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Music producer Cedric Kadenyi on what it takes to work with big artistes

By Sylvania Ambani September 23rd, 2022 3 min read

Music producer Cedric “Cedo” Kadenyi’s career spans more than 10 years. Having started with the popular gospel group Maximum Melodies in the early 2000s. From working with music heavyweights like Sauti Sol, Nyashinski, H_art the Band among others, Cedo now has a new album that features different artistes from East Africa.

He speaks to Nairobi News.

How long have you been a music producer?

I have been in the industry for a long time, since the times of the popular gospel group Maximum melodies. It has been a gradual process because when I started I started as a keyboard player and after that, I realized that you can arrange music on a keyboard. I then realized I can arrange music on a computer and a keyboard, then record vocals so it was just adding a layer as time went by.

I then started collaborating with artistes arranging music for live bands I did that for Sauti Sol for so many years. Nyashinski.

Tell us more about working with Sauti Sol….

I worked with them in producing the song Sura Yako, I played some keys on Nerea but my biggest work with them is a live performance, I was their music director. This means I would create the live performance set and translate the music video into live. This includes getting the right instrumentalist to train them and the artiste until they get the set before they can perform.

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And for Nyashinski the same. Immediately he came back to the country I helped him set up a band. I worked on the song Malaika with him because I wanted to show the world that Nyashinski is a diverse artiste who is more than just a rapper.

This involves a lot of work and it is also expensive that is why some artistes will use a Dj during a live concert.

What did you study at University before getting into music?

Interestingly I studied law but I have never practiced. The reason is after getting my degree I went to the Kenya School of Law but I did not pass my exam and I did not do the exams again. At the time I was still doing music and juggling the two took a toll on me but I chose one and I chose music.

The song Jaber is currently among the top trending songs tells us about the process of creating the song.

I have worked with H_art the Band on so many songs including El-Shaddai, I have worked on most of the songs from their previous album titled ‘Simple Man. I have a very beautiful working relationship with them, I like their creative minds.

It so happened that H_art the Band and I were in Kisumu at the same time they wanted to do an album they asked for my help. At the end of making the album we felt that something was missing, it needed a song that was not too serious or have lyrics that are deep emotionally, and that is how Jaber happened.

Let’s talk about the art of music producing, why aren’t we making more music that has lasting impressions?

There is always the temptation of producing songs that will get you money quickly and once you do that it is very easy for you to get stuck in that cycle. If you want to do a timeless song you have to record and pre-record get the right vocalist, and guitarist that process takes a lot of time, and people need to understand that a song is going to be around during their lifetime and even after.

I have worked with Mbuzi Gang, Ssaru and I think their sound is great. This is the sound of this time.

You have an album out does this mean you are coming out as a singer?

I can’t sing. I can only produce if I want to do a song that is entirely mine, I will get a songwriter, a vocalist and let that person sing on my behalf. In the album, I am involved in beat making, engineering process, songwriting, arranging among other things. Having done this for so many years for other people it just felt right to evolve and do it for myself.

I decided to do an album of East African artistes in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, to create an east African artiste album done by a producer brand. The album is called ‘Seduction’ and has a total of 15 songs done by 22 artistes. Some of the artistes involved include rapper Khaligraph, Arrow Bwoy, Trio Mio, Fena, Mbuzi Gang, Karun, Nyashinski, from Uganda Lydia Jasmine, Winnie Muhaji, Rema and Easy, from Tanzania Aslay, Barnaba, Maua Sama.

Music producers are the least known people in the ecosystem of the entertainment industry.

In my own opinion, I would say we did not have a culture as producers of making people aware of us. The artiste would take the whole spotlight. And that is why you are seeing a lot of music producers reinventing themselves.

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