WPGM Commentary: E Kelly On Being An Artist And A&R For EmPawa


My name is Emmanuel Kelechi Nwosu (popularly known as E Kelly) and I’m a Nigerian Afrobeats music producer, songwriter, sound Engineer and A&R to emPawa Africa, best known for hit songs with Mr Eazi such as “Leg Over”, “Pour Me Water” and “Supernova”. I started my professional producer career in 2009 after relocating from Jos to Lagos (Nigeria) on the wheels of my childhood friend MI Abaga from Chocolate City Music.

In 2016, I reconnected with Mr Eazi following his early successes with singles “Holl Up” and “Skin Tight”. At the first recording session, “Leg Over” was completed in less than two hours, which sparked unusual creative chemistry between him and I. In the following years, we got to work extensively & collaborate on a lot of projects.

Working as an A&R was a natural fit for me based on my experience in the industry, I was fortunate to work with other great artistes like Naeto C, Waje, Patoranking, Wizkid, MI Abaga and the Chocolate City crew, before teaming up with Mr Eazi and Banku Music and consequently emPawa Africa. My experiences varied from individual track production, live music and subsequently supervising entire album projects.

One of the projects that prepared me for my role as an A&R was the album God Over Everything (G.O.E) by Patoranking from 2016. My experience working with various types of artists puts me on the front line on making key decisions as to how artistes should navigate on a creative level, a deep level of trust and respect and a positive reputation has also been built over the years through hard work and consistent delivery on projects.

With emPawa Africa, the work relationship has been a natural flow, evolving from work done with Mr Eazi on his Life is Eazi projects to working with pioneer emPawa artists, Joeboy and J.Derobie.

Joeboy was put in sessions with me for about three to five months where I mentored him on songwriting and the understanding of recording pop music, one of the songs off the experiment “Faaji” featuring Mr Eazi was released before his official single “Baby” in 2019.

My decision to release a debut project had been in the works since 2014, the basic limiting factor was a support system to make the releases smooth and have the required impact.

I started recording the EP in 2016 with songs like “Need Somebody” by Mr Eazi, and other tracks that did not make the final cut, as well as a lot of the songs on the EP including the upcoming single “Confetti” featuring Boybreed, Minz & co-produced by BeatsbyKO.

Recording the EP was just like every day work, the team of artists are close friends so it was all organic and good vibes. Sweeping through roles as an A&R and artist has been pretty easy, because I spend 90% of my time working as an A&R and minimum time as an emPawa artist.

We have a great administrative team that makes it so easy, I focus on creating and producing the final output, they focus on the business and release schedules. As an emPawa A&R, it is a new phase of work with the upcoming emPawa 30 artists’ releases coupled with existing artists, Joeboy, J.Derobie and Mr Eazi, it’s about to be a roller coaster.

I am looking forward to positive responses for my upcoming No Secrets EP, which I believe is one of the best AFRO-RNB projects yet to be released, it features Boybreed, King Perry, Mr Eazi, Joeboy and Minz, with co-producers such as TUC, SynX and BeatsbyKO.

The new E Kelly EP No Secrets is out now via emPawa Africa, purchase it on iTunes here and stream it on Spotify below

Words by E Kelly // Follow him on Twitter + Instagram

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