by Muthoni Kimani
February 23, 2021
Tedd Josiah is by far one of the best-established record producers the music industry in Kenya has ever seen.
The professional Sound Engineer and record producer who has since downed his production tools in the music industry to jump into the fashion industry opened up about his past life as a record producer and what made him leave it all behind.
By the time he was 30 years old, Tedd Josiah had recorded songs for established musicians in the music industry like Yunasi, Achieng Abura, Wyre, Darling P, Gidi Gidi Maji Maji, Kalamasha and Susana Owiyo just to name a few, helping put the Kenyan music industry in the international market.
Many people believed that he would be a record producer for life because he had so much passion for it, and everything he produced turned into gold.
He was the man behind the hit record ‘Unbwogable’ by Gidi Gidi Maji Maji back in 2002 that political parties used. Tedd is now the founder, Creative Director, and CEO of his brand of luxury leather apparel ‘Joka Jok.’
In a long post, Tedd Josiah wrote;
“The year 2000 I was 30 years old and on top of my music game like MADD!!!!!! Anything I made would hit the charts in East Africa and make a mark. Hardstone, Nazizi, Wyre, Gidi, Maji, Niki, Darlin P, Kalamashaka, and a lot more were making it big cause of my input as a producer author composer and director.
But looking at the zeros and ones music wasn’t paying. I had to look for commercials to make, get paid then use that money to invest back into musicians. Not all projects brought back returns for us as a studio, sales would barely cover the production cost on a lot of these projects so unless we got sponsors for the albums things would always be a labour of love.
The talented producer continued; My good friend Gerrard from french cultural centre stepped in on occasion and supported a lot of Afro fusion musicians like Susana Owiyo, Yunasi, Achieng Abura (RIP), Abbi Mudunia and a couple more…
But looking at the bottom line this was still a labour of love until 2002 when we released Unbwogable with Gidi Gidi Maji Maji and the political doors opened up with tones of cash to buy rights… but that season died down too.
Now musicians though they complain will still make more money than the producer who will have to invest a lot more to set up a studio and run it is a massive investment.
I looked at the way my bigger brothers and music producers older than me were suffering and struggling, the way they were fighting to stay alive, some even selling their studios even the platinum plaques on the walls… the way they were being looked at as trashed and their value in society being taken for granted. For instance, we know the song “malaika” do we know the session musicians who played on it or the producer who brought it to life?
He concluded by saying; I have seen 1st hand how cruel people can be after you’ve invested in them and built them. I’ve seen how media can take ur name and drag it in the mud cause some drug dealing musician has paid them to make sure they have a better fighting chance of making it than you do.
I’ve seen fake distribution companies and briefcase publishing companies with empty promises take on artists music and vanish with the cash…. I’ve seen famous musicians child ”
The veteran music producer Tedd Josiah left his job, and everything else to pursue the dreams of his late wife Regina Katar, ‘Jokajok’