fashion MUSIC NEWS

Tedd Josiah on Choosing to Focus on Building a Designer Brand over Music

Tedd Josiah is a Veteran Kenyan music producer turned fashion designer and creative director of Jokajok brand.

Jokajok, an African luxury leather bag line that Tedd Josiah says is not a side hustle but a means of income to feed his baby and create jobs for able Kenyans.

Tedd Josiah started out as a musician briefly with the group Ebony Affair before forming a new group, Hart in 1993. The group was disbanded in 1995 and Josiah joined Sync Sound Studios as a producer.

He is credited for producing compilation albums called ‘Kenyan, The First Chapter’ and ‘Kenyan, The Second Chapter’. The two albums featured Kalamashaka, Gidi GidiMaji Maji, Necessary Noize, Jimmy Gathu, Maina Kageni, and Pete Odera. He discovered Reggae/Dancehall star Wyre and was also the founder of Kisima Awards, the premier annual musical awards in Kenya.

In a very previous statement on Facebook . Tedd details his observations of the music industry which have prompted him to focus on building a luxury brand instead.

May be an image of purse, saddle-stitched leather and outerwear

Below is the full statement :

“The year 2000 i was 30 years old and on top of my music game like MADD!!!!!! Anything i made would hit the charts in East Africa and make a mark. Hardstone, Nazizi, Wyre, Gidi, Maji, Niki, darlin P, kalamashaka and a lot more were making it big cause of my input as a producer author composer and director.But looking at the zeros and ones music wasn’t paying. I had to look for commercials to make, get paid then use that money to invest back into musicians. Not all projects brought back returns for us as a studio, sales would barely cover the production cost on a lot of these projects so unless we got sponsors for the albums things would always be a labour of love. My good friend Gerrard from french cultural centre stepped in on occasion and supported a lot of Afro fusion musicians like Susana Owiyo, Yunasi, Achein Abura (RIP), Abbi Mudunia and a couple more… But looking at the bottom line this was still a labour of love until 2002 when we released Unbwogable with Gidi Gidi Maji Maji and the political doors opened up with tones of cash to buy rights… but that season died down too.Now musicians though they complain will still make more money than the producer who will have to invest a lot more to set up a studio and run it is a massive investment.Why did i walk away from it all?I looked at the way my bigger brothers and music producers older than me were suffering and struggling, the way they were fighting to stay alive, some even selling their studios even the platinum plaques on the walls… the way they were being looked at as trashed and their value in society being taken for granted. For instance we know the song “malaika” do we know the session musicians who played on it or the producer who brought it to life?I have seen 1st hand how cruel people can be after you’ve invested in them and built them. I’ve seen how media can take ur name and drag it in the mud cause some drug dealing musician has paid them to make sure they have a better fighting chance of making it than you do. I’ve seen fake distribution companies and briefcase publishing companies with empty promises take on artists music and vanish with the cash….I’ve seen famous musicians children end up as pole dancers in night clubs just to make ends meet. Yet their fathers were HUGE artists.So when you see my love hate relationship with music know that it runs deep and God forcefully redirected my path to something that can at least put a little food on my table. Music is beautiful but like all things beautiful in Kenya we have a way of killing them”

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