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.

Music
(Youtube)

Watch Burna Boy's Down-to-Earth Video For "Common Person"

The Nigerian superstar shares a memorable video for "Common Person," a creative visual presentation of Nigerian humanity amid the ebbs and flows of day-to-day life.


In Burna Boy's heart-warming music video for "Common Person," he shares a more vulnerable, likable version of himself that is often overshadowed by the limelight. The music video for the track off his critically acclaimed album, Love, Damini, showcases the global artist in an extremely down-to-earth and heart-warming manner.

Burna's new video further pushes the message of the song "Common Person": that one person is not better than the next, and despite his superstardom, he is a common person who has never forgotten his roots. In the music video, Burna can be seen interacting with residents of a working-class neighborhood, and partaking in every-day things that happen in several Nigerian working-class neighborhoods, including cooking and carrying buckets of water into the home. In several shots, the superstar is captured helping residents with car trouble kickstart their vehicle.

Ever since the release of Love, Damini, Burna Boy has continued to garner more success and international acclaim. Recently, he was nominated for Best Global Music Performance for the Gold RIAA certified hit, “Last, Last” and “Best Global Music Album” for his sixth studio album, Love, Damini at the upcoming 65th Annual Grammy Awards. Love, Damini, was also selected as a The New York Times’ Critics Pick , and described by OkayAfrica as "a story of victory, love, loss, pain and strength over a number of colorful musical influences." The music video for "Common Person" is a continuation of that story. Watch the video below.

Watch Burna Boy's music video for "Common Person"

News Brief
(Youtube)

Asake Kicks Off His Year With New Single 'Yoga'

The Nigerian superstar shares his first single of 2023.


Ahmed Ololade Asake, popularly known as Asake, drops a new single for 2023 called "Yoga." The "Mr. Money" crooner shared the single along with a vibrant music video which depicts a deep, spirited, message that is expertly interwoven into the the song, and is primarily sung in the Yoruba language. According to Asake, the song is about peace and zen.

“The song is about minding my business and guarding my peace so no one can disrupt it,” says Asake. The Nigerian artist, who has consistently been releasing hits ever since he became a mainstream sensation, took to social media in the early hours of January 30th, 2023, shared a snippet of the new record with his followers.

The music video, which was directed by celebrated cinematographer TG Omori, boasts of colorful imagery and was shot in Dakar, Senegal. Last year was a highly-successful year for the YBNL signee, with us claiming that 2022 Was the Year of Asake, and stating that the singer's "clear-cut domination of the year was without a doubt."

According to that previous OkayAfrica essay, the Nigerian megastar has historically drawn inspiration from street-hop sonic influencers like DaGrin, Lord Of Ajasa, and Olamide, who poured the hardships in their lives into their music. In "Yoga," Asake uses his signature sonic blend of Fuji music, merged with spiritual affirmations.

Following his debut album Mr. Money With The Vibe, Asake set the tone for a streak of musical success that has been celebrated by Okay Africa's curated music lists, including Best Nigerian Songs of 2022 and Best Afrobeats Songs of 2022.

Watch the scintillating music video for "Yoga" below.

Listen to Asake "Yoga" below

Film
Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Idris Elba Wants to Build a Film Studio In Tanzania

Renowned British actor Idris Elba is planning to open up a film studio in Tanzania, reports say.

Celebrated British actor Idris Elba is planning to open a film studio in Tanzania. The news was revealed by Tanzania's Director of Presidential Communications, Zuhura Yunus, during a press conference. According to Yunus, the plan for the studio was set in motion during Elba's meeting with President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


“Discussions on the project have just begun, and if successful, the project will help not only Tanzania but also Eastern and Central Africa,” said Yunus.

In the past, Elba, who is also an award-winning actor, filmmaker and musician, has made concerted efforts to be involved in, and contribute to the African entertainment industry. In the past, he has featured on songs with prominent African artists like D'banj, Drizilik, and Phyno, among others. Although he is a celebrated Hollywood actor, Elba has always stayed connected to the motherland and has made several efforts to represent his own Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian roots.

In an interview with South Africa's SA People News in 2022, the British movie star mentioned that he wants to shoot more films in Africa, as well as contribute in building and developing the future of the African film industry.

“Young Africans view me as a leader or a beacon. And I feel like I could bring something. So I’m keen to bring what I’ve learned in media and amplify it in Africa,” the Beast actor said at the time.

During the interview, the actor also mentioned that the continent deserved "real tender care."

“I’m really keen on the development of Africa. My parents come from Africa and more than anywhere in the world, I feel like that continent deserves some real tender care and love and thought.

Elba has historically represented Africa in powerful rooms that he has walked into

During the US-Africa Leaders Summit’s; Africa Digital Innovation Competitors event, he did not hesitate to place the importance of the African entertainment market at the forefront of his conversation.

“If there are any investors listening or watching today if you do not consider Africa as a viable investment, you’re not considering yourself or your future. Africa’s future is your own future and vice versa,” said Elba at the time.“We do not need aid anymore, we need innovation. We need partnership,” he added.

While there are no new updates on the move to build the studio in Tanzania, it seems as though the process is underway.

Music
(YouTube)

The Best Amapiano Songs Out Right Now

Featuring Aymos, Uncle Vinny, Blaqnick & MasterBlaq, 2woBunnies, Balcony Mix Africa, and more

It's only been few weeks in and 2023 is already promising to be one of the most impactful years for amapiano internationally.

The recent announcements of Uncle Waffles and Major League DJz being billed to play at Coachella and Tomorrowland, respectively, earmarks the continuing steady rise of amapiano on the global stage. Drake (who recently likened listening to Kelvin Momo’s music to a religious experience) included some ‘piano tracks in his DJ set at a listening session in NYC. After its introduction to the festival last year, Afrochella’s Piano People stage is also heading to Miami this coming May with the likes of Focalistic, Musa Keys, Vigro Deep and TxC expected to perform.

With that said, we introduce our monthly round-up, solely dedicated to amapiano. Here are the amapiano songs and music videos that caught our attention this month.

Keep reading...Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

The Best Ghanaian Songs Out Right Now

Featuring Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Bisa Kdei, Darkovibes, Kelvyn Boy, and more.

Everything You Need to Know about Arise Fashion Week 2023

The popular fashion event heads back to Nigeria for a special celebration of African fashion and music.

Spotlight: Animator Umaimah Is Here To Romanticize Your Life

We spoke with the Nigerian digital visual artist about inspiration being everywhere, and in every thing.

The Best South African Songs Out Right Now

Featuring Bongeziwe Mabandla, Sjava, Tyla, Blxckie, Msaki, AKA x Khuli Chana, and more

popular.

Burna Boy's 'Last Last' is Eligible for Platinum Certification

Burna Boy's global smash "Last Last" is set to receive yet another accolade.