think would suit Olamide and sent to her. That same night, Olamide sent me a message, asking that I send the beat’s BPM and we should meet to work on more stuff. We then met, made more magic and that’s how the Carpe Diem you hear happened.

You’re very much about what you want, I must commend. As we know with these milestones, comes certain difficulties. What are some challenges typical to a Nigerian producer on the rise?

One that bothers me a lot is people depriving you of your credit and some trying to trivialize the art of producing; I think every Nigerian producer can relate. Anyone who thinks the art is a walk in the park should sit and try doing it themselves.

How do you navigate situations where your view doesn’t align with the artist’s about a record?

I don’t have to work with everyone but if we have to work, we’d have to meet at a point. However, I’ll tell an artist how I feel a track should go and if they’re particular about doing it a certain way, I let them have it and we see what the future holds. An instance will be “Like I Do”, when Fireboy told me that the song will make the album and urged me not to change anything. For me, I felt the beat was empty and a lot could be done with it but he insisted; however I defiantly added some extras and the guitar at the end was me being careful to not overstep – though after an agreement was reached.

What makes you want to keep producing music?

The fact that there’s someone out there that’s inspired by my work as a young person, doing this much. I actually get DMs from 16-year old producers who appreciate, are inspired by my work and look up to me. It feels so good to have people as young as myself seeing me as a symbol of hope. For some, they wonder how I’m able to balance school, convince my family and keep up with producing. Of course, I still have my family’s concerns with the music, but they’re getting to see the bigger picture and I’m sure there are other parents seeing the same through me. In Nigeria, artists, producers are still perceived as indecent. I aim to serve as some figure to these parents to let their kids explore, making them understand that it’s not as bad as they make it seem. There’s also the fact that I’m able to control how people feel. Anyone could be having a bad day and when “Eru” comes up, they’re lit up or relieved because you know, “Eru” has this vibe and all.

What would you deem as your biggest achievement yet?

That would be getting my manager, Cake, on my team. I mean, it means so much to me, knowing who she is and knowing that she can help get virtually anyone I want to work with. With her, work is so easy and it makes my career sail. Most of the artists I’ve worked with have been through her and that’s something I hold dear.

How do you charge your creative batteries

I love watching movies and whenever I’m locked out of creative ideas, I go back home, rest, hang out with friends and loved ones. I have specific people that I speak with from time to time, some of them know nothing about music production. It just takes me away from music, giving me a much-needed breather.

In three words, explain your experience as a music producer in the Nigerian music industry?

VERY VERY CRAZY!

Who are P.Priime’s dream collaborators?

Jon Bellion, Asa, Travis Scott, Skrillex, Wande Coal.

What’s for P.Priime in the coming year?

Y’all will see more of Priime, not just as a music producer but as a brand. I want to be seen as a full-on musician. I want to make an impact with the music, being at the forefront.

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