Award-winning British-Ghanaian record producer, Julian Nii Ayitey Adjin Nicco-Annan, better known as Juls, has described what he believes makes a good Afrobeats song.
For him, a perfect Afrobeats tune should have a pleasant groove and tempo that can make people dance, and once the audience can jam with the song, then “you know you have a hit song.”
Also a Disc Jockey (DJ) and songwriter, Juls explained that the elements of his productions originate from his homeland, Ghana, which is the hub of Highlife and Hiplife music.
“One thing about African music is the groove and the tempo, and we love to dance…if those elements are in there then it’s perfect,” Juls told BBC Africa.
He indicated that the sound of African music remained unique irrespective of the “spin people put on it.” Personally, he likes to use some traditional African instruments which make his production stand out.
“I like to mess with certain instruments with very distinct sounds, like the guitar, saxophone, and light percussions or har-knocking drums.
“African drums are used across the world…our instruments are just so internationally recognized and people use it and have their spin to it. Africans have a way of playing their instruments and when you hear it, you definitely know…and if people can dance and enjoy the vibe then you know you have a hit for sure,” he stated.
When in his home country, the 38-year-old prefers to spend time at the beaches in Ghana to draw inspiration for his productions by “listening to the sea” which he says is “nice and peaceful.”
He says music producers should use their “power to their advantage,” since they were “the foundation of the sound.”
Juls is considered one of the pioneering producers of African music in the diaspora particularly in Afrobeats circles. He was born in Hackney, East London to musically inclined parents who moved from Ghana to Britain.
He is best known for the production of songs like Bankulize and Skin Tight by Mr Eazi which accrued over two million views on YouTube. Other projects he has worked on include Feel Alright by Show Dem Camp, Rudebwoi Love by Stonebwoy and Gwarn by Burna Boy.
Juls had his education in London, acquiring a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Finance from the University of Surrey.
He won Producer of the Year at the Ghana Music Awards UK and Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) in 2017. He also was nominated for Best African Act at the Music of Black Origin Awards that same year.