The 100 Years of Radio – 100 Years of Hit Makers limited series podcast gives music fans a front-row seat for conversations with songwriters behind some of the biggest hits of yesterday and today. You’ll learn the stories behind the songs from the people who wrote them. Each episode will focus on one writer: sometimes, they’ll just talk about one song, other times, they’ll talk about a number of hits.
100 Years of Radio – 100 Years of Hit Makers special podcast series is produced in partnership with Beasley Media Group, XPERI (HD Radio), and BMI in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the first commercial radio broadcast.
So, let’s talk about Brockhampton’s “Sugar.”
It all started when I met up with one of my friends, a guy called [Bowofoluwa Olufisayo] Odunsi. Odunsi (The Engine) is a Nigerian artist and producer. So I was hanging out with him. And Jabari [Manwa], who is one of the one of the members of Brockhampton. He was in London at the time and he was just hanging out with Odunsi over four or five days. You know, we just became really good friends. And he was like, “Hey if you are ever in L.A., come through, let’s make some great music and let’s just have fun.”
And so a couple of months later, I was touring with Burna Boy, I’m his guitarist, and we just finished Coachella. It was incredible, it was crazy. And after Coachella, I hit Jabari up: “Hey bro, let’s let’s do this, let’s work.”
So for three weeks after that we just just went in and just a bunch of songs and made a bunch of beats. And “Sugar” was one of those.
So, you’re Burna Boy’s guitar player, and you also write for other people.
Right, That’s correct.
Are you always saying, “Hey, man, I write songs too.”
[laughs] No, no, he loves to work with everyone and we actually have a song together. But, you know, that’s just one out of 10 million songs he has. Hopefully it will come out [at some point].
Are you a multi instrumentalist as well, or do you write everything on the guitar?
I actually grew up in church, so I got to learn everything. Guitar is my main instrument, but I also play keys. I play bass. I play drums. And the triangle [laughs]!
What do you remember specifically about “Sugar?” Was there a moment where it clicked and you’re like, “Whoa, this is going to go far?”
Right from the start, actually.
We had worked on, like, a gazillion songs. And I just started playing this riff on the guitar, the guitar progression that you hear on “Sugar.” And Jabari was like, “Oh, my God, that’s so dope! Record it!” So I recorded it. And then he starts working on the beat and then I jump on the keys, put some chords in and then put some bass in. Then he starts working on the hi-hats.
And then I went out for a meal and then by the time I was back, some of the other guys already started recording, The Brockhamton guys — I call them the Brockhampton family — they work really fast. Literally the song was done that day and by the next day it was getting mixed.
It clicked for me when we were hearing it back and I was just looking out the window into the pool in their mansion. And I was just like, “Man, this song is not only great, but it’s really capturing my heart and my soul. And I’m connecting to it on a spiritual level, you know?” And I just knew that, you know, the song is going to be something.
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