As well as being a composer and multi-instrumentalist, Tunde Jegede is also a prolific songwriter working within a spectrum of diverse idioms. Over the years he has worked closely with singers from a variety of genres including: R&B, African, Gospel, Jazz, Reggae, Hip Hop and Opera.
His training as song writer began when as a child Tunde wrote poetry at the Keskidee Centre, where his father was the resident artist. There at the UK 's first Black Arts Centre, he was surrounded by singers, writers and poets: such as Bob Marley, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Edgar White, Len Garrison and Walter Rodney. At the same time he was also a chorister in a boy's choir that toured Cathedrals across the country. All these early influences contributed to his growing respect for the Word.
By the age of 15 Tunde had been exposed to various musical idioms and his love of Western and African Classical music, gave birth to a growing interest in Jazz and it's related artforms. He was particularly interested in the connections between African Music and that of its Diaspora. Tunde formed a Jazz trio at school with pianist/composer, Benet Mclean, and began to do arrangements of Miles Davis's 'So What' and the Jazz Warriors' 'In Reference to Our Forefather's Dreams' for Kora, Piano and Percussion as well as his own pieces and songs. These musical explorations added to Tunde's already diverse musical vocabulary and his understanding and appreciation of melody within composition began to take root.
Over the years Tunde has worked and performed with many great vocalists both on stage and in recordings. This allowed him to develop and hone his skills in the arena of song writing which led him to work with an amazing array of artists including: Caron Wheeler, Paul Reid, Des'ree, Noel Mckoy, Martin Okasili, Jackie Dankworth, Cleveland Watkiss, Eska Mtungwazi, Kasse Mady, Oumou Sangare, Damon Albarn, Misty Oldland, Gweneth Ann-Jeffers and the East London Choir. Working with such a diverse pool of artists helped Tunde to understand the universal principles of good song writing.
In 1995 Tunde was commissioned to write a piece for Opera Soprano, Tenor and Piano Trio by the Concordia Foundation, which was premiered in Caux, Switzerland. In 1998 he composed a work entitled, 'The Spirit' scored for an Opera Soprano, Gospel Vocalist, Choir and Orchestra as part of the Emidy Project. In 2000 he was commissioned by Wingfield Arts/ Eastern Orchestral Board to write a song cycle for the jazz singer, Jackie Dankworth, accompanied by a Jazz Quartet and String Quartet. In 2001 he was commissioned to write an Oratorio for the City of Milton Keynes including music and libretto involving a cast of over 200 performers.
However, Tunde's work outside of the classical world began in earnest with The Miracles Project, which brought him into contact with young singers & rappers. This inspired him to start writing songs for a range of idioms including Reggae, Gospel, Urban, Pop and Hip Hop. This was a pivotal moment in Tunde's musical journey and whilst continuing to work within the classical world (Commissioned recently by The Royal Opera House and The Battersea Arts Centre to write a new version of The Last Supper and a Chamber Opera of Princess Diana's death entitled: The People's Princess), he has expanded his scope and repertoire by working with new and established commercial artists.
In 2004 Tunde Jegede formed a small production company, ACM Productions, through which his song writing abilities could be explored and developed to the full. For more info on his work as a producer please visit ACM Productions.