Music producer oddCouple: A rising star in Chicago

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - His sound has been thumping through Chicago's hip-hop scene for 10 years.

Now the producer oddCouple is a rising star on his own, creating music that defies labels.

“One of my main things is never to be able to be put in a box. In life, musically, whatever. I never want people to be able to describe me in one word,” said Zach Henderson, who adopted the stage moniker oddCouple.

The 6-foot-6, 28-year-old producer's musical life started back home in Milwaukee when he was pushed into the middle school orchestra.

“They forced us to do a fine arts in middle school so I picked what I estimated to be the coolest thing I could find - the upright bass,” Henderson said.

While he played classical and jazz, Henderson’s older brother introduced him to hip-hop. Kanye West's album "The College Dropout" convinced him to not simply play music but to create it.

“He was making these tracks from scratch, you know what I mean,” Henderson said about West. “He wasn't the best technical rapper or the best technical anything except that his beats were just amazing.”

Soon Henderson was making his own beats. When he came to Chicago in 2007 to attend DePaul University, he found himself in the middle of the city's rap renaissance.

“This happens once every few hundred years or something in a city, in an area like this. This is unbelievable. I never thought that I would see this happen, let alone be able to attribute to it,” Henderson said.

But it wasn't an easy rise. Just four years ago, Henderson was ready to quit, beat down by the business.

“I mean, you got one chance left cause I don't know how much more of this you can take. So try,” he said.

Henderson says he put everything he had into his first album, “Chatterbox.”

“Like, it saved my life. It allowed for me to be the person I am today,” Henderson said.

OddCouple became the house producer for Chicago's indie label Closed Sessions. He started collaborating with huge names on the city's hip-hop scene including Chance the Rapper, Jamila Woods, Joey Purp, and Kweku Collins.

His latest record, “Liberation” is propelling oddCouple to a new level of fame and it's helped him deal with a long ago loss. His father died when Henderson was just 12-years-old.

“Been able to look in the mirror and say like, you still miss your dad but there's nothing wrong with that. Stop running from that. Face that,” he said.

Henderson now wants to share his liberation with many others.

He'll curate his own music festival, Lakeside 4Cast, July 4.

“It's going to really create this time capsule moment for everybody to look in and be like, 'man, the fifth of July sucked and the third sucked but that fourth in 2017 was awesome."

OddCouple will hold that festival during Summerfest in his hometown of Milwaukee next week.

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