Nigerian women are killing it when it comes to music. Whether it’s Tems making history every three days or Tiwa Savage, Ayra Starr and Teni dropping chart-topping bangers, women on stage are booked and very busy. But the moment we step off that stage and go behind the scenes, especially in music production, we’re faced with the harsh truth that the music industry is still male-dominated. 


Music producers are an integral part of the music creation process. Even though they’ve been behind the scenes for years, we’ve come to know some of them and recognise their sounds. From Don Jazzy’s “It’s Don Jazzy again” carrying Mo’Hits in the mid-2000s to the signature sounds of KelP, Tempoe, P.Priime and Rexxie. These days, you can almost tell how good a song is going to be,  based on the producer tag that starts it off.

It’s easy to assume Nigeria doesn’t have female music producers when you hear the names dominating that aspect of the music space. But the truth is, female producers exist. They just don’t seem to be getting the same level of attention and clout as their male counterparts. 

It’s a global issue 

Women not getting their flowers or even opportunities in music production isn’t just a Nigerian thing. A 2020 Annenberg Study carried out by the University of Southern California found that women represented only 2% of credited producers of songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from 2012 to 2020. 

While Nigeria doesn’t have data on female producers, I doubt our numbers would be better. After all, no female producer has ever won the prestigious Headies award for Producer of the Year, even though three of the ten men who’ve won this award won it for producing songs for female artistes: Don Jazzy for Weird MC’s Ijoya in 2006, Cobhams Asuquo for Asa’s Bibanke in 2008 and Pheelz for Teni’s Billionaire in 2020. 

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Some of your favourite female singers are also producers


Producers becoming singers is nothing new in the Nigerian music industry. Before Young Jonn sang about being on his ten toes for Uloma and Pheelz sang about finessing in the face of SAPA, they produced songs for Olamide, Tiwa Savage and many others. Similarly, some female singers dominating the game right now are geniuses when it comes to cooking up beats. 

Tems’ For Broken Ears which had Damages, Free Mind and Higher

was almost solely produced by the singer herself. She also co-produced Try Me alongside Remy Baggins. She recently revealed in an interview that she started producing after everyone else refused to produce for her. Can you imagine any producer saying no to Tems now? 

Simi is another singer who doesn’t get the flowers she deserves for her work behind the scenes. Simi produces most of her own music and is credited as a producer and sound mixer on Adekunle Gold’s first album, Gold. She’s also a co-writer on Adekunle’s later songs like AG Baby, Call On Me and Mercy

“Who’s Bloody Civilian?” was a question that came up a lot when the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever featuring Burna Boy, Fireboy DML, Rema, Tems and CKay dropped in 2022. Wake Up, Bloody Civilian’s song on the album was a major standout and was produced by the singer herself. She’s also the producer behind her biggest hit yet, How to Kill a Man

Taking in Tems’ comment about being ignored by popular producers when she started, it’s easy to see why most of these women learnt how to produce and create the sound they wanted for themselves. But this doesn’t mean female producers aren’t laying down tracks for other people. 

Singer and producer, Dunnie is a graduate of the Sarz Music Academy, which also gave us Tempoe and P.Priime. Her client list includes Falz, Niniola, Ric Hassani, Busiswa, Focalistic and Yemi Alade. Wande Coal also revealed that Dunnie produced three songs on his upcoming Legend or No Legend album, describing her work as a masterpiece

The industry needs to create space for more female producers


Inclusion should be an important topic of conversation in the Nigerian music industry as we push Afrobeats to the world. One of the main reasons female producers, mixers and engineers haven’t gained the same level of traction as the men is because society inherently deems women unqualified to handle “technical” jobs, same as engineering, piloting and some other areas of tech. 

However, looking at the track record of some of these women who became producers out of necessity, it’s clear women can and have been doing the job. They just need the men to scoot over and create space at the table. That’s all. 

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