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Andre Vibez… Conversing The ‘Guitar Boy’ Progeny

By Chinonso Ihekire
12 November 2022   |   4:25 am
It feels like this is the crowning moment for every work I have done so far. It is the time I have always waited for. It is finally here. The opportunities are endless. That is the beauty of being a part of Mavin.

Andre Vibez

“I didn’t know he would leave that soon; I really wanted to have one more album with him. Just me and him.” Alexander Uwaifo’s regrets are sore, striking and steep. His late father, Victor Uwaifo, became the stuff of legends, having built a behemoth brand as one of the leading Highlife singers between the ‘70s and ‘90s. With catalogues of hit records under his belt, nothing might ever come as close as working with his late father.
Nonetheless, for Alexander, professionally known as Andre Vibez, there are still a lot of achievements to soak in. One of such is his recent record deal as an official producer with the record label powerhouse, Mavin Records, aka ‘Dynasty.’ Joining other non-performing talents, including songwriters and sound engineers, Andre Vibez consolidates a stealthy career run as a Mavin signee.
Prior to his signing, Andre Vibez had already crafted chart-topping jams including Ladipoe’s Feeling, Rema’s Calm Down, Omah Lay’s Ye Ye Ye and many more. With a distinctly futuristic approach to beat-making, Andre Vibez continues to herald some of the classic records propelling Afrobeats’ golden moment across the globe.
Today, Guardian Music catches up with the young producer, tracing his steps back to growing up with the late Victor Uwaifo, finding his path in music, creating music for Mavin artistes and what’s next on his journey to stardom.

How does it feel like being officially signed to Mavin records?
It feels like this is the crowning moment for every work I have done so far. It is the time I have always waited for. It is finally here. The opportunities are endless. That is the beauty of being a part of Mavin. I am someone who has lots of ideas and things I want to achieve. With the right platform, I believe I will get there. And with Mavin it just feels right.

How did you connect with Mavin Records?
There was no idea I was going to end up in Mavin records. Originally, I was trying to get an audience with Don Jazzy, in 2019. My cousin was the one helping me to make that happen. It did not happen in 2019, because Don Jazzy said he would hit me up when he is ready. So, I forgot about it.

However, in the second week of January, I got a message saying that he was ready to see me. I was nervous actually, but I went on to see him. I just wanted to talk to him and gain insight into how he ended up doing everything he has achieved. Somehow, it ended up with me getting an opportunity to have free access to the studio. There was no talk of signing yet. I was not thinking in that line. I started working in the studio. I now became an employee. I became the Sound and Recording engineer for the Mavin artistes.

Somewhere along the line in 2021, the conversation about signing me came up. It was cool. As soon as that conversation came up, I knew that I had a lot of things to prove to people that I can do. And I just took it upon myself to make that happen.

What was the first major song you ever produced?
The first time I made a song that made me feel like I was on the right track was in 2012. It was not mainstream but it did pretty well in the South South. It was for an artiste called Leroy. The title of the song is Selense. That was the year I solidified my brand as Andre Vibez. From there on, I started working with other people. I worked with 2baba in 2014/2015. I worked with Yung 6ix. So, at that time, the biggest songs were now from Yung 6ix. In 2020, I had my records with some of the artistes I have in Mavin.

How did you come about the whole Andre Vibez brand?
There is nothing really special about that. While in university I was trying to come up with a new name. I had a name for the company I wanted to start, which is called Vibes Factory. At the time some people had already started calling me Mr Vibes. Mr Vibes sounded too official for me. My first name is Alexander. So, I kept trying new combinations until I got to Ander Vibez. Then it looked nice. So, I switched the letters and got Andre Vibez so it could sound and look nice too.

So growing up as Alexander Uwaifo would have come with a lot of inspiration watching your father shape into the legend he is known for. When did you start having any thoughts towards music?
It was not until I was 14 years old. I had always had interest in music; but I just didn’t see myself becoming a musician or producer. So, in my early years as a child, I knew I wanted to become a visual artist. I was already drawing. My dad also influenced this too. As early as five, I already picked interest in playing the piano. So, my dad got a tutor for my sister and myself. I took the lessons very seriously, and I feel like my upbringing also shaped me into the producer I am today. I listened to a lot of music while growing up. My dad used to listen to a lot of classical music, soul, jazz and even his own music. So, all of that just shaped me into the kind of musician I am now.

How were you able to create your own unique sound?
When I started producing, I started with RnB. I am an RnB guy. In the early 2000s, when I was in secondary school, the songs that were popping at the time were either Hip Hop or RnB. Literally, all Hip Hop artistes were collaborating with RnB singers. As of 2009, I noticed that I was only making those types of sounds. I wanted my sounds to cross over. I didn’t want to be limited to one type of sound. It would have limited my opportunities. So, I started to listen more to pop-records. I observed how they were produced. I just noticed that the beats were intricate, but the rhythm was simple and melodious. So, I started experimenting.

One thing that helped me is that I kept putting in that time. The more you put in time the results would always show. I was not hanging out much with friends or going clubbing; I was always in my studio. If I even had to see friends, they would come over to my studio. Personally, I dislike negativity. So, I avoid getting negative feedback from people. When I started making music, I was getting a lot of negative feedback. So, I started critiquing myself. I wanted to be able to be outstanding. I wanted my music to be outstanding. So, I started doing everything differently. I stopped limiting myself to one genre. I started lifting elements from different sounds to make my own beats. Music is a universal language. If it sounds good, it sounds good. I only care about making what sounds good.

What is the song that got you the most excited to produce?
I have a lot. If I had to pick, from the ones that have been put out already, I would say is Ayra’s Bridgertn. The minute I started playing the melody, everything came in at once. When Ayra also heard the beat, she was so excited about it. We just went in and worked hard on it.

Ladipoe’s Feeling was also pretty exciting for me too. I cannot remember how I started the beat, because I usually just make a lot of beats and keep them, even if they are unfinished. By the time we started recording I started to see that there was something there. Once we were done recording, I was able to infuse other nice elements into the beat to make it what it is today.

Easiest artiste to work with?
Rema, Ladipoe and Ayra Starr.

If you were not a producer, what are the odds that you would have ended up singing?
I was a singer. I am still a singer. Production just took a lot of my time. By the time I made my first major song in 2012, I had a lot of people reaching out to me. I was always producing everyday. It took a lot of my time and I could not focus on singing anymore. By the time I noticed I had stopped recording, two years had passed. It became difficult for me to keep recording because anytime I tried going back to record; I felt a lot had changed. I needed time for myself. I never really had that alone time for me. In the future, I would be able to put my voice to records.

If there is one artiste you look forward to producing for, who will they be?
Right now, I would love to work with Burna Boy, Wizkid, Chris Brown, Rihanna and Pharrel Williams. These guys actually influenced the music I make today. You might not notice it, because I have hacked my own sound; but when I started off I began listening to Timbaland, Pharrel, Swizz beatz, Dr Dre and others. They were killing it as producers and singers.

Then, there is Kanye West, Usher, 50 Cent and a whole lot of them who really inspired me. Also, I grew up on Don Jazzy too. Fortunately for me, I am in his label.

Most difficult song to ever produce?
Of the songs that are out, I would say Ladipoe and Fireboy’s Running. The day we had the session was a bit challenging. We were trying to get a vibe that was cool yet a bop. We tried up to five different ideas, before getting the final version. It was already at the brink of deadline to submit the song for mixing and mastering so I was able to come up with the final version we are listening to now. Then, BoySpyce’s Destiny was equally challenging. I had lost the file for the song when it was time to put it out for the project. I had to start making the beat all over again. When I was done making the beat from scratch, I now found the file I was looking for. It stressed me out mentally.

Did you ever have any plans to work with your father?
I actually worked with my father. I have production credits on his last album, which was released in 2015. I wanted to have my own solo production credit on his project. I had the idea to do that in 2020. I was just waiting. I felt there was enough time. I didn’t know that he was going to leave so soon. So, that did not happen when it passed. I really wanted to have one more album with him; just him and me.

Tell us three fun facts about you…
Firstly, I am a sculptor and a fine artist. I am a handyman; I can paint my house, fix interiors, do design and all of that. I am also very interested in fashion. It is something that I want to invest in, in the near future.

Finally, tell us the vision for Andre Vibez…
I am just going to go with the flow. I am not scared about the future. There is always something out there for me to achieve. I am going to be here for a pretty long time. Personally, the music right now is a vehicle for me to get into other ventures such as media and productions, events and other facets of entertainment.

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