AJ: My Experience Working With Reinhard Tega and The Cavemen on “Live Up”

AJ & Reinhard Tega

“AJ don’t worry about the song, we will make hits”, let’s worry about your personal life,” Reinhard said and I rolled my eyes.

In my years as a recording artiste, I have worked with a handful of amazing music producers; Kelly Handsome, MasterKraft, Late OJB Jezreel, Cobhams Asuqwo, Don Adah, Koveh, Don L37, Kel Centric and more. Each of them was unique in their own way and always focused on the music, nothing more.

Not Reinhard Tega, working with him was different, unconventional and at first ‘annoying.’

“Let’s have a meeting at Eko Hotel,” he said the first time I called him. “I need to know your personal plans before we can work.”

I wondered why we needed to meet outside a studio “just for chats”. Ain’t we supposed to be recording?

Eko Hotel was a stone throw from my office so no big deal. Plus I had read Reinhard’s profile online: He once worked at Chocolate City and had produced several hits including ‘The Chairman’ and ‘Young Denzel’ by MI Abaga, ‘Ten’ by Dj Spinall, ‘Illigati’ by Ill Bliss and ‘Safari’ by Victoria Kimani. So, I felt safe.

On the agreed date, I went straight from work to meet Reinhard at Eko Hotel Poolside. Funny enough, he didn’t ask much about the song I wanted to record. He was more interested in my personal life; he asked about my background, professional career as a Content Creator and TV Producer, relationship status, mental and financial state. He even asked me if I drank or smoked as well as my temperament.

To be sincere, it was unbearable at the first meeting discussing what I felt was not his business but after the 3rd meeting, I understood his motive. Reinhard believes that the life of a musician is more than just making music. It’s a combination of every factor that influences the music.

“AJ don’t worry about the song, we will make hits”, let’s worry about your personal life,” Reinhard said and I rolled my eyes.

According to Reinhard, a music artiste who can manage his/her mental, physical, emotional, financial state is more likely to sustain a career in music than one whose personal life is in shambles.

“You are an amazing singer and I am a hitmaker. Let’s sort other things first. So that when you blow, you can handle it.”

It wasn’t until after we were done “sorting the other things” that Reinhard sent me beats to choose from….that’s after I told him my music has to represent me: a fun-going preacher of love and happiness.

All the instrumentals he sent were nice though but one caught my attention the most — a highlife beat. The highlife vibe aligned with the local girl in me and I started writing to it immediately…

The song was built around, and was meant to be named, “Eva”, which means life, but somehow we ended up with the title “Live Up” (initially also titled “We Live Africa). To be sincere, “Live Up,” wasn’t my kinda song to sing, it was my kind of song to dance to so I had to sing it.

Our next meeting was at the Studio (Chocolate City Studio). It was quite seamless working with Reinhard, he knows his onions and knows how to garnish it with ginger. However, we some challenges during the recording – me dropping my R & B vibe to sing a highlife song and the part where I sang “Ololololo”.

“AJ, you don’t need to make it sound sexy, sing it like a bush girl,” Reinhard teased. After several tries, I eventually made it past Olor lor lor lor to OLOLOLOLO.

Immediately we were done, I sent the song to my acting manager, Abuchi, and he said, “well-done, this will work, but we need a feature on it, preferably, a male highlife singer.”

Who is available to jump on Live Up Asap? Whose voice best suits the vibe?

To be continued…

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