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Spotlight on Billboard-Topping Producer, Coptic

U.S.-based Ghanaian beat-making genius, Eric Kwabena “Coptic” Matlock, continues to rise after his Billboard topping hit, “I Need a Girl”, for P.Diddy and his Bad Boy Entertainment label. The talented producer who relies heavily on hiphop melodies and drum beats has made beats for the likes of Notorious BIG, G-Dep, Jermaine Dupri, KRS-One, Black Rob, […]

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U.S.-based Ghanaian beat-making genius, Eric Kwabena “Coptic” Matlock, continues to rise after his Billboard topping hit, “I Need a Girl”, for P.Diddy and his Bad Boy Entertainment label.

The talented producer who relies heavily on hiphop melodies and drum beats has made beats for the likes of Notorious BIG, G-Dep, Jermaine Dupri, KRS-One, Black Rob, Mase, Memphis Bleek, Carl Thomas, and Ice Cube, and is currently working on a project that aims to bring hip hop to Africa. The Africa-meets-America hip hop album, featuring rappers from both sides of the world.

Coptic was born in Kumasi, but grew up in Accra and Awukugua mostly. His love affair with music started at an early age; according to his mom, he was making music from the time he was a baby, beating on his grandmother’s pots. But his earliest memory of making music was when he was in a local band based in Newtown, Accra. He played the base drum and some percussion instruments. Perhaps, this is responsible for his signature thumping drums and melodies in his beats now.

In January 1983 he left Ghana for the US at age 13 and that marked the beginning of what has become the success story of this pure musical genius today.  I bring you the untold story of this African gem from his own mouth.

What was your first production?

My first production sold was to Puff Daddy, this was before his first album came out, and when Biggie Smalls was still alive. It was supposed to be on Puff’s album and it was to feature Biggie Smalls. Well, I got paid for the track, Biggie died a few weeks later and I never heard that track again. My first actual released production was to Jermaine Dupri, for his ‘Life in 1472’ album. The song was “All That’s Gotta Go”, featuring Da Brat, and that album sold platinum plus.

How did you make this breakthrough?

I hung out at Uptown Records a lot, which was Andre Harrell’s label. That was around the time that Puff was A&R for Andre and working with Mary J. Blige and others. My boy/business partner David Best worked in the mailroom for the record label, so that got me through the front door and a chance to see a functioning and successful record label in action. About a year later David introduced me to his junior high school friend, Harve Pierre. Harve is the current president of Bad Boy Worldwide, but back then Harve was Puff’’s A&R at his newly created label, Bad Boy Entertainment. With Harve’s early and later guidance, I was able to get in the right places.

How did this lead to meeting the likes of Diddy, Jermain Dupri and others?

I worked on my craft for a few more years until Harve felt that my music was ready, at that point he passed my tape to my current manager, Anthony Hubbard, who then passed it on to Deric “D-dot” Angelette, who at this point was the hottest hip hop producer in America. Deric had produced the “Benjamins” and a whole lot of other hits for Bad Boy. He liked what he heard on the tape and it went from there. I worked as a producer for him, co-producing records for The Notorious Big, Puff, Jermaine Dupri, and others. At this point he had me, Kanye West and Charlemagne (Bronx) working as producers for him. This was good for us because it got us exposed to artists that we would normally not know.

What’s inspires your works and who are your influences?

My beats are inspired by melody and drums.    I like hard Hip Hop drums; I always have that in my music. My influences include Bob Marley (I was fortunate to work with some of his kids in Miami) and Old School Hip Hop.

Jamati: Are you currently working on any productions or projects?

Yes, I am working with my artist Lil Goonie from Nashville, Tennessee. He has the official theme song to the Girls Gone Wild movement; he also has a few songs featured in their television show “The Hottest Girl in America”. I am also working with Ghana’s own Gibril Da African.

What is your assessment of our contemporary Africa music?

I love the music coming out of Ghana, for example, but I believe the main problem for an African musician is proper compensation from people using their music. African radio and televisions stations need to pay artist royalties; this will have a positive effect on the movement.

Have you work with any African acts?

Yes, I am working with Gibril Da African.  I also worked with Zimbabwe Legit, Wanlov The Kubolor, and Angelique Kidjo. I am working on an Africa-meets-America hip hop album, featuring rappers from both sides, maybe one day I will finish it.

Have you ever pitched using African rhythms and beats on the works of any of these big US acts and what was the response?

Well I have actually sold a couple of tracks with African influences, but for some reason or the other they were not released.

What are we likely to find in your studio right now?

Mpc 4000, Yamaha Motif 6, Roland VP-9000, G5 mac / pro tools 002 / Reason
G4 mac / Pro tools TDM, Turntable/ Mic/ Headphones, Allen & Heath 16 ch Mix Wizard
Event Studio Speakers, and lots of Vinyl records.

Are you in touch with your Ghanaian roots?

I was in Ghana for Christmas 2007 and I had a great time. My favorite Ghanaian foods include yam with some Kontomire stew, or maybe some beans and fried plantains. I still speak okay Twi, but when I left Ghana, I spoke excellent Twi, Ga and the Akuapim language.  I would love to work with a lot of the Ghanaian musicians like Reggie and King Ayisoba, we just don’t have access to each other. I am easy to find, search for COPTIC SOUNDS in Facebook and you will find me.

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Comfort Arthur shares more details inside the making of her animated Malaria film, “The Underestimated Villain”

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British-born Ghanaian animator, graphic designer, visual artist and editor, Comfort Arthur, has shared her inspiration behind her new body of work, “The Underestimated Villain” an animated film seeking to provide information on Malaria. (more…)

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Gospel singer QueenLet share how her SOKAAT music genre is making impact on lives

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Rising gospel artist, QueenLet, is gradually making waves on both local and international music scenes with her Soaking and Atmospheric (SOKAAT) music genre. (more…)

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How American tour operator, Rashad McCorey found a creative solution to tourism during COVID-19

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The tourism industry was one of the most affected during the COVID-19 pandemic but for American tour operator, Rashad McCorey it was a blessing in disguise.
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INTERVIEW: From Ghana to Italy and back, Shadowboy Myzic recounts his almost decade-long journey, new single ft. Kelvyn Boy and more

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The Ghanaian-Italian Afrobeat star may not be one you’ve heard enough of, but with his new single ‘Better’ out now, the floodgates are officially open. He’s keen on bridging the gap between Europe and African music; particularly through Afrobeat and his latest release featuring Kelyvn Boy is the plug.
Join us, as Shadowboy Myzic expounds on his enigmatic name and self, all down to a fiery Italian freestyle.
Enjoy.

Thanks for making time for us Shadowboy Myzic. It’s always a joy to host a new face. We can’t help but ask, why Shadowboy Myzic? What’s the story behind such an enigmatic name?
The name Shadowboy Myzic is spiritual blessing from my lovely mother. She used to call me (sunsum) when I was a child simply because my mother is very known in the city of Palermo and a market woman. She owns African shops and restaurants in Palermo. In my childhood, I was the personal assistant to my mother, whenever she goes out of the shop, I assist her until she returns. During that period, being a child growing I need time to play with my friends so as soon as I see my mother returns, I have to vanish to join my friends to play and the old woman will look for me everywhere but will not find me then she will be like you are indeed (sunsum) because you can vanish in a twinkle of an eye. From there I got ‘’sunsum’’ attached to my name.

Looking for a stage name, I felt ‘’sunsum’’ was a blessing from my mother because our shadows follow us everywhere. That’s where I got Shadowboy and Myzic simply means in our own interpretation, (my music). That’s where Shadowboy Myzic was generated.

You featured Kelyvn Boy on your new single, ‘Better’ and some fans may be wondering; “Who’s this new guy?” Mind telling us about yourself and Myzic Empire?
Daniel Kyei is my name, I was born in Ghana and raised in Palermo, Italy. I started writing music at the age of 9 but I got my first opportunity to record at the age of 18 – my first mixtape which then gave me the energy to do more and also set up a record label called Myzic Empire Records. Thanks to my first mixtape that I launched in 2012, I got some attention from my community Palermo where I got lots of compliments but no one was ready to give me a big push so I continued slowly with my friend, Kwamzizy who was the only one who supported me in when I needed to shoot videos for my mixtapes back then. In our little ways we managed to get noticed by some people in our city where we grew up but it wasn’t enough to get to the big platforms.

Despite these difficulties, I continued to push my music 24/7 through the DJ nights and shows I use to play in Palermo. Thank God in 2017 my manager, Mr. Kenneth decided to take me, my music and Myzic Empire to another level. The same year 2017 I released my first single recorded in a professional studio with a music video which revived everything. The single was titled ‘Higher’.

In 2018, I launched an EP titled ‘’Genesis’’. With that EP, the whole Team Myzic Empire and myself went on tour in Ghana for some works and radio tour. In Ghana we managed to connect to some artists and people in the industry where we did some jobs and many other things. In 2019 on our return to Italy, though, we stopped releasing due to studies and some other things, I always continued to work hard for my music and on many other projects that soon the world will witness.

In 2020, I released some freestyles whiles planning on releasing my new projects, all of a sudden Coronavirus shut the world down. The pandemic got me paused, but at the same time got me work harder on many other projects at home. During the pandemic, I was at home with a Ghanaian producer called, Almighty Streetbeatz whom was in my city at that time we worked and created a lot of good music for the world.
This is a little about me and Myzic Empire.

9 years is a long time to be doing music. Any experiences or advice you’d like to share?
Absolutely, yes 9 years is a long time, but as I said in my previous answer the main reason was because, I did not have enough support at that time and I think everything has it’s time and God was still preparing me for the world. My little advice to all my fellow young artist is, do look down on yourself, give you your talent a chance to work though you, be humble and respectful.

Is there any other artist in the diaspora you’re keen on working with soon apart from Kelyvn Boy?

Yes, I would like to collaborate with all the possible artists with whom I can. I’m opened and ready to work with any artist so we can explore the Afro music in Italy, Europe and the globe.

How receptive have Italians been of your music and Afrobeat in general? Enlighten us.

Doing Afro songs in Italy was very difficult back then. The majority of the population of Italians was ignorant about our culture, the rhythm of the Afro songs sounded very wired to their hearing because of the language barrier. Now thank God things are changing, new things are being learnt and the Italians are ready to accept the Afro music in so many ways, that’s why my team and I thought of strategizing the ways of productions by mixing multiple tongues to also make it favorable for everyone to understand my communications with them through my music.

I can gladly say I’m welcomed everywhere I go in Italy especially in my city (Palermo) where this adventure of mine started. The new generation have accepted and embrace Afro music, thanks to our hard work now you can hear Afro music playing in Italian clubs, parties, restaurants, bars, shopping malls etc. I’m so grateful for this day.

We doubt learning Italian was a walk in the park, especially coming from an Anglophone and Asante background. Gist us.

Hehehe :). Oh, frankly speaking, Italian language one of the most beautiful, sexiest and jovial languages I’ve ever known on earth, though it’s difficult to learn, I love and I’m very proud of myself that I can speak, read and write this language. The importance is knowing how to eat and dress Italian will bring your back from the park into an Italian classroom, hahahahahahaa.

Now, the moment everyone’s been waiting for. Mind free styling in Italian for us?

Sputo fuoco come un drago Sono cercato come un ladro Non mi prendi fossi mato Nella moto vado vrom
Con gli amici vroom vroom

Sono il nero siciliano
Suona strano, molto strano Sono il nero siciliano (huh)

Ho visto la morte lo visto sul ponte
Mi ha reso forte c’è scritto sulla fronte

Divina commedia e stato come Dante Non parlo tanto tu sai chi hai di fronte

Haha. That’s a mouthful. Any big plans before 2021 ends? What moves are you making and how can fans keep tabs you?

Yes, I have many projects in progress. I am working on some projects which will be released soon. This one with Kelvyn Boy is one of the first but after that we will fly with lots of other works. Though I still have a long way to go, this does not disempower me because my mind is made up to do good music and my new projects are something new in Italy, Africa and it will be new in the whole universe soon so I invite all my fans and everyone to supporter and fasten their belts, we are about to start.

Listen to Shadowboy Myzic’s new single ‘Better’ featuring Kelvyn Boy here: https://afrisounds.lnk.to/ShadowBetter and watch the video below.

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INTERVIEW: Dove Nicol opens up on her adventure so far, debut single and more

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Dove Nicol, a new and probably the most exciting artist to grace the Ghanaian music scene is confident in winning fans over with her debut single ‘Calm Down’. She’s dedicated to becoming one of Ghana’s most streamed artists and with a voice as authentic as hers, the songbird is all set.

Dove Nicol’s rise from Sierra Leone to Ghana is a unique adventure worthwhile and in this exclusive interview, we take time to explore her very lively character as she updates us on the adventure so far and her debut single, among other gists.

 

Hello Dove and welcome. It’s great to have you around. Like every music fan out there, I’m quite curious. Who is Dove Nicol? Blow our mind.

Dove Nicol is a creative, a pioneer who believes in the power of the African sound, music, culture, heritage and its influence in the world stage. I believe Africa is on the rise and we are living in the era of the African creative industries global domination and worldwide takeover and as a creative blessed by God with the talent of music, I am merely just playing my own part in the fulfillment of this reality.

You’re finally out with your debut single ‘Calm Down’, mind sharing the story behind it?

‘Calm Down’ is a song about love and relationships. The idea behind it places focus on the internal struggles we go through as lovers. It places focus on two sides of a spectrum. On the one hand, you hear the willingness of both partners wanting to love each other and be loved. And on the other, the anxiety and uneasiness that comes with the feelings of mistrust and insecurities that they have both experienced from past relationships which overshadows their ability to fully love and fall in love with each other. The chorus then comes in to serve as a stress reliever telling both parties to calm down, just be at peace and fall into love with each other. The song generally gives a soothing peaceful feeling to the ear.

It seems you were destined to have a career in music growing up. How is it going and what has your greatest challenge since taking it head on been?

Yes, I do believe I was meant for music and it has been the source of my livelihood since I was a child. If I’m been honest, I have received several challenges along the way to getting here. The biggest challenge I believe is getting others to believe in your dreams as much as you do. I can see the vision of where I want to go and who I can become but because I do not have the resources or avenue to get people to see that possibility, it’s hard and sometimes almost impossible to get others to believe in that dream too.

Alot of people only want to be a part of your success, when you have achieved it but are not willing to help you get there. The journey can really be a great struggle for a lot of aspiring artists who have the talent for it but no external backing to let their voices be heard. For me, I was only able to defeat this challenge through perseverance, the Grace of God and my belief in myself to continue going-on no matter the odds.

Are there any Ghanaian artists you admire and hope to work with sometime soon?

There are a lot of Ghanaian artists out there that have really helped shape the future of Ghanaian music and their relentlessness and tireless efforts have paved the way for emerging artists like me to go after our goals. People like Efya, Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, Kofi Antwi, Bibie Brew, Wiyalaa, Kwesi Arthur, King Promise and many many more talented souls I will definitely see myself working with during the course of my journey in the industry.

Beyond the world of music, where else does your passion lie?

Beyond music I have always aspired to become a philanthropist and a humanitarian. I want to create charitable organizations and help children that are less privileged to achieve a better future. Africa has the largest youth population and majority of them are multi-talented in areas they themselves are not even aware of. If only we had more institutions that can cater to the needs of less privileged children and our youths growing up, our economy will flourish immensely.

What is a day in your life is like?

A day in the life of Dove is typical – wakeup, pray, shower, eat and eat a lot, do my daily routines, some reading, attend to any business calls or meetings I may have during the course of the day and make time to speak with family before the end of the day. Oh, and go to the gym at least 4 times a week to keep fit.

There’s still a lot of ground to cover in 2021. What are your plans? Should fans expect more?

Yes, definitely. Expect a lot from Dove in 2021 but expect a lot more from Dove in 2022. I want my supporters to know that I’m ready and prepared. ‘Calm Down’ was just the ice breaker. I have a ton of creative content ready to flood the market. It’s just a matter of timing. But in due time they shall receive all that I have to offer and will get to know more and more about me as my story unfolds.

I can’t wait to meet the world and for the world to meet Dove. It’s going to be a productive year definitely.

 

Dove Nicol’s ‘Calm Down’ is available on all digital streaming platforms globally here: https://lnk.to/dovenicol-calmdown/

 

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Onyeka Nwelue captures E.T Mensah’s pioneering role in highlife music in controversial biopic, ‘Other Side of History’

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Nigerian author and filmmaker, Onyeka Nwelue continues production for his upcoming biopic, ‘Other Side of History’, after wrapping up with additional scenes shot in Ghana. (more…)

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