Interview
Image courtesy of the artist.

Nigerian artist Mayorkun.

In Conversation with Mayorkun: 'I Want to Be Bigger Than Just Nigeria'

The artist speaks to us about his latest "Geng" remix EP and navigating life as an artist during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayorkun has come a long way since he dropped "Sade", the impromptu freestyle that turned into a massive hit. Since then, the rising Nigerian artist who's signed to Davido's record label, has churned out several hits including "MAMA," "On God," "Up to Something," and more recently, "Ginger You" and the wildly successful "Geng".

The latter dropped shortly before Mayorkun went on to release a 4-track Geng EP featuring three remixes of the original song. The "Naija Remix" features Ycee, M.I Abaga, Vector and Sinzu while the "Africa Remix" features Kwesi Arthur, Riky Rick, Rayvanny and Innoss'B. On the "UK Remix", Mayorkun features Ms Banks and Russ.

The EP drops during a time where musicians all over the world are learning to connect with their audiences in new and different ways amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and various lockdown measures.

OkayAfrica spoke with Mayorkun briefly to talk more about his latest EP, navigating life as an artist during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether or not he feels the Nigerian government is doing enough to curb the spread of the outbreak.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Mayorkun - Geng (Official Video) youtu.be

Describe your latest EP briefly.

It's a conscious effort in reaching different continents at the same time. I feel like I wanted to break into the African market, be bigger than just Nigeria too, so I took big names from different continents.

What would you say defines your sound as an artist?

I don't stay too long on a particular sound. Aside from being an African artist, my sound is generally Afro-fusion. I make different types of music. I can make a hip-hop record today and make a Makossa song tomorrow––it's pretty cross-genre.

How long did the EP take and how would you best remix?

I made the original song before I dropped the EP, of course. It then took me about a month to drop the EP after that. I like the reception from fans for all the remixes but personally, I like the African remix. It touches on Congo, Kenya and really does what I intended to do with this song.

Are you working on any other musical projects at the moment?

I have loads of music right now. My management decides in terms of projects but if we had to say an album has ten songs, I have at least four songs ready right now.

You're currently in Nigeria right now. How have you been navigating the world of music amid the lockdown?

We're lucky to be in a generation where things travel quickly without you moving. I've seen the highest streams of my music in a 24-hour span during this time. People are on their phones a lot and so with the help of the internet, music is doing well.

Do you think your government is doing enough to contain the outbreak?

To be honest, this is a bad time for the government too because I don't think there's anything they can do that can be enough. Even the most sophisticated countries like Italy and the US still have the highest number of deaths even though they have what they need to fight it. I don't think the government can ever do enough. We just have to support whatever it is that they're doing at the moment.

What do you want to say to your fans during this time?

Hold tight because it'll end soon. I've read about how these kinds of things have happened in the past and the world eventually returned to normal. Just keep listening to Mayorkun's music of course but most importantly, stay safe, stay in your house and when it's gone, we can all come out.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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