Mayorkun’s name should really be Destiny Boy. And by that, I do not mean in likelihood to the 13-year-old sensation who sings fujified covers of Afropop hits in hilariously auto-tuned pitches. It’s just in the way this music thing worked out for him.
One minute he is a young banker in the middle of his ACCA certification tutorials, drafting his resignation with plots to join another bank and the next minute, he’s receiving DMs from Africa’s biggest star.
It was the tension with a senior colleague at work and the frustration around his resignation that pushed him go on Twitter to upload a video of himself playing the keyboard, and singing his own version of The Money- One of Davido’s finest collaboration with Olamide.
Before he knew what was going on…,
@Iam_Davido Retweeted your tweet.
@Iam_Davido liked your tweet.
@Iam_Davido followed you.
@Iam_Davido sent you a direct message.
The content of Davido’s DM was “I wan sign you asap”, and the minute Mayorkun read it, he was so shook that, he sent in a wrong phone number when OBO asked him for one.
Well his name is not Destiny Boy but it is also not the popular Yoruba demon nameMayokun. ‘Mayor’ is a slightly tweaked derivation from his first name Mayowa but the suffix –Kun, was an accidental product of watching too much Naruto. Kun loosely means boy in Japanese so in actual sense, Mayorkun’s name translates into Mayor Boy…
I remember I received one call the day I dropped Mama saying ” let’s bet, this song no go blow. Thispon pon no be for everybody”…
One of his neck pieces is a strange leaf with 5 outstretched fingers. He explains that it is his favourite grass but the other piece does not need an explanation. I can almost hear Davido’s voice from the “30 BILLION GANG” pendant. It’s been 20 months since Mayorkun joined the “gang” and he’s proven to be great investment. There’s barely any playlist this season that does not have Mayorkun’s name featured at least twice. As we talk about how far he’s come, I make him arrange his songs in the order that he likes them. We agree to go from least to most favourite, with some fun facts on the side.
5: Eleko (Produced by Puffy Tee): When Eleko dropped in 2016, it was so much of a wave that it earned Mayorkun the Rookie of the year award at the 2016 Headies. Kiss Daniel was already leading the traditional contemporary tune pack but something about the way Mayorkun tampered with words, emotions and melodies, made him completely unforgettable. “When I wanted to record, there were like 100 people in the studio, they were like “Oh that guy wey Davido sign wan record im first Gbedu”. I was sweating… I was scared… I still don’t know how the song entered.’
4: Sade (Produced by MasterKraft): This March 2017 release was slightly confronted with criticism that judged it too similar to Eleko and Kiss Daniel’s Woju. The video on the other hand told a much better story from the heart of the historic Kajuru castle location causing the track to maintain heavy rotation despite the odds.
3: Love You Tire (produced by Fresh): I’m taken aback in laughter when Mayorkun confesses that although he makes romantic songs for women, he’s not really a love guy. Trying to explain that he’s tough guy, he likens himself to Gucci Mane. “But Gucci Mane is a lover Boy” I say. He argues, laughs and changes his self-comparison to Snoop Dogg. At this point, I knew there was no winning this.
As with most hit/debut track follow ups, Love You Tire was the less loved sibling of Eleko that featuredouternational Banku boy, Mr Eazi.
‘I never said I was going to have sex with every girl. I never said that. That thing made a school not pay me for a show because it was a Christian school.’
2: Mama (produced by Kiddominant): The release of Mama in the second half of this year was the ultimate game changer for Mayorkun and I’m clearly biased that he did not pick it as his number 1. Mama conveniently filled the vacuum left behind by Runtown and Ycee’s chart sleepers, replacing Juice as Snapchat anthem and giving loverboys and lovergirls alike, something tangible to work with after Mad over you.
Fully packaged in the unfailing bait of premium female adoration and debate provoking lyrics like “All your problems you know say solution na ego”, it is a slight shocker to hear that Mama was a purely fictitious and not in any way strung to real life emotions. As with everything great, a few obstacles nearly saw to the non -existence of the jam. First, he had to boycott management to make sure he made some magic with Kiddominant; a producer whose sound he completely adores but whose disappearing act in an out of Nigeria, is also epic. After struggling to get a hold of Kiddo and making 3 songs with him in one night, his team’s preference were the other 2, leaving Mama completely snubbed but a strong conviction in Mayorkun’s spirit made him coax them into seeing the song’s potential.
Female attention had been a constant since the Eleko days but after Mama, came a great mighty spike. His DMs currently suffer a great deal from girls who cannot afford bras and panties but even with all that, the Mayor claims to be unbothered.
‘I don’t do stuff via dm’ he says to me. So does he really see nude pics and say “Get the behind me Satan?”
‘Nope, I’m not replying. I’ll just enjoy it.’ At this point, I begin to believe that he might just be leading the thug life after all.
“Living on Cocacola budget but you’re buying Rose (Rozay)”
Mayorkun on CheChe (translated)
1: Cheche(Produced by Kiddominant): Wary that Mama was beginning to bore his fans, Mayorkun took a chance with the release of one last song before the new year: an upbeat “lamba” that threw a subtle shade at slay queens and sugar daddies. ‘It was just cruise. I did not expect it to be this big’ he shared. Cheche sure struggled a bit to get out of the shadow of Mama but ever since it did, It has been pure insanity. Tiwa Savage was recently dancing to it on IG. Throw back to a few days ago, Wizkid quoted it on his Twitter. As I write this right now, the song has come on, at least 5 times across 3 different music dedicated channels.
Kidi’s Odoo remix featuring Mayorkun and Davido surely makes one of the biggest Ghanaian crossover tune for 2017 and Mayorkun was the plug.When he first heard the original while on his media tour for Mama in Ghana, he fell so hard in love with it.
‘It was so sweet, I wished I was the one that sang the song. I felt like, why is this song so big here and we haven’t heard it in Nigeria?’
In a light bulb moment, he approached Kidi’s management to propose a Nigerian feature that would help the song penetrate. Upon their agreement, he ran it by David and the result? Kidi not having 30 billion, Mayorkun hoping to Get 30 billion and Davido owning 30 billion.
“Advice is great but all those negative talks, I don’t want to hear it (in 2018)”
Some interview has it that you said you can “f**k anything. What was that about?
I’ve been meaning talk about that interview. I never said I was going to have sex with every girl. I never said that. That thing made a school not pay me for a show because it was a Christian school. I said I like any girl …It was supposed to even be a good thing because it meant that I do not (discriminate, whether thick or slim) but they just twisted it. Well, anything that comes with good comes with the bad too.
What baggage/habits do you wish to leave behind in 2017?
You want to leave that in 2017?
No I already left it. I’m just saying it will stay that way.
- Negative people… I remember I received one call the day I dropped Mama saying ” let’s bet. This song no go blow. This pon pon no be for everybody”. At that point, I was thinking about dropping another song the next day. So yeah, advice is great but all those negative talks, I don’t want to hear it.
- Taxify and Uber… (he bursts out laughing)
- Biting my nails. I eat it like it’s breakfast. I pray by God’s grace that it will stop next year.
“There won’t be a time when I will just “leave” DMW because if not for these people, I won’t be sitting here.”
Vibe: So what will 2018 hold?
Mayorkun: Expect a body of work from me, I think. From the body of work, you will hear me in different ways. You might not just believe I’m the one who wrote the songs. I have the plan of having at least 2 of the biggest songs in 2018. I’ve been recording since February. I’ll also be on some major projects too to help target the African market.
We’re not taking chances like we did with Kiss Daniel. You are still in DMW for real for real?
Give a projection.
Projection of what? Me leaving DMW? (begins to laugh)
No, of the number of years we should expect you there. Our stuff is not really contractual in that sense. It’s just love. If you check my contract, there are some things that I am not supposed to be enjoying now based on the legal terms but I still enjoy them. There was one time David just dashed us bar for no bloody reason… It’s not like we did something to deserve the check. He just gave us. I don’t think there will ever be a time that l will “Leave” DMW. The contract might end and I might renew or not renew but whatever goes down, there won’t be a time when I will just “leave” because if not for these people, I won’t be sitting here.
What’s your 2 cents on artiste/Label controversies? I think you should know what you’re signing when you are signing it. Always get a lawyer. In my case, David even paid for my lawyer. It’s like paying someone to tackle you but he did. Human beings vary too but always get a lawyer. I understand the desperation. Back then, if I had seen 99: 1 (rev share) I would have signed because of how desperate I was.
2 Christmases ago, Mayorkun watched the 2015 Headies at his cousin’s house as a fan. Today, he’s a Headies award recipient who shares the same sphere of sound and relevance with the likes of Kiss Daniel, Reekado Banks, Mr Eazi, Lax, Dice Ailes etc. as a valid contender.
Based on how his name has been a constant on the lips and stages of the 2 kings of African music lately, anyone else observing the patterns might just agree with me on this – The industry is quite cloudy with a chance of Mayorkun as the endorsed successor. ‘Nuff said.
Cover Story: Cynthia Atagbuzia
Photography: Anny Robert
Location: Studio Fresco