Music producers are often the unsung heroes behind the scenes of many hit songs yet few people know
what they do and even appreciate them. Exclusive Zambia Magazine had a chat with local music magic
man Jerry D of ‘kekekeke kabin studios’, the producer behind many of the hit songs we dance to almost
each and every day. The shy but energetic producer who is one of Zambians modern day Mozart’s gives
us an insight of what music production is all about.
EZM: Tell me a little about yourself. Your background and how you got involved with the music
Jerry D: “My names are Jerry Mangwato aka jerry D and I am Ila by tribe I started music somewhere
around the year 1999 when I was doing my grade 11 at Kabulonga Boys High School. At that
time we started a studio called Starquest with my elder brother Howard at Simoson building
behind city market. With time we moved our studio home and decided to call it Kabin Studios
because it was based in the ‘cabin’ and that was somewhere around 2004’…Basically yeah thats
EZM: What does a producer do?
Jerry D: “A producer is a person who makes music. We are in essence the coach of the talents and
overall arrangers of songs. We are the people behind the music.”
EZM : Where do you draw your inspiration from? What other producers, songwriters and/or artists do
you see as your primary inspirations?
Jerry D: “I get inspiration from a lot of things and people but I have really been inspired by Jerry Fingaz and
Sebastian Mutale, those guys are hardcore on the production you know what I mean, they are good.”
EZM: What skills, qualifications, education or background do you feel is necessary to make it in this
area of entertainment?
Jerry D: “Being a producer does not necessarily require and advanced educational background
but there are a few functional requirements, for instance, one needs to be conversant with
the computer and they need to know how to play one or two instruments, nowadays we have
producers who are just fond of using the computer to plot music, you cannot really say one
knows how to play music, as for me I can play almost any kind of instrument. You also just
need to have the passion for music, I was working for ZESCO sometime back but I like music,
I had to follow my dreams so eventually I stopped and got back in the studio and now we aregrowing.”
EZM: When you start recording and producing, what gear were you using back then?
Jerry D: “Back then we didn’t have good equipment we had just started, we had one computer and
We used simple software such as adobe or cool edit but later we acquired Cubase and started
learning how to use it.”
EZM: What is your current equipment list?
Jerry D: “Our current equipment now is quite good although we are not quite there, now we use the
latest software’s like Cubase 5, Reason, and Santares, but basically speaking am a very flexible
person as I can use any software.”
EZM: So are you mostly software or hardware these days?
Jerry D: “both but depending on the kind of music software is efficient but like I said I can play almost all the
EZM: What does an average session cost?
Jerry D: “Our charges are not hourly but we charge per song and that is about five hundred thousand
kwacha per song.”
EZM: Some speak of a “renaissance” in Zambian music in recent years. Do you think that’s an
accurate description of the current situation?
Jerry D: “I wouldn’t really call it a rebirth, but you know music is like fashion, it changes with time.
We can’t still be stuck in the past where we used to play kalindula because now things have
changed. If you go in a club today it wouldn’t be fun to play kalindula and so artists are just
adapting to the existing situation.”
EZM: Do you have a favorite musical project you have worked on? Among artists you have not
worked with, who would you like to work with and why? Have you worked with any foreign
Jerry D: “I’ve made quite some good music but I don’t really have a favorite (laughs out loud) , am
not too choosey I like everything that I produce because I put my heart and energy to it. I’ve
worked with almost every artist in Zambia, the only artist that I haven’t worked with is JK. I
have recorded tracks with other foreign artists such as Mr. Flavor who featured in Utaka and
Benjimfwile, when he came to perform a show here in Zambia.”
EZM: What are your thoughts on the quality of music being produced nowadays? What are your
Jerry D: “Zambian music is getting there but we are not really there, if only the government can come
in and support the music industry like our colleagues in Nigeria. The Nigerians are not better
than us in terms of music but because the government had come in to fund their music industry
and also provided incentives for musical equipment we have seen a growing sensation in that
part of Africa. There musicians and producers are doing fine now such that they can even be able
to go overseas and they have even managed to export their music to those places. Our mission as
kabin studio is to become one of the biggest studios in Africa”
EZM: Let’s talk income, how much can one make as a producer?
Jerry D: “wow! That is even embarrassing to disclose because it is not much but we just do it, we have the
passion for music.”
EZM: What do you like to do for fun outside of working on music?
Jerry D: I like to watch football a lot, am a Chelsea fan.
EZM: What is distinctive about a Jerry D production and what can we expect from you in 2011?
Jerry D: A jerry d production is unique, it’s about when you are good, you are good. Sometimes I
don’t even put shout outs in my productions. Most people feel when you put your shout out in a
song it will pull through. You can expect more from jerry D in 2012 am trying to do away with
these common up-tempo beats which everyone is using, Am now trying to fuse in some crank
beats try so sample P-jays tracks for 2012.
EZM: Let’s talk awards, are there any awards for producers? If so have you won any? If not why is it
Jerry D: “We are trying to team up as producers to spearhead a move that can enable us to be noticed
because we don’t get any recognition from the relevant stakeholders like ZAMCOPS. We don’t
have any awards for producers in Zambia and that is just a very sad situation. The producer
should be credited for any music, sometimes these musicians don’t even come with songs to the
studio and we have to make an instrumental for them, control them and sometimes even start
writing for them and at the end of the day we are not even recognized.”
EZM: Asides from talent, what qualities in an artist really stand out for you?
“Jerry D” When assessing an artist firstly I analyze the voice, a person who does not go off key, someone
who knows how to compose good music and who is very active.
EZM: What do you really enjoy about this job and what brings you down?
Jerry D: “I like the rhythm of music, you know what I am talking about right, the feel, it goes
down. Sometimes these artists run away with our money but it has its benefits we receive some
privileges of course being the makers of the music we get to go to shows for free.”
EZM: Finally what is your take on HIV/AIDS? Do you have advice for the young people who want to
Jerry D: “Our job as producers and musicians puts us on the spotlight and it is very difficult. We face
too many temptations and that’s not lie, but if you are not strong enough to overcome that, the
end result is you being HIV positive. I just want to urge everyone especially my fellow youths
out there, lets refrain from having unprotected sexual intercourse or even better let’s abstain
because there is a time for everything, wait for your right time. I am a happily married man
myself and I stay faithful to my beautiful wife. To the young people out there who want to be
producers work hard, be focused, learn how to play one or two instruments it will be good for
you. This is a Jerry D production am out!!!”
By: Leonard Mangani Zulu