The move by Iyanya to join the Mavin crew is indeed a big one. It is unlike what we are used to, i.e. record labels singing upcoming artistes and guiding them on the road to stardom. Mavin signed a known brand in Iyanya. This move by Iyanya has been welcomed by fans and music lovers across the country. Some even say it is the surprise package of the year and can only bring good tidings. Although the move came as a surprise to me, I was rather skeptical than optimistic about it. My thoughts ran to ‘Made Men Music Group’. What happened to MMMG?

The move, from MMMG to Mavin appears to be based on mutual understanding, surprisingly, with the blessing of his former label co-owner, Ubi Franklin. In an interview with LIB, Ubi said “I’m happy for Iyanya. The truth is that, if you are happy for somebody, God will be happy with you and you will be happy with yourself. I don’t have anything against him.” However a critical look at the scenario suggests there is more to it. I draw fact from his decision to quit MMMG, being connected to the departure of Emma Nyra from the label. It appears something went wrong with MMMG.

Could it be that he was dissatisfied with the direction of his music career under MMMG? Indeed, Iyanya struggled to find balance in his music career. At one point, he was the cynosure of the Nigerian music industry with numerous hit songs and an alluring waist-twisting dance move. The spotlight on him however dimmed, perhaps due to a paucity of wave making songs and the quotidian nature of the “your waist” dance. It was the collaboration with Don Jazzy on “Gift” that managed to give us the Iyanya-spark. Perhaps this is the basis for his ‘porting’ to Mavin. Maybe a stable MMMG would have kept Iyanya and there would have never been an Iyanya-Mavin bond. It was said that upon leaving MMMG, Iyanya planned to fly his own record label until his volte-face led him to Mavin. It all suggests that the move to Mavin was not on cards.  Could it have been a bated move?

Considering that Mavin is one the most successful record labels in the country, and perhaps even in Africa, this move by Iyanya already looks good but is it the best for Iyanya? It should be understood that Iyanya is at a delicate stage of his career. Iyanya has gone quite a distance from the spotlight, a distance some artistes travel and are unable to return from. In an attempted return trip, Iyanya has chosen to use Mavin as a vehicle. He has left a record label where he was the principal artiste to Mavin records where he would probably have to settle for a lesser spot. He would now have to face the condition that seems to have made even Wande Coal quit Mavin – competition!

It is also pertinent to point out that a similar move by Ikechukwu to join MoHits in 2009 did not work out. It ended almost quicker than it started. It might be argued that Mo Hits is quite different. However, the same Don Jazzy was (in the case of Mo Hits) and is (for Mavin) in jurisdiction. He likes his domineering influence uneroded. Remember Don Jazzy pulled out of agreements to sign some artistes because “they took the shine from him.” How quick would Iyanya adjust to not being the ‘de-facto’ label head? This would determine particularly the length of Iyanya’s romance with Mavin. In his poly-genre music career, he is known for springing up surprises and a lot of times, he has been successful at it. I hope this surprise is not one too many.


Written by Ibironke Oluwatobi. He tweets via: @ibironketweets

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