Black Artistry Series is a year round program committed to celebrating Black creatives and storytellers around the world. Each month, Arts Help is highlighting impactful projects and publishing exclusive interviews with leaders who are producing inspiring content in support of the Black community. Through this program, we aim to cultivate a platform for these stories to be shared with readers around the world and to celebrate the talent and ingenuity of Black creatives.
This month, Arts Help is shining the spotlight on Canadian music producer Ahkilo. The grammy-nominated, multi-platinum producer has dedicated his talents to collaborating with artists to bring their musical visions to life. In an interview with Arts Help, Ahkilo talks about his passion for music and how we can support and empower Black creatives in the music industry.
Can you describe your journey in the music industry and how you became a producer?
I started making music around my senior year of high school with family and close friends. I loved music since a child, but I wasn't really gifted in that field so I always tried to find a way I could be involved with my friends and family who were making music at the time. I figured out that production was the part I was intrigued by and I followed suit. Really I was just learning as I went from Youtube and my peers who I was working with day to day.
I became a producer naturally based on my environment and interest in how the music is made behind the scenes. I used to travel frequently to Miami to visit family and get work done with my team early in my career, and through doing that I was able to work at a pace that would propel me to the next level. I had a family member I was working with who was contacted by Drake's team, and that is how I landed my first major placement, which cemented me as a producer from that day forward.
My journey has been a fun one, a lot of ups and downs and getting to know how the industry works is a task, but you get the hang of it as time goes on.
Who do you look up to in the music industry?
The people I looked up to were Timbaland, Pharrell, Kanye, Lex Luger, Boi-1da, T-Minus and Daniel Worthy. I have gotten most of my inspiration from them and their techniques.
What is one of the most important skills to have as a music producer?
Being well-versed in programming, music theory and the ability to collaborate with others to make the best music possible.
A large part of being a producer is working with other artists to bring their vision to life. What do you enjoy the most about this process?
What I enjoy the most is the ability to merge two imaginations into one and also being a guide to new ideas that would make the artist better. To give insight on their strengths & weaknesses and being able to adjust from that. The finish product ends up feeling like it was created by magic.
How can producers such as yourself help support and uplift the Black community?
Studio sessions and seminars for the youth that are from impoverished areas who want to choose music as their way out. Giving them the tools and knowledge of the industry and how to get in it and navigate. There are so many jobs in the industry that young Black creatives can excel in, and I would like for that to be on display to more of them from an early age. Give them the confidence in knowing that they can make it and help those around them as well.
Can we be doing more to support Black creatives in the music industry, and if so, what can we do?
More funding, more shows being put together for new upcoming talents to be discovered, more access to jobs and other opportunities within the industry. I want to see more Black people in higher positions, for they will be the ones to change the industry into a less biased environment and cater more to the culture and uplifting of our people.
Check out some of the tracks produced by Ahkilo:
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