Harry Newman quoted ‘Not all legends are about victory. Some are about struggle, finding out who they are and their reason for being.’ Tedd Josiah, a music and film producer, has found his reason for being in the world of arts: to inspire the next generation of African artists.
Born in 1970, Tedd started as a musician with the group Ebony Affair and later formed a new group, Hart, which was disbanded in 1995. For the next several years, he worked as a producer in Sync Sound Studios and Audio Vault Studios (later renamed Blue Zebra).
As a music producer, Tedd is accredited for being among the first pioneers to nurture local Kenyan talent such as that of Hardstone, Kalamashaka, Gidi Gidi Maji Maji, Necessary Noize, In-Tu, Pete Odera, Ndarling P and Ugandan musician Kawesa. He has also worked with Poxi Presha, Suzzana Owiyo, Achieng’ Abura, Abbi, and Didge among others.
In the film industry, Tedd produced the sound track for the movie project Daddy, a Judy Kibinge film. In 2004 he filmed, directed and edited VIPI, an urban youth TV program showcasing the lifestyle of the Kenyan youth, aired on KTN, which had over 10 million viewers. In 2007 Tedd produced BODA 2 BODA, a youth magazine show aired on TBC (Tanzanian local TV station) and later in 2008 produced a Mombasa Public beach safety documentary aimed to raise awareness and funding for public safety on the beach. During this period, he also worked on many music videos for artists from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and United Kingdom.
In the 2007-2008 elections, Tedd campaigned for one of the political parties, ODM. During the post-election crisis, he felt his life was threatened and moved to London. His passion for the arts had no boundaries and as he was away from home, he worked as the Executive Producer and content manager for NN24 Nigeria, a news and information channel. He also worked with Steel Drum Studios in London (UK), handling mainly motion graphics, animation and Live Action for clients like Sony and Nike.
In August 2012, Tedd came back home to Kenya with a mission to nurture NEW talent, hence the creation of Sand Stone Studio (S3 Studio). S3 Studio is a Music-Video-Film-Graphics-Animation studio, encompassing all things creative. His vision is that it is time for Africans to take charge of Africa’s history and future by telling the real African story through our diverse talents in the arts. He aspires to revolutionize the industry by nurturing new and untapped talent, giving back to the society in the world of arts and showing young people that they can make a career out of their talents.
Tedd not only sees a need to come up with our own take on genres that do not necessarily come out of Africa but also clearly define our own local genres and make them marketable to the rest of the world: “I’d like to go back to the core of music and seeing how we can redefine the genres coming out of Kenya. I don’t think they’ve been adequately placed for the rest of the world to consume…”
On the emerging digital market for creative products in Africa, Tedd sees this as not only a cost-effective way of getting you products out there (no costs in terms of printing material or making CDs), it is also a good thing for the environment as well. “We need to consume more digital products to save our beautiful Africa… it is a win-win-win situation!” He also does not see why we should not become more “Chinese” in the sense of becoming a nation of developers and producers in all aspects including the creative industry: “If we do not become producers…what is left for Africa?”
Listen to my entire conversation with Tedd Josiah below:
Vered Ehsani is a writer, an environmental consultant & a radio show host of Africa Creates. Africa Creates is an online radio show that provides a platform for African writers, musicians, filmmakers & other artists to be heard & promoted both locally & internationally.