Saturday, December 15, 2018

DON JAZZY: Between the Music Producer and the ‘business’ man

It’s said that “If an old woman falls down twice, one counts the things she’s carrying in her market basket ”This may not be far from what’s  happening to Don Jazzy and his Mavin Records in recent times.
Singer, Reekedo Banks recently announced on Instagram his exit from the music imprint that prides itself as one of the biggest music records in Africa, leaving behind speculation and curiosity as industry watchers are not keeping quiet. They are asking: What’s happening to Don Jazzy and his Mavin Records?

Don Jazzy The singer joined Mavin Records alongside Korede Bello and D’ija in 2013, to kick start their music imprint. Banks said it’s a business decision and stressed that there was no problem with anyone on the label. Like most breakups, the singer’s exit was a slow burn. Reekado, born Aloleyi Solomon, said he was leaving the record label for greater things. He praised Don Jazzy for the sacrifices he made towards the growth of his career. “Don jazzy took me in and treated me like his own son. I’ll be eternally grateful to him for sacrifices he made towards the growth of my career. His selflessness and efforts towards me and the entire Mavin crew is one that is admirable and worthy of emulation. A true King with a large heart, full of kindness and ready to accommodate even more people.”
Indeed, Reekado is not the only artiste that left Mavin Records in recent times. Early this year, singer, Iyanya Mbuk also announced his exit from the Don Jazzy-led Mavin Records, less than two years after teaming up with the record label. Confirming his exit in an interview, Iyanya said “I’m now signed to Temple Music but I’m a Mavin for life. It was not a beef. I was there and it was time to move on.” It was speculated, however, that the MTN Project Fame star was fed up with life under Don Jazzy, as he was said to have struggled to repeat the same feat that made him one of Nigeria’s promising music stars some five years ago. Iyanya later explained that “It was because of his plan to keep seeking ways to become better with his music career that many people believed was failing.” In a nutshell, there’s more to this claim than meets the eye. Recall that in 2013, Wande Coal dumped Mavin Records to float his own record label, Black Diamond Entertainment. Report said both parties agreed to keep mum over the development. Till date, nobody can tell why the talented singer dumped the record label that gave him a massive platform to excel. These are clear indications that all is not well with Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records. With the exception of Tiwa Savage, who dropped two singles this year, ‘Vibe and Labalaba’, including her “Lova Lova” song featuring Duncan Mighty and produced by Spellz, no other Mavin Records artiste can boast of topping the chart this outgoing year, talkless of dominating the airwaves with his hit songs. Indisputably, Mavin Records signees: Dr Sid, D’Prince, Di’ja, Korede Bello, Johny Drille, Poe and the DNA twins, are said to be living on their past glory. Particularly, Korede Bello, whose 2015, tunes of ‘I Don Get Alert… God Win. And I Don Pay My Rent… God Win. Dem Be Wan Fall My Hand But… God win” ruled the airwaves suddenly went silent. Releasing that year, the song was well received by Nigerian music lovers not just in the secular setting but also, in the religious circle. It was nominated for 2015 hottest single of the year at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards. It was also nominated for  the Headies 2015 Best Pop Single which he won and at the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards, where it was nominated for song of the year. Before dropping “God win”
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Korede Bello released his debut single, ‘African Princess’, which was produced by Don Jazzy. The song was well received, but it was not the song that was going to launch him into the limelight. However, with the passage of time, the singer seems to be losing fame after the hit-making status ‘God win’. Korede Bello struggled to score a hit in 2017, as his self-titled album, ‘Belloved’ was not a commercial success, despite Wizkid reportedly posting and promoting it on his social media handles.
The singer’s inability to fly with the album saw him experimenting with different sounds, as his musical direction has changed from what he was known for. In 2018 alone, the singer has released a whooping eight songs, ‘Together’, ‘Sote’, ‘Stamina’, ‘Champion’, ‘Work It’, ‘Bless Me’ and ‘Melanin Popping’, all of which have failed to sustain the tempo  ‘God win’ did. So also was Dr. Sid who a troll(a lady), once took to Twitter to shade the musician,saying, as his father died, so did his career. Pundits believe Di’Ja needs a banging comeback into the game then probably an album from her, while D’Prince music career is said to be in dire need of a total make over and rejuvenation if he isn’t already retired.
Tiwa Savage and Reekado Banks before they left the label were described as the most impressive of the squad. Though Reekado Banks album “Spotlight” was reportedly criticized after a laissez faire attitude was seen in the production of the album. It was believed that the song was hurriedly pushed into the market. But apart from the artistes, nothing much has been heard from Don Jazzy who’s best known for his magic touch.It has been a trying period for the renowned music producer and his Mavin Records.
Nonetheless, industry watchers are pointing accusing fingers at Don Jazzy, alluding that he’s functioning more as a businessman than a music producer, which is why his artistes are not measuring up any more. But in another quarter, the artistes are blamed for their inability to bless their fans with great hits. Meanwhile, at the time, Don Jazzy set up Mavin Records with Dr. Sid, D Prince, Tiwa Savage, Altims and BabyFresh after the infamous shutdown of defunct Mo’Hits Records, in 2012, which he co-owned with his erstwhile partner, D’banj, his dream was to revolutionize the Nigerian music scene. D’banj started his DB Records, And the revolution started with his recruiting more artistes in the likes of Reekado Banks, Korede Bello and Di’ja. Within four years, the label grew in leaps and bounds, becoming the most organized and structured label in Nigeria. It went beyond existing on paper, Twitter, Instagram and social media platforms; to having a physical structure for daily running of the imprint. And it was a welcomed development in the Nigerian music industry.
Mavin records at a time boasted of having  three in-house producers including Don Jazzy, seven artistes on the roster, and a handful of administrative staff. The label was doing extremely well, as every rising artiste then was looking forward to teaming up with Don Jazzy. It was no surprise when Iyanya got signed to the music imprint. While the glory may have left the once popular record label, it’s  now at par  with the emerging ones including, Davido Music Worldwide(DMW), YBNL Nation, Starboy Entertainment, Harrysong’s Alterplate among others. It’s believed in many quarters that Don Jazzy tactically was paying more attention to packaging than seeing to the quality of recent music from his stable. In setting up a record label, experts opined that one must be prepared to push and promote “good music,” and if this is not happening, then the label is bound to suffer a serious setback. It’s possible that Don Jazzy’s desire to create an enabling environment to operate a successful music empire, may have in the long run beclouded his overriding motive of establishing Mavin Records in recent times. His ongoing construction of a multi-million naira mansion, in the highbrow Lekki area of Lagos, which will serve as the new Mavin Records Headquarters is one of his many engagements that is contesting for his time. But nonetheless, no record label in Nigeria, can claim to equal the achievements recorded by Mavin records as one of Africa’s most organized and structured record labels in history. Not  one!

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