Meet the female musicians redefining beats and breaking barriers as producers

The Nigerian music industry has experienced a surge in popularity and revenue due to the emergence of the genre Afrobeats in the last decade, resulting in a global appreciation of Nigerian music and its artists. The decade saw the rise of several female artists and producers who aren’t just an addition to statistics but artists who dominate the local and global music scene.

Artists like Tiwa Savage, Tems, Ayra Starr, and Bloody Civilian are killing it right, from getting global nominations and recognitions to making appearances on international stages, and they continue to deliver hit songs.

The art of making songs takes an entire creative process, and every creative process involves the artists, their vocal deliveries, the lyrics, and record producers, who are mostly behind the spotlight. Renowned music producer  Dan Korneff explained the role of music producers as “overseeing the entire process. Music producers arrange music and suggest musical and lyrical changes. A music producer collaborates with the artist to select which songs make it onto the album. They give ideas about what the sonic landscape should be. The music producer selects audio engineers and mixers and supervises the creative process.”

The music scene often appears to be dominated by males, especially because males are disproportionately represented in key industry roles compared to females. The disparity between male and female producers is even more pronounced. Still, despite the male-dominated landscape, some female producers are carving out their place and deserve recognition for their contributions to the industry. These talented women continue to leave their marks on the music industry, breaking barriers and reshaping the sound of popular music.

Here are a few female producers breaking barriers in the music industry;


Temilade Openiyi is a talented Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer who has made a significant impact in the music industry with her unique sound and style, which has earned her much global recognition, including a Grammy Award in 2023.

Her production skills add depth to her artistry, allowing her to create music that resonates with her audience. By infusing her personal touch into the production, she delivers a distinct and memorable sound that sets her apart in the music industry. However, Tems’ production career did not start by choice. In a recent interview, she revealed that she had to learn to produce her music because men wouldn’t take her seriously. She has since gone on to master the craft and use it to create magic. She takes creative control of her music, crafting sounds that beautifully complement her vocals and lyrical themes. Tems’ production process involves a meticulous approach to creating music that resonates with her audience.

Tems produced songs on her first EP, “For Broken Ears,” which shot her into the limelight, and she continues to grow and co-produce her music. Overall, Tems’ music-producing career showcases her versatility and talent in the music scene.


Simi, also known as Simisola Bolatito Kosoko, is a talented Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer. Her mesmerising voice captivates fans, but it’s her production skills that truly set her apart. Taking creative control, she shapes sounds that harmonise flawlessly with her vocals and lyrical content. In an interview, Simi expresses her love for the post-recording process and how her ability to produce music adds depth to her artistry, allowing her to create music that resonates with her audience.

She’s not afraid to explore different dimensions in her music production, showcasing her versatility and talent. Simi produces most of her music and co-produces songs for other artists, including Adekunle Gold, who constantly credits her for writing and producing some of his songs.

Bloody Civilian

Bloody Civilian, also known as Emoseh Khamofu, differs from your typical musician. She’s a singer, songwriter, and record producer who’s shaking things up in the Afrobeat scene. She has been crafting beats since the age of 12 and penned her first song on tissue paper. Her music stands out for its raw honesty and authentic storytelling, which addresses personal struggles and social issues with catchy melodies. As a skilled producer, she shapes her music’s soundscapes, maintaining full creative control to ensure every note and beat aligns perfectly with her message.

Her recent feature in Lucid Monday, a producer-centric magazine, is a testament to her talent and unique production style. Being recognised alongside renowned producers like The Alchemist and Zaytoven is a significant achievement, especially as the only Nigerian producer on the list. This recognition not only showcases her skills but also shines a spotlight on the Nigerian music scene. Additionally, her Grammy nomination and other international acknowledgments are paving the way for Nigerian producers to gain well-deserved international acclaim. It’s fantastic to see her contributions being celebrated on a global scale!


Dunnie started her production journey as a graduate of The Sarz Academy, a platform founded by the renowned Nigerian producer Sarz to nurture upcoming producers. She is not only a talented producer but also a skilled instrumentalist, having learned to play the drum, guitar, and piano in her family church in Ibadan.

Her diverse musical background and training have undoubtedly contributed to her unique sound and artistry. She describes her experience in ways that show a complex mix of challenges and rewards, but she acknowledges its benefits, saying, “I would say I have an edge as a producer more than as a singer.”

In 2018, Duni established Audio Girl Africa, a non-profit organisation in Lagos, Nigeria, which aims to create a safe space for female creatives interested in music production, sound engineering, and the music business to grow. Audio Girl Africa has successfully trained over 500 women and continues to be instrumental in ensuring that women achieve their dreams.

So far, she has worked with many of Africa’s biggest stars, including Wande Coal, Yemi Alade, Niniola, Sean Tizzle, Focalistic and Busiswa, and brands like Ciroc, Oppo, and Maggi.

Lady Donli


Zainab Elizabeth Donli, an alternative artist and part of Lagos Panic, is famous for her track “Cash.” Interestingly, her music journey took an unconventional route. Despite holding a Law degree, she was headed in a different direction. However, her love for music shone through, prompting her on a rebellious streak, which is reflected in her music, as she frequently questions societal standards and embraces uniqueness.

Lady Donli brings a unique mix of genres to her music. Her soulful vocals remind one of classic R&B, while her lyrics blend hip-hop elements and storytelling similar to Asa. Her talent lies in her talent to seamlessly integrate alternative influences, creating a style that is truly her own. As an indie artist in Nigeria, her ability to be heard is a refreshing experience for her fans.

She completely produced her EP, Enjoy Your Life, released in 2021.

Women not getting their flowers or even opportunities in music production isn’t just a Nigerian thing. According to a study on representation and equality in the music industry, only 3.4 percent of producers were female, while approximately 96.6 percent were male. However, women have shown that they are more than willing to put in enough effort, just as men do, if not more, to get the job done and get the recognition they deserve.


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