‘When I got into radio production, a lot of producers were either too scared or too lazy to try.’ Tyrone Grandeur
Advertising goes a long way in elevating brand success for any brand, and in a country such as Nigeria, broadcast media remains one of the most viable mediums of advertisement. The voices we hear on radio and TV promoting brands and advertising products often shape our perception of brands. In many more ways than not, voiceover production and brand advertisement have influenced pop-culture In Nigeria. Brands now look to musicians and pop-culture icons as ambassadors for their products. Evidence of this is, is the recent Guinness Smooth campaign that featured Fireboy DML, Beverly Naya, social media icon, Oli Ekun – popularly known for his “Agba” skits on Twitter.
We speak with Tyrone – music producer, Voice over producer & Brand Strategist, and Head of Programs at Cool FM Nigeria on the influence of the voice-over industry on brands in media and outside of media.
Did you ever think you will end up in radio or broadcasting? And if. Not what did you think you will be doing with your life?
Not at all. I studied microbiology actually and even though I wasn’t hoping to be in broadcasting I knew I was never going to be stuck at a lab practicing, I didn’t like blood but I liked the radio and listened when I could.
It’s said the signature of a radio station is its sound. How have you been able to combine and create independent sound effects for the biggest media houses in broadcasting?
When I got into radio production, a lot of producers were either too scared or too lazy to try. It was easier to just cut effects and promos from pre-existing audios done by foreign radio stations and producers and then add a local station slogan and boom – you had something. But that “something” was not original to you and could be heard in many other stations and with many other productions. My professional pride just wouldn’t let me do that. I wondered why they wouldn’t just create their own and make a unique sound that can always be traced back to you. So I started and trained myself and used the limited resources around me at the time to make magic and basically revolutionized radio and TV audio production in Nigeria.
Back then, a lot of people used to think the stations I worked for were subscribed to some foreign production house. It was the “foreign” production but with Nigerian voices. It got them thinking, perhaps these productions were done in Nigeria. for those who took the extra effort to find out, they did and were amazed. One person talks to another and I ended up changing audio production for a lot of entertainment houses (radio/TV) in Nigeria. Can’t mention names due to the nature of the deals
Do you really know how instrumental you are, or the immense role you play in the commercial aspect of storytelling for brands?
The brand story is an important aspect of creating and brand narrative and indeed a brand voice which in turn hugely influences the public perception of a brand. As I have learned over the years, perception is many times more important than reality. A brand can be the best at creating a given product or providing a service but if it’s not perceived as such nor occupy that mind space, it’s similar to winking in the dark. Creating that narrative and perception through various media is what I now specialize on.
Bringing ideas to life is something I’ve always been passionate about. Whether it’s a song, radio jingle, radio drama series, producing a concert, scoring a movie, creating a TV commercial or social media campaign, I’m happy to do it and the satisfaction of my clients is my “orgasm”
Who was the first major client you got for producing jingles?
Major client, I’d say the Tolaram group: makers of Indomie, Power oil, Nobel Carpet, Hypo, Munch It, Minimie chin chin and noodles, Magik fruit drink etc. A very illustrious group. They pull no punches when it comes to advertising and supporting laudable causes. I’m so proud to be associated with them and to be a part of telling their brand story for several years now
But before them, I was working other brands off and on with more of my focus on radio and production at the time
What inspires your creative process?
First is clarity. If the brand handlers are very clear on the message what they want to pass across, I’m a creative and will certainly be able to find ways to communicate their ideas. Also the concept of garbage in and garbage out has never been truer at any moment in my life than now. I often occupy my mind with creative concepts of others that I admire as this sparks up your own creativity and gets the juices flowing
Do you think the voice over industry is a viable market or still need structure and support?
It certainly needs some structure but like everything in Nigeria, you have to find a way to benefit from the chaos. There are many benefits you get from a well-structured industry that don’t seem to be obtainable here. Like when I’ve worked with foreign clients, I get paid a “usage” fee for as long as the stuff’s in use. That’s not the case here but hey, we move.