Solomon Oyeniyi, popularly known as K – Solo, has worked his way to the top of music production in Nigeria today. When you talk about modern urban music in the country, only a few names are on top. Don Jazzy, Spankie, Terry-G and K-Solo are regarded as top of the crop. About 50 percent of hit songs today are produced by one of these four. K-Solo's expertise is plainly embossed on works of artistes like Timaya and H-Man. The dark-skinned producer is thankful for his sudden emergence in the league of top players. In this interview with Hazeez Balogun, K-Solo speaks on his life and music.
In the beginning
Like many musicians, K-Solo started his career from the church. From a tender age, he joined the church choir. This was where he fell in love with the art of music. He was fascinated by how the drums and other instruments were put together to produce good music. With this, he became determined to go all the way with music.
There was a problem though. K-Solo went into secular music, while his parents were pastors. They were supportive of him when he started with church songs, but when he went secular, they became apprehensive. This did not deter Solomon. He decided to take his destiny into his own hands. Unlike many other musicians in his shoes, K-Solo did not drop out of school. Instead, he found a way of making money through music to fund his education. ‘My parents were pastors and there was little money in the house, though they did not want me to do music, but I was determined.
Today, when I take money home; they are happy with me. “I have actually been nursing the music thing inside of me. But I didn’t know the way it was going to come through. I had a lot of fantasies for music. I have been pushing myself in it for a long time. I finally found myself in it through the church because my father is a deacon, my mother, a deaconess. Through that, I had the opportunity of playing musical instruments in church. So when I went to school, I mixed up with a lot of friends. We would go to shows, clubs and everywhere there was music. From there, I started moving further into music and I took it seriously.
I started playing music in clubs and shows. “At some point, I got to work with Benson and Hedges, when they used to have road shows, as their sound engineer. I moved up to a level that I sent myself to school because I was not born with a silverspoon. Before I left school, I was already deep into the music business.
“I started working as a studio engineer. I was working with Paul Play and that was when I produced my first major project Angel of My Life album in 2004/2005. That was how I started in the music industry for real because I had always been in the entertainment world.
K-Solo is one person who works hard for everything he has. He never had support from anyone. However, he says that his career would have kicked off earlier after he finished work on Paul Plays’s Angel Of my life. However, he was disappointed as he did not get credit for the album which earned Paul Play a lot of international awards. “I was not given glory for the song, fair enough, it got me introduced to a lot of people.
“It was after that, that I left the studio where I was working then, to open my own studio, Sound Bakery, and that was where I produced Timaya’s album and those of Muma G, Felix Duke, Sunny Neji, Lord of Ajasa, Righteousman, Charly Boy and many others. Thereafter, I started fronting my own records called the ‘Igberaga Records’ meaning the ‘pride of a black man’. I had Klever Jay signed on my record label.
I faced a lot of challenges when I was growing in the music industry. The challenges that affected me most were putting in my best and striving to position an artiste, and at the end of the day, not being given any credit for the job. It took me a long time to to find myself out. I brought myself out when I produced Timaya. Right now, I don’t really have challenges. The challenge I have now is time. Now, a lot of people want to work with me and the problem is time’, he says
Many music producers these days try their hands on singing themselves. OJB and Terry-G are good examples. K-Solo is also towing this part. “The thing is that if you are not a good musician, it will be difficult for you to do good music. There are many producers today that come to me for lessons. The edge I have over them is that I can sing very well. The kind of music I am going into is going to be the kind that speaks real morals. I call it ‘Afrocentric jazz’. I will be preaching morals but it is not gospel. My Way album is going to hit every market in Nigeria by the end of this month. I already have a video that is on promotion now. I did the video with Klever Jay. It is titled ‘Your Way’ and it is also one of the tracks in the audio album that is coming out end of April’, said K-Solo.
Being a music producer
To be a producer, you will study music in one way or the other. It takes a lot to be a producer. In Nigeria now, we have a lot of people that call themselves producers because definitely in every profession, you will find the false prophets. I studied Music in Studio 991 in South Africa. I studied Sound Engineering and, in a way, it is affiliated with music. And before you can get into sound engineering, you must know some rudiments of music, which I already had before I got there’.
Relationship with Timaya
The truth is that I believe very much in young talents. I don’t joke with them. Like I told you, Angel of my life is my song, I produced it, but my glory was taken from me. But Timaya is someone I brought up from the scratch. I went to a talent hunt in Port-Harcourt and I noticed him. I knew he was going to win the hunt but he lost his voice that very night. I did not give up on him. So I took him home. In fact, my wife was the one that was feeding him. So you see, it is more than just work with me and Timaya. I brought him up, and today he is a success