You can find the name of a former Revelstoke Grizzly in the credits of Lil Baby and Lil Durk’s album Voice of Heroes, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, after its release June 4.
Nii Noi Tetteh, who produces music under the name KJ, started playing around with sound engineering while recovering from hockey injuries.
Though it was always his plan to play hockey, after breaking his kneecap playing in the BCHL, it wasn’t the same when he returned to the ice.
He said the 360-degree change from sports to music wasn’t as hard as he thought.
“By the time I was ready to quit, when I broke my knee, the reason I was ready was because I was starting to like music a little more — at least I have something else to occupy myself with,” he said.
Though Tetteh went on to formally study sound engineering, he started learning from YouTube videos. He credits a lot of his success to his brother, who raps under the name Leno TK.
“Hearing artist vocals over my stuff gave me perspective on which way I needed to go when I was making mistakes and stuff like that,” Tetteh said.
The two have done two albums together.
“I love working with him the most, it is definitely my favourite music,” Tetteh said.
Tetteh was discovered when a producer played his track on an Instagram live video. He has signed a contract with an agent and is now working from his home studio in Revelstoke as a producer.
“It doesn’t usually happen like that,” he said with a laugh.
In a way, the pandemic has helped his career move forward. Artists are more accessible online than they might have been before, he said.
Meek Mill’s team flew Tetteh down to Atlanta earlier this year to work on Still Runnin, by Lil Baby and Lil Durk, featuring Meek Mill.
As of July 26, Still Runnin has 12.3 million streams on Spotify and the lyric video has 5.6 million views on YouTube.
Tetteh said working with rappers and bigger producers was nerve-wracking at first, however, he found that most of them were chill and just loved creating music.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought. It seems overwhelming when you see them from the outside looking in but once I got to be around them and whatnot, it was a cool experience.”
Tetteh’s family is very musical. His dad, who is from Ghana, creates traditional African music. His mom sings and his grandma plays the piano, but it wasn’t until hockey was no longer on the table that Tetteh found his own love for music.
He said without his family the lessons learned from hockey coaches, he would not be doing what he is doing.