Only this morning 31•10•2016, the internet witnessed a sort of frenzy as Iyanya surprisingly joined forces with Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records and the Supreme Mavin Dynasty at large. Just like everyone else, I myself am flummoxed by the deal.
As expected a lot of curiosity has been aroused as well as varied opinions both pro and anti have both been expressed. What really is right or wrong about Iyanya signing to Mavin Records?
Basically, there is no wrong or right in doing so. Though there is a bit of disappointment in the air has Iyanya prior to becoming a Mavin hinted his plans to start up his own record label. How misleading that must have been as the artiste made a turn around on his decision. ‘As big as Iyanya’ – might be a nice simile to express disapproval and contempt for his latest direction in music, being signed by Don Jazzy. That is how the online community may feel. Why would he do that? He is a grown a** man, a 30-year-old man, an A-list artiste for that matter and the nostalgia goes on.
I don’t blame those who hold the view Iyanya had made a blunder in his career becoming a Mavin. It has suddenly become a trend and a sign of growth to own a record label in Nigeria. As soon as Nigerian artiste gets a 2 hit songs, made some millions, probably owns one album and then the next move is to be a boss. That move is very much in vogue but critically the trend isn’t so good.
While an artiste owning a label of his own may be linked with growth, it has also been a suicidal act too. No names mentioned, take a minute and recount; how many artistes have made it big or bigger after exiting former record labels to start their own? There are only a few who have gone against the tide and won. They are very few.
Iyanya’s move will okay a ‘big artiste’ moving from one label to another without necessarily starting your own record label and bossing it all. He is not the first to be signed by a fellow contemporary. Remember Davido welcoming Dammy Krane to DMW? Nigerian music industry needs more of that kind of move. Looking at the Western music culture where we adopt tons of our lifestyle, there are examples of ‘big artistes’ coming under the umbrella of fellow artistes. Big artistes like John Legend and Common are under Kanye West G.O.O.D Music, DJ Khaled, Shakira, Rihanna managed by Jay-Z’s ROC Nation. It’s no wrong Iyanya halted setting up his label to join Don Jazzy.
Mavin Records latest member, Iyanya had this to say.
“I am at a decision-making curve in my music career where I have to make the right professional and creative decisions. At this point, I realised the need to put in solid structures in place to move to the next level of my career.
“I think I have found that professional and creative backbone in Mavin Records.”
That excerpt says it all, he needed to step up his game from where he left off, his sophomore album under TripleMG “Applaudise” was underwhelming. This will be a masterstroke from Iyanya and Mavin Records if they both make something big out of this synergy. He is starting all over again like an upcoming artiste with the power of an A-lister. Iyanya has disappointed many but he is up to something. This move should be absolutely grand for him if he can reinvent himself flow like a resurgent spring. If this comes out great, more artistes may tread the same path.
It is high time Nigerian artistes and fans realized that the creative and business part of music should be differentiated. There is always the tougher side of doing music which is the business of itself. It takes more than just a great song to make a hit and wield influence. Also, all heads are not capable of running successful record labels. By all means seek out capable hands and heads to solve the maths on the-behind-scene of music, which is what Iyanya has just done. More coalition of forces will better the push of Nigerian music beyond our national borders.
Mavin Records signing on Iyanya has boosted the label’s efforts in becoming the biggest indigenous record label in Africa. Setting up a record label might still be a futuristic plan Iyanya hopes to pursue.