At last, the Mavin boss has landed a big signing.
(In)Famously known for being a man of few words, Don Jazzy gets antsy whenever he’s asked about D’banj. He fidgets, he squirms, he gives a vague answer and then he pivots. There’s a very good reason: he has never been able to replace the artiste that D’banj was.
Since the dissolution of Mo’hits in 2012, Don Jazzy has had to work more to recreate the magic that he and D’banj once shared. In fairness, while D’banj has yet to recover from the breakup; Don Jazzy has created a roster of artistes that are close.
As D’banj continues to struggle to find the winning combination of producers and management, Jazzy seems to have found a formula that works: the Mavin 2.0 comprising Dr Sid, Tiwa Savage, D’Prince, Korede Bello, Reekado Banks and Di’ja. All six of them owe any success they have to the sheer genius of Don Jazzy.
However, with the exception of say Tiwa Savage; Mavin has lacked a marquee signing in the mould of D’banj. What they’ve had is a collection of bit part players similar to the Arsenal team before the arrival of Mesut Oezil: Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh and Armand Traore can only try to finish fourth, they cannot win the championship.
That has been the story of Mavin – a collection of unproven (albeit talented) artistes driven only by the might of a single individual – until now.
Iyanya has had to deal with a lot of obstacles himself. He had to switch is sappy R&B tendencies to a more acceptable pop sound resulting in the ground breaking success of Kukere. Then he started a label, Made Men Music Group with his friend and manager Ubi Franklin. Their success together hit an iceberg and crashed this year when it became obvious that both parties could no longer work together.
Two artistes under the label, Emma Nyra and Baci left; Tekno, who is otherwise the youngest and least experienced among them, experienced (pun intended) a spurt that saw him overtake Iyanya’s standing within the label. One could say without bias that in 2016, Iyanya has stagnated. His last album Applaudise was a disappointing flop.
His redemption has come in the form of a call-up to Mavin. Iyanya has proven that his does have actual musical talent – which D’banj is reputed to have very little of; he has charisma – which D’banj undoubtedly have loads of and star power that the younger crop of Mavins only can aspire to at this stage.
The recruitment of Iyanya into Mavin Records is a win-win for both parties. One could argue that it is a win more for Iyanya than it is for Don Jazzy. After all, he could forge ahead with his three ‘children’ as he calls Korede Bello, Di’ija and Reekado Banks.
But the truth of the matter is, ‘children’ can only take him so far. Mavin Records needs an already made player. That has been missing since D’banj walked out of Mo’hits. They need an artiste with A-list type of star power. They need an artiste that can operate on the same level as Don Jazzy’s, not ones that have to look up to him to always carry them.
That precisely is what Iyanya brings to the team. Since his arrival on the scene in 2011 he has shown that he’s capable of making monster hits. His list of hits includes Jomobolo, Your Waist, Sexy Mama and Gift where he featured Don Jazzy.
His backstory is also inspiring: his two parents and elder brother all died within a year of one another. In addition, apart from Chidinma, he’s the only other Project Fame winner to still be relevant. And that is as far back as 2008. Other winners are as forgettable as the Mavin compilation album of 2012. All of these attributes make him an already successful star that will benefit any record label.
Don Jazzy spoke of the chemistry he and Iyanya shared the from the instant they worked together. ‘From he first time I stepped into the studio with him, there was an instant chemistry and energy. He is an amazing talent and he has great musical versatility‘. That’s different from how he speaks about his other artistes. He talks about those as though they were charity cases and there’s already talk of letting them go once their contract expires in a few months.
With Iyanya, he knows he has got a huge star, comparable to what he once had with D’banj and hopefully one with which Mavin can compete with Wizkid and Davido today.
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