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Tanzanian music producer reaches for the clouds

Friday July 16 2021
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Cloud Hendrix famously known as Cloud Beats PHOTO | FILE

By Lilian Ndilwa

As much as producers are known to be part of music making processes, they are also known to always work behind the curtains. Despite playing a vital role in the music making processes, producers are barely given the spotlight they deserve because without them, music would not have been captivating.

Besides playing instruments, making beats and melodies, producers can also be writers with creative links that enhance music lovers to lend their ears to an artist’s song. Meet Cloud Hendrix famously known as Cloud Beats, a Tanzanian producer, sound engineer and musician, whose music career continues to be nationally and internationally recognized.

Dressed in a khaki shirt with pulled up long sleeves, Cloud sat with The Beat sharing his gutsy yet inspiring journey to international music record labels such as Major Lazer and his current es Estrn Records’.

With one earphone in his ear letting the song play out loud for me, I had to ask him, “who is the voice behind? He replied, “it is one of the songs in my forthcoming album to be called ‘Soul Skool’ .

“This album will consist of about seven songs, featuring artistes from in and out of Tanzania, I have started sharing teasers but it will be officially out in September, this year as I am only awaiting one artist residing in the UK to finish working on his part in one of the songs,” Cloud hints.

The 24-year-old Tanzanian started his music journey from the time he was a standard seven pupil living with his brother who was into music production.

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He has always looked at music differently because at first he was just admiring his brother’s work but as time went on he started seeing noticeable changes on how he interacted with music, especially when he was left alone with his brother’s laptop filed with a collection of already made music and beats that were still in the making.

It was because of the passion for music production that Cloud travelled from Arusha to Dar es Salaam in 2010 so that he could stretch his then baby legs in music as well as to continue with secondary education. Little did Cloud know that his decision to move to Dar es Salaam would result in an interaction with people he had looked up to as he grew up. One day, Cloud met Emmanuel Mkono a.k.a Nahreel through an acquiantance, when he was running his music errands and the two linked up since then as Cloud was just embarking on his music career.

My job is not only to make music hearable, but also to breathe life into it by enhancing music with instruments, beats, a bit of piano, melodies as well as write songs,” he says.

It was due to his consistency in and his passion for music that he was able to work with national and international music artistes including Naomisia, Mayunga, Starboy Terri, Kaylan Arnold, Jemere Morgani as well as Jillionaire, Walshy Fire and Diplo who make the Major Lazerrecording label, his interaction with these music icons has so far led to the production of songs such ‘Right here’ and ‘the way you are’.

According to him, music is not just made with a bunch of lyrics and beats because for a song to mean something to the listeners what matters is its making process whereas efforts are made from all parties including singers, producers, directors and others, who have to be visibly seen.

“I am the type of producer who only works with talented people in the music industry because, to me, music is not just a money-making profession, it is part of my life in a way that I cannot work with talentless people in the industry for the sake of money or clout for that matter. I’m saying all this because recently people in the music industry have been releasing songs and albums because they are trying to be valid or rather, they are trying to reach international standard. But that is wrong,” Cloud explains.

As he was aligning his goals while growing in music, Cloud says he clearly did that in order to reach the highest stage of producing music, he needed an extra push as he worked with different labels including ‘Estrn Records’ and ‘Major Lazer’. It is due to the uniqueness of his work that influenced these recording labels to work with him to create good music.

It was in 2019 when Major Lazer reached out to and asked him to work alongside them, he had since then sent multiple projects to them whereas some had been released, and some had not.

“It has been a long and challenging ride working with different people in the music industry, it is because of this experience I have come to the understanding that international music stakeholders seek talent, trust and commitment. I recall the time when I had to keep sending my work to Major Lazer because they wanted to know if I could be trusted to work with them,” he says.

Clouds adds, “I have since then reaped the fruits of my creative work because, for instance, when I made the frame beat to the song ‘Right here’ I also recommended Terri, a Nigerian artiste, to be a singer because his voice matched with the vision I had for the song, so because Major Lazer have connections with almost every artiste In the world, we were able to get him.”