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February 16, 2019

Ted Josiah 'couldn't speak English' when he went to US

Tedd Josiah / COURTESY
Tedd Josiah / COURTESY

Local audio producer Tedd Josiah is slowly adapting to life after losing his wife Regina in September last year. The two were blessed with an adorable daughter named Jay, who turned a year old yesterday.

In an interview with the Play House YouTube Channel, Tedd talked about his journey in the music industry.

"I fell in love with music when I was very young. My dad bought me a record player so I got to listen to music a lot. I spent a lot of time creating and listening to music. That's where my passion started," he said.

The producer grew up in Chicago, US, after having stayed with his grandmother in Nakuru during his early childhood.

"When I moved to the United States, I just knew Kikuyu, Luo and broken Kiswahili. I knew no English, but with time I picked up," Tedd said.

He later joined high school back in Kenya, where he studied at two different institutions but never participated in music festivals.

"After high school, I became a born-again Christian. One day, I went to Nairobi Baptist and saw what the youths were doing, in terms of singing, and I told myself, 'Hmm, I can do this'."

Tedd went ahead to master the art of producing music. "I started doing background vocals more and lead vocals. Then I realised that they were making mistakes in the arrangement, and in the digital space there are different things happening, and we start putting the music together like this and do this with the intro and stuff. And I didn't know that what was happening was that I was becoming a producer," he said.

"I was just arranging stuff and telling people no don't do this here, wait until this particular point and do that. And people would go into the studio and say we need Ted the technician to come in and help, though I didn't know what I was doing. I was just moving faders up and down for things to balance."

The father of one mixed his first album when he was 18 years old, and after years of hard work, he became the most-sought-after producer in East Africa in his heyday. He started working with a local company in 1995, and he says he made a mistake of overspending.

"My salary was 10k and house rent was 12k, and I still needed to top up this salary for rent. I then decided to talk to my employer and told them, 'You're paying me very little. I want 40 per cent of everything I bring in.' They agreed and we signed a contract."

The award-winning audio producer worked hard to make more money. He narrated how he met with a Coca-Cola MD, a French man by then.

"First thing I did, I recorded a track and walked to Coca-Cola offices and asked to meet the MD. We had a meeting and at the end of the day, I made 40k. I did all the Coke brands and that's how people started looking for me for adverts and radio shows."


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