Temitayo Ibitoye aka Tee-Y Mix is a producer and sound engineer. Also one of the judges on Project Fame, a music reality show, he bares his mind on the entertainment industry
How did you balance your time between producing music and being a judge at Project Fame?
Scheduling was the key. Project Fame took up my weekends and I had my weekdays to myself. It was not difficult as one would think. My participation was on weekends.
What if clients came calling on weekends…
We would reschedule it to week days.
Your dexterity with musical instruments should have pushed you to producing your own songs…
Not everyone is chosen to sing. We all have our areas of strength. My area of strength is producing and I stuck to it. That is what I have been doing over the years. We all cannot be at the forefront. Some people are wired to be at the background and make things happen. Change is the only constant thing. It might be possible, but I am not yet convinced that I want to be a singer.
Is there stiff competition in music production?
There is competition in every aspect of life. Competition is healthy for the industry because it makes people sit on their toes and try to get the best out of what they do. But I am not living my life to compete with anyone or consciously do anything to beat that competition. I just do what I love and what I am convinced about. My driving force is different.
Why did you change from Information Technology to music production?
It was not deliberate. I was into music when I was in school. I just found myself doing what I have always known how to do. It got to a point where I decided to take it seriously. Music was more engaging for me, but Information Technology helped at the early stage of my production career. What schooling does is that it helps you to relate with people and to analyse things. It also expands your sense of reasoning and toughens you a bit.
Is there room for improvement?
The bulk of my job is technology based and I constantly go online to read materials and do short courses. Times are changing and it changes with trends and mode of operation.
Why do most producers travel abroad to study sound engineering?
There are no such good schools in Nigeria. There may be some schools but they do not have good standard. Sometimes, they do not have state-of-the-art equipment. The equipment are quite expensive to purchase and maintain, but there could be smaller institutes where they train people.
Would you delve into politics in future?
I am not a politics freak. I do not believe we have to go into politics to make it in life. We can make a difference in our immediate environment. The key factor is making Nigeria a better place and influencing others to do the same. That is what my everyday life reflects.
Are you as tough as you seem in Project Fame?
I am not tough at all but I am blunt. I say things the way they are. I am a trained music producer and I spend a lot of time in the studio. When you are recording in the studio, there are no half measures or sitting on the fence. Based on that, my ears have been trained to a level where I can pick out faults in musical pieces or performances. When I hear those things, I do not keep quiet. I say them. If people do well, I would tell them, even if I do not smile while at it. That is what I am there for because my comments are vital in shaping them. They have to be told the truth.
How do you rate artistes?
I rate them in terms of their creativity. Also, I rate them based on how well they are able to convey their message to others. Different artistes have different circumstances that influenced them in writing their songs, and they have to convey them in the best ways. Music is a medium of passing a particular message to people. They should know how to put that medium to use.
What’s your take on artistes with insufficient funds but want to produces their songs?
If they do not have the funds to pay me as a producer, how would their songs become hits? Paying a producer is the least they would spend in music production. They would spend more in shooting videos, promoting their songs, or doing photo shoots. The talent is there, but a lot of factors are responsible for selling that talent. Talent has to be mixed with hardwork. For those who come to me with just talent and no money, I see them as unserious people who are not informed. Music is business.
Do you also manage artistes?
I have my label now, and I have some artistes that I produce their songs, as well as manage.
Why did you decide to have your label?
Over the years, I have seen the struggle of some artistes who have just the talent without money or someone backing them up. Even the A-list artistes invest a lot of money into their craft. For others who cannot do what they are doing, the stars should be able to do something close to it.
Did you have parental support doing music from a young age?
I have been blessed with wonderful parents. I went to school and it was easier for them to allow me do what I wanted to do. Music was something every kid did where I grew up and while others were doing that, I always went to the choirmaster’s house to learn how to play one musical instrument. They saw it as something that took up my time constructively and positively. When I decided to go into it full time, they had already started seeing results.
What was growing up like?
I am the first of seven children. We are a close-knit family.
Why are you still single?
I am not seeing anyone yet. My ideal woman must believe in me and know that I have potential. She should be God-fearing and able to communicate with me. She should have an idea or be interested in what I do. She has to be confident too. As a result of what I do, she must be able to trust me.
What is your comment on the music industry?
One of the things I have noticed is that originality has come to stay. We are beginning to enjoy local content. Culture is involved and it is one way we sell Nigeria to the world. We have attained a level of excellence and it has opened the doors for other allied industries like make-up, dance and fashion.
Do you support shooting Nigerian music outside the country?
I do not see anything wrong with it. Creativity cannot be contained or restricted to a particular place. Sometimes, we need a fresh environment, scenery or skill.
How do you keep fit?
I do not work out. But my diet is important to me. I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables and drink a lot of water. I eat healthy.
What is your definition of style?
Style is a function of an individual’s personality. It is not about what you wear but your carriage in whatever you wear. I am not a trends freak but I do not go out of trend either.