Zim producer Brian Soko on top of the world

Zimbabwe-born producer Brian Soko has made history as not only the first Zimbabwean but also the youngest African producer to win in multiple contemporary categories at both the Grammy Awards and Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) Awards in the USA.

Brian Soko (in white) gives his Grammy acceptance speech.
Brian Soko (in white) gives his Grammy acceptance speech.

Soko (23), along with his production partners Rasool Diaz and Andre Proctor, known collectively as The Order, won two awards at the prestigious 57th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday 8 February in Los Angeles for their work on Beyoncé’s double platinum record Drunk In Love ft. JayZ - Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance.

Soko and The Order were nominated in a total of five categories, also including Best Rap Album (for Wiz Khalifa’s Blacc Hollywood), Best Contemporary Album and Album Of The Year.

In his Grammy acceptance speech, Soko sent out a special message to his homeland of Zimbabwe: “I just hope the people of Zimbabwe are proud of me for this achievement and that this sends a message to young African creative professionals around the world, that anything is possible if you work hard doing what you love.”

Soko comes from humble beginnings in the small town of Chiredzi. As a young boy he also lived in Masvingo, Harare, Mutare and Chinhoyi. He short stints in Lusaka in Zambia, Newcastle in the UK and in South Africa before moving to the USA at the age of 14, where he went on to study sound engineering in Tampa, Florida, graduating in 2012. While at university he met Diaz and Proctor and formed The Order.

The Order were discovered by Detail, a songwriter at Young Money Records They have since produced over 20 hit singles, including Birdman’s ‘Tap Out’ and Lil Wayne’s ‘No Worries’. They have also produced tracks by artists such as Future, Drake, Ashanti, BOB, Teyana Tayler and Nikki Minaj, among others. In 2013 The Order signed a publishing deal with Warner Music. Soko has also produced track for Tinashe, whose father is Zimbabwean, on her 2014 album Aquarius, as well as South African artists Cassper Nyovest (‘Phumakim) and KO (‘Mission Statement').

Soko is also the co-founder of Anashe Media Group, a management, marketing and production company focusing on the African music sector.

In an interview with Zimbabwe’s Sunday Mail, Soko paid credit to his earliest influences, African music greats of the 80s and early 90s such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Brenda Fassie, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Lucky Dube and Congolese soukous star Kanda Bongo Man. 

He also revealed that that he is working with a number of Zimbabwean producers, such as Simba Tagz of Showtime Records, Tatenda Kamera of Kamikazi Entertainment and Shayzar Zimanyi of Mix Masters Entertainment, promising: “You can expect some exciting new stuff in the near future.”

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