Beat builder

By day Takudzwa Paradza paints newly built homes, while at night he's busy building beats.

By Francesca Emms
Photography by Tamara Jones

Featured in Capital #77. Subscribe to get the real thing here.

By day Takudzwa Paradza paints newly built homes, while at night he’s busy building beats.

TK Paradza is more than 200 days into a 365 Beat Challenge – he is making a new beat every day for one year. “The one-year challenge was something I began on Instagram as a way of getting better at my craft and to apply all the skills and techniques I learnt during my university studies.”

TK describes himself as a beat maker and songwriter. “I make podcast music, Afrobeats music, Trap beats, lo-fi beats, hip-hop beats, and R&B/Pop music.” The process is quite organic; he doesn’t go into making a beat knowing exactly what he’s going to make. “I’ve got a library of sounds that are my go-to, then I play around with some melodies on the keyboard for ages until I hear something that excites me.” From there he’ll add sound ideas and rhythmic patterns into a beat until he’s exhausted his ideas. “Then I begin the process of removing sounds out of the music with the intention of keeping the beat simple but interesting enough to inspire an artist who might be keen to write and record to it.” He knows the beat is done when he feels it’s good enough to upload to his beat store, Taku Musiq, for an artist to purchase.

Growing up TK was surrounded by music and creativity. “My grandfather was a song composer. He would sing his compositions mostly at family gatherings, and my uncle was an animal sculptor. My family play a variety of music, Central-West African music, country music, South African music, and Zimbabwean music.”

TK says he doesn’t go out much. If he’s not at work as a painter/decorator, he’ll be in his home studio creating music. “When I noticed how much my music production was ‘levelling up’ and I started making money from selling beats I focused on creating an album/playlist of songs that I wrote, produced, mixed, and mastered myself for release later in 2021.” Outside his day job all he does is create music, he says, although “I make a decent breakfast at weekends and Sundays are my Ultimate Fighting Championship days where I mostly watch the main events.” He also spends time with family and his partner, Sarah, who he describes as the most important person in his life. “She has really seen me through some of my worst times and very best times.”

Home is wherever his family is, “I was born and raised Zimbabwean so my home country and heart will always in Zimbabwe, but Aotearoa is where I live now and it’s home.” TK loves Wellington. “On a beautiful day, everything in Wellington looks greener, clearer, and more peaceful.” Another favourite place is Tauranga: “It reminds me of Surfers Paradise in Australia but with much nicer people,” he laughs. And he loves holidaying in Fiji. “I would go back there often if I could because their culture reminds me a lot of Zimbabwe.” 

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