Brothers on the beats

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021 00:00 |
Producer brothers Sav Beats and Teddy B have a Kodak moment with musician Otile Brown. Photo/PD/Jasmine Atieno

Being the firstborn of any family puts one in the ultimate leadership position. How you walk your steps streams down directly to your younger siblings.

And this is exactly the case for producer Bernard Bulimwa, also known in the music industry as Teddy B. 

Teddy B is definitely one of the best gospel music producers in Kenya and Africa and he was awarded for the best Gospel Music Producer at the prestigious Groove Awards 2015.

He has done music with many popular artistes including Rufftone, Willy Paul, Otile Brown, Jamaican singer Alaine, Mercy Masika, Nigerian songstress Chidinma, the late Zimbabwean Oliver Mtukudzi and many others. 

His journey in the music industry began in 2006 while he was still in secondary school.

As for his brother Nixon Savonge aka Sav Beats, he started producing music in 2014 while at Chuka University. 

“Teddy B is the eldest in our family and I have always looked up to him.

There are many other members of our extended family who also do music in church choirs and other platforms, but from my nuclear family, it’s just the two of us.

His music journey is similar to mine as we started in school music bands. However, he advanced earlier on and his style and work got popular with many big artistes in Kenya and Africa at large.

I had a chance to intern in his fully developed studio and sharpened my skills there,” shares the 30-year-old.

Supportive brother

Sav is the second born in the family of six. The two were born and raised in Kitale where they also attended school.

Sav went to St Mary’s Kibabii High School, Kitale and he later joined Chuka University where he graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology and Security studies.

Teddy B did his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education at Chesamisi High School, Kitale in 2009. 

“Doing music in campus wasn’t exactly easy. Accessing a good studio while in school was a bit challenging and costly.

I would actually use my hostel room as the studio—most studio equipment are expensive to purchase and set up. 

So, I used just a laptop, a pair of headphones and a microphone, nothing fancy. Production back then was a bit hard, but manageable. Juggling between classes and production particularly was challenging.

But I fully dedicated my free time to doing my music. The pay was meager and I usually ended up doing free stuff.

At that moment, pay was not crucial as I took it as a moment of learning and perfecting my skills. Still at this stage, Teddy B was supportive and even linked me to a lot of opportunities,” shares Sav.

After graduation, Sav started working as an intern at Signature Scope Music Studio in Donholm, Nairobi, which is owned by Teddy B. 

Lessons learnt

He, however, started an independent online music store and music studio in late 2017.

Working in a good music setting always gives a sense of fulfillment, and this is what his brother’s establishment did.

Doing music alongside his brother has created an even stronger bond between the two of them. 

“We usually work as a team and help each other out music-wise. When we are not doing music, we do family related stuff.

We have worked together on so many music projects both locally and outside. My most popular projects were for Saldido Records owned by Willy Paul.

This was in Willy Paul featuring Nadia Mukami’s hit song Nikune, and also Willy Paul featuring Avril’s Coco,” he says. 

Sav shares that Teddy B’s strongest virtues are his patience and persistence. He never gave up on his passion even when things were hard and in due time he succeeded.

“Just like in any other field, there are so many challenges in production business. But how he handled these challenges inspired me on how to run my own business.

For instance, it cost a lot to start and set up a working studio. Then getting artistes with good portfolios, is a task—some of these artistes just won’t give you a chance.

Getting a good quality master song takes years of practice, but generally, the most challenging part is starting, marketing and getting new clients,” shares Sav.

Being in the field, he has watched many productions give up in their early years of production.

“Seeing Teddy B overcome some of these challenges and get to where he is today has inspired me so much to keep pushing and learning from all the sources available.

I love music, so mostly I do it for passion and other things fall in place,” he says.  

“As a producer you have to understand that success doesn’t just happen overnight.

You have to practice and perfect your craft and all of this takes time. You have to be patient with yourself.

Also, be open to learning from other producers - this will increase your knowledge in music quality production. Always be open to learning,” shares the young producer.

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