Music production

Dunnie Leads the Way for Women in Afrobeats Music Production

“He’s not a normal person,” says falz as Coal Wande recounts his experience of working with dunnie before his next album. In a recent interview, Wande Coal also admitted to never having worked with a female producer before Dunnie. “I’ve never seen such a crazy producer,” he said.

Dunnie’s tenacity over the years has taken her to venues where she is now creating magic with the elite of the music industry. Born Oladunni Lawal, her interest in music goes back as far as she can remember: “I was drumming on buckets around the house and breaking a lot of them, until my mother asked me to join the band at the school, but unfortunately they only wanted boys. .”

After a series of attempts at music production after high school, Dunnie opted for songwriting and pursued it until an epiphany in 2017. “Things got complicated when Buhari came to power,” a- she declared. educate myself on the things I’m good at and how to monetize them. I can play a few musical instruments, I have a laptop – which means I can learn to make beats and sell them. Despite her perceived courage at the time, “it didn’t help that I didn’t see or know any female producers I could draw inspiration from,” she mentions.

The shortage of female music producers also extends to developed markets, as only a tiny percentage of records on the global charts, radio waves and playlists are produced by women. Dunnie has, over the past four years, moved towards this moment where she is breaking stereotypes and championing a course for women music producers in Africa. “Producers love Sassy, ​​bloody civilian, Milakeyzz come out in numbers. What they need is more people to support and trust them.


Image courtesy of Dunnie.

In 2018, Dunnie was shortlisted as an alumnus of Sarz Academy alongside budding producers like P.Prime and Tempo. “This opportunity was the start of some truly amazing moments in my career and I don’t take it for granted.” She would later pull the curtain back that year with the release of her first project as an artist dubbed Seven. The characteristics of the project Ric Hassani and Fiokee.

Dunnie is rightly considered one of the few talents to harmonize his overall creativity as an artist, producer, musical director with a considerable track record. “I am many things,” she claimed, “but I try not to be all of those things to everyone, to avoid confusion. Her list of collaborators includes Focalistic, Yemi Alade, Niniola, Busiswa, Rowlene, Becca, and Gemini Major. “It’s interesting to see how they discover me in different ways, through my work as a producer or an artist. Others, like Cassper Nyovest, knew me through social media. She credits East Africa as one of her most acclaimed regions, hence the collaboration with Kenya H_art the band and Tanzania Darassa on Amazon, his third project, which also features Nigerian sensation Highlife, The cave men. “Every song in the project can fit in a movie. I wanted to create afrobeats with a cinematic expression,” she says.


Dunnie – Akooba (Viewer)

Youtube

Last year, she was featured by Global Citizen as one of the most powerful women in Nigerian music among powerhouses like Bose Ogulu, Vanessa Amadiand others. “It’s an honor to be referenced among such powerful and incredible women.” She was the only musician mentioned. Despite the nerve it took to take the reins in such uncharted territory, Dunnie isn’t always numb to being the only woman in the room. At one point, she had taken to social media to recount some of those experiences. “So weird to be the only woman in a professional setting and then have one of your co-workers think it’s okay to ask you to serve food,” she wrote, “which is even more bizarre is that he has the courage to be shocked when you refuse to do so.”

During our conversation, she again talked about her worries, especially during nighttime sessions in a room flooded with the opposite sex most of the time; “I’m just starting to create scenarios of how to defend myself if something happens. No one should feel that way while doing legitimate work. Nonetheless, Dunnie is quick to draw a line under the perceived chivalry as she reiterates her riotous act: “I would rather you work with me because you like my work and not because I have a vagina.”

In a relatively short time, Dunnie is renowned as a force in soundtrack campaigns for multinationals like Ciroc, Oppo, Kotex and Keystone Bank. The synchronization seemed magical to me because I don’t always have to depend directly on the artists.

As Dunnie shoots down those accolades and seeks to expand her discography, she holds the induction of more women into production with a similar priority. In this regard, she partners with Audio Girl Africa, an NGO that promotes the inclusion of women in the music industry. “My position in the Nigerian music industry is special because more and more women can see that it is possible to be producers, DJs, sound engineers…. That’s why we sometimes partner with high schools because the goal is to catch them young.

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