Breaking Through: Behind the boards with local producer

At Blue Door Recording Studio in Regina’s Warehouse District, the speakers are being put to the test as Martin Simpenzwe plays his newest collaboration with mainstream rapper Roddy Ricch.

Sitting at the mixing boards, admiring his latest accomplishment, Simpenzwe recalls the steps he had to take in order to achieve working with some of his favourite artists.

“I was trying to be a lawyer, I was going to go into Business at the University of Regina, but I was always making music,” Simpenzwe said. “When I started in the eleventh grade, I was just doing it for fun. Like, I literally would be walking through classes with a MIDI keyboard. When I graduated from high school, I started to take it more seriously.”

Growing up in Regina, Simpenzwe is the son of a pastor of the Shekinah Eagle centre. Driven by the many talented musicians that would perform during his father’s services, he quickly adopted the skills of playing drums. From there, his curiosity and skill only bettered.

“I grew up in the church, my dad is a pastor,” Simpenzwe said, adding that half of regular service was made up of music.

Apart from the inspiration of his church’s music, and the cycle of talented musicians that would perform around him, Simpenzwe took initiative and began learning music theory on his own.

“I was learning how to read sheet music on my own at the crib, I was just so interested after hearing so many great musicians come through,” said Simpenzwe.

Social media has increased accessibility for those who want to connect to bigger artists and representatives. Simpenzwe has utilized this tool to his advantage.

“You really have to make an impact by constantly reaching out, and being present, always reaching out and being a face that they will remember,” said Simpenzwe.

“The most direct way of communication I can get with a producer or who I’m trying to network with, I would just hop in an Instagram live and talk to them. It wouldn’t be work driven initially, I’d just be building a relationship.”

Recently, Simpenzwe has enlisted the help of local musicians. Engineering Student and multi-instrumentalist, Isaac Labrie-Boulay, is overjoyed that his recent collaboration with Simpenzwe has reached a mainstream format.

“It was pretty surreal, there’s a bit of a buzz that comes with it,” said Boulay.

His friendship with Simpenzwe has not only been an asset to their creative drive, but also has given him a chance to witness Simpenzwe working on his passion.

“He works like a horse, he’s nonstop at what he does, he’s extremely productive and has infinite music wisdom.”

Although a difficult industry to break into, Simpenzwe wants more influence. He wishes to not only highlight his skills but more importantly bring others success. In order to do this, Simpenzwe is making a name for himself by being unique, and focusing on long lasting relationships with creative minds alike: “It’s too easy to make music today, it’s too easy to make high quality music, it’s more important to stand out.”

Martin Simpenzwe in his element

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