Mayorkun: The Mayor Reigns
Called Mayor of Lagos by many, the talented and funny musician walked into the Guardian building with his mask on.
Dressed in a simple brown short, blacktop, a jacket-shirt that matches with the short, black shoe and Gucci socks, Mayorkun entered with his bubbly self.
Playful, fun and interactive; his personality online and offline matches.
The Mayor and his transition
Mayorkun who scored a massive smash with the release of the 2016 song “Eleko” with Davido takes us through his journey. His is a story of a typical Nigerian childhood with goals to thrive in the corporate world, that kind of tie-and-suit story, but now thrives in the entertainment industry.
People’s background often influences their choice of career. Mayorkun has parents active in the entertainment industry. His mum, a popular Nollywood actress and his father, an artist and film producer.
The “Sade” crooner was exposed to the entertainment industry from childhood, he was also a member of his church choir. Despite the involvement of his parents in the entertainment industry, they were not pleased with him going into music.
As a banker, his mum especially wanted him to stick to it. The decision to quit was not an easy one. At first, his parents preferred he combines both music and banking, with music being just a leisure activity.
However, for him, things took a unique turn after Davido, the award-winning musician, spotted a cover he did for his video in February 2016.
Davido followed him on Twitter and Instagram, after which he asked him if he can do more than play the keyboard.
He got a call from Davido the same day he wrote his resignation letter and sent Davido some songs he already recorded. Davido signed him to Davido Music Worldwide.
When asked if he would have quit banking if it were not Davido, he said no, even though it was Davido, his mum still had his doubts, he could only convince her because of the status of the superstar.
According to him, in banking, he was certain of getting paid no matter how small, however, diving into music was a journey of uncertainties. The highlight for him was not being signed into the 30BG as Davido’s label is popularly known, it came after his song “Mama”.
“The big decision was leaving banking, as small as the bar was, I was sure something was coming in. Switching to something that is a matter of grace and talent that I may not have. It was at that point that I was scared. It paid off because, after the signing, which was not the highlight, the highlight was after mama. At some points, it was like a wrong decision.”
Being the “Mayor of Lagos”
Mayor of Lagos says there is nothing much to know about him that we do not know. Apart from his music, he loves to play. He believes nothing and no one should be taken too seriously and he lives by this maxim. If he is not making music, he is playing football or riding his bicycle.
Speaking about his struggles when writing, he explains that sometimes he has problems with lines since he has a particular audience he needs to appeal to. These audiences are very choosy and they must be catered for.
“You say some things and they don’t like it, I don’t know if it is my fault or theirs. Sometimes, when some of the lines come out, I have to tone it down so I can appeal to the audience, that part is at times stressful.”
Recently, he released the beautiful music “Betty Butter”. After the release, he took to his social media to explain that the song took him three months. When questioned on why 3 months, he laughed and explained that these three months details his experiences, it was not a problem with writing, rather, it was music which encompasses uncommon experiences,
“First of all, when I say three months, I do not mean it took me three months to write, all the experiences in the song started from three months. I probably did the song in a night with different takes.”
Also, before his Betty Butter was the Geng freestyle, one of his major hits, diving into the process that birthed this sound, he said:
“I got a new camera, I don’t know anything about it. On the other side, I was recording this geng song and asked the producer, Q-beat, to try this UK beat. I went up and before I came back, while making the beat and recording lines, the guy that held the camera came and caught everything. It was not edited, it was just one take, and that was it.”
We do not prepare some things for, they just happen and when they happen, they happen big. This was the case of Geng.
These songs and more are details of his experiences. As an entertainer, one reason for his success is singing about his experiences and the things he has knowledge about. Looking at his social profile, we can agree that he rarely gets muddled in social media dramas, “I enjoy minding my business” he says.
“I like to sing about the things I have ideas about or my friends have gone through, if I sing about a girl, best believe that 90% of the time, it is about a girl I know”
As a member of the DMW group also known as the 30Billion Gang, he speaks about the disadvantages and advantages. When asked about the privileges that come from being in this group, he heartily laughed.
For the positive aspect, he explains it is always easy to get attention when necessary. However, because of the status of the group, there are certain expectations from people which includes having money at all times.
Apart from his music, the popular hit maker is also known for his comic slangs such as “Gbogbo eleyii ko necestri now, o wrong now”. One would think these are strategies to remain in the spotlight and promote his music, he, however, explains that this has been his personality right before now. He had always been a fun person, a characteristic that has made it easier for him to push his songs right now.
“I have been on snap since 2015, but somehow, it just worked for the market”
As he explains, his fun personality never changed despite his status as a star now. The only thing that has changed about him is his accessibility and of course, his bank account.
Inspirations cannot be sidelined in any creative process, for Mayorkun, his inspirations come from unusual places such as when bathing, or using the restroom. He says this with bouts of laughter. He often goes to the bathroom with his speaker and his laptop.
This inspiration comes handy and at times, it involves putting a lot of effort in some music. There is that song that takes a lot of effort and because of the effort involved, the certainty of it being a hit is certain. For Mayor of Lagos, the toughest piece of music he had done is “True”
“The most difficult single is True. At that time I felt like this song if you no blow, Oh God, I will go back o. At that time, I was not getting myself, at that point the stress was a lot. My manager will probably write a book about that”
With no argument, the song is a mega-hit and till date, still very relevant.
We cannot erase the breakout of the epidemic from the reality of our existence. Coronavirus has affected everyone, for him, it is both positive and negative. Negatively, it affected his shows, however; he has recorded more than before, hence, he has more options to choose from.
A bit of monumental news, the Mayor of Lagos has some collaborations done with some international acts. He says he has like two/three music made. Unfortunately, we cannot know who they are for now. Explaining better, he says some collaborations end up not coming out and some times, they come out long after they have been done.
“This year I have probably had 70 songs, and I have dropped how many. This year will run out and I will not drop so many. It is marketing.”
The Mayor and his style
Speaking about his personal style, he says he prefers being casual. For him, his dressing is not a representation of his wealth. One wonders how he survived in the banking sector.
“I have never worn a suit to the bank, I was a rogue in that bank”
Life gets stressful and for a creative, it could get really demanding. To cool off, he rides bicycles. Before now, music did it for him but it became more stressful and other methods came in such as riding bicycles, and recently, playing snooker.
The Mayor of Lagos and future plans
Artists setting up their record labels is not new. For Mayorkun, he has many other things set-up but for record labels; he believes he needs to take his time and do more research. There is no time frame and if he does not know it well enough, he might not venture into that.
This is the story of Mayorkun. His transition, his music and his growth!