With three albums and a lifetime of collaborations, Wizkid is Africa’s most celebrated pop artist at the moment. And one man that understands him is producer Sarz who has been instrumental in crafting big records for him.
Sarz, who is one of Africa’s best hitmakers, has helmed some of Wizkid’s biggest songs spanning two albums, (“Joy (Ayo)” and “Sounds From The Other Side”.) His production credits stretch as far as Wizzy’s collaborations with Drake. He is the solo producer of the smash hit, ‘Come closer.’
The producer was a guest on an episode of Pulse’s “Loose Talk” podcast, and he shared some interesting stories about Wizkid’s work process, and how he loves to arrange the music. Turns out he has had fights with Wizkid over the arrangement of the music.
We have edited and condensed parts of the interview below.
How They Met
I met Wizkid way before “Superstar” album. This was after I produced Dagrin’s ‘Kondo’. Wizkid at this point was really nobody. He was an artist signed to EME. He came to the studio and said he really likes ‘Kondo’, and he wants to do stuff like that. We made a song in the studio and it was really dope. Everyone in the studio was feeling it. He was with his manager Osagie Okunpolor (formerly Osarenkhoe). I gave them the bill, and they said they can’t afford it. It was all business, they couldn’t afford at that time, and so they left. After a year, he became a superstar.
We would always meet at Rehab or all those clubs popping then, and Wizkid would be like ‘You, you didn’t work with me that time, no problem. We would see.’
Also, at this time, he was featuring on songs that I produced. Shank had ‘Salute’ remix with Wizkid. There was also another song that him on it. Then I moved to Ogudu, and I was living on the same street with Banky W. Then I found out that we were living close to each other. We began to vibe. The first time I visited their studio, I made ‘Keresimesi’ and ‘Mukulu’.
How Wizkid Makes Music
Wizkid records a song today and he’s excited about it. The moment he records another song he’s excited about it too. That other so g goes to hard drive records except it is extraordinary.
When we want to release old records, personally I would love to work on it. But Wizkid will never let you work on it. He just gets used to a certain sound. Even when it is mixed and mastered, if it doesn’t sound like the original version, he will like ‘I don’t know’. It’s really hard to add this and that.
He doesn’t like to work with finished beats. So once you make an idea and send it to Wiz, just know that idea is what it is. He might send you the vocals to arrange and everything, but if you add anything he says ‘I don’t like that, take it out. For me as a producer, I would say it is always too hands on.
We have had too many fights. For example there was a song on “Ayo” album called Kilofe. When I made that track in 2012, he recorded it. Maleek Berry added some strings. But I wanted to do it myself and Wizkid agreed. I got the vocals and got creative, and I almost changed the beat entirely. Wizkid heard it and said he doesn’t like it. He said he wanted the old version. I didn’t want to change it, and so we had an argument, and he was said if I wasn’t changing it, he wasn’t doing it. He was so attached to that song, and we stopped talking.
‘Beat Of Life’
With ‘Beat Of Life’, we also had issues.
I made the song, and played it to many people. At that time no one was fusing House and African music. I played it to many people, and they don’t know what’s going on. Wizkid was the only person that heard it and said he was going to do it. At that point he wanted the song, and I also wanted the song, and he was like ‘cool, when are you going to release it?
Fast-forward to when I was ready to mix it. First, there are two versions of the song. There’s a version where it just starts with Wizkid, and the version that had ‘Sarz on the beat’. The former was how Wizkid recorded it. Then I arranged it and put that ‘Sarz on the beat’ tag in fornt, and made it sound like a DJ song.
I arranged that and played it to Wizkid. He said he didn’t like it, that it takes everything away from the song, it makes it sound like a DJ song. At this point, if it wans’t for eLDee, I would have gone with Wizkid. I was willing to give it up because I didn’t want a situation where the song comes out and he doesn’t want to associate with it. But eLDee advised me, and told me that it was the only way I was going to cement my name. That’s why we released that one as the official one. But for some reason, the other version got leaked before the official one came out. Because of that we also stopped talking for a bit.
But now we have been through so much that there’s really nothing that can make us stop talking. We understand each other. He also says that when I make my music, he never questions what I do. If he likes it, he likes it for what I do. He also said, anytime he does stuff, doesn’t it work at the end of the day? So why are you questioning me?