Don Jazzy is one of the most respected figures in African music and Afrobeats. His track record speaks for itself. He has a unique gift of spotting and nurturing the next big things in African music.
He has signed and collaborated with quite a number of amazing musicians who went on to solidify their positions in the Nigerian and African music industries.
He’s kind of the go-to guy every underground musician and even those in the mainstream want to associate with and this is because of his decades of experience, humility, influence, and power in the music industry.
An advocate for aspiring artistes to showcase their talent on their social media, it comes as no shock that the 40-year-old CEO of Mavin Records discovered many of the artistes he’s signed to his label on the internet, more specifically on social media.
Today we look at how Don Jazzy signed Ayra Starr, Magixx, Boy Spyce, and Bayanni.
1. How Don Jazzy Signed Ayra Starr
Ayra Starr wasn’t always the celestial being. Before pursuing a career in music, the beautiful Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe, as she is originally known, was a model.
In August 2018, Ayra Starr was signed to a modeling agency in Lagos, Nigeria called Quove Models. She later modeled for companies such as Mazelle Studio, Complete Fashion Magazine and Esperanza Woman. A year after that, in 2019, she began posting covers of songs by popular musicians online like Andra Day and 2Face Idibia now known as 2Baba.
Prior to getting her a big break, she was seen in the music video of an artiste named Eri Ife. The song is titled “Dear Future Wife.” Ayra didn’t want to just be a pretty face. She wanted to be at the helm of music composition. A month after that, she posted an original song titled ‘Damage’ on her Instagram page. The post got a lot of engagement and luckily one of the people who saw it and engaged was Don Jazzy. He slid into her DM and showed interest in working with her. The next year, in 2020, she began recording at Mavin Studios in Lagos with producers Louddaaa and Don Jazzy. On 22nd January 2021, she released her self-titled debut EP.
2. How Don Jazzy Signed Magixx
Just like Ayra Starr, Don Jazzy discovered Magixx via social media.
Around 2019-2020, Alexander Adelabu was done with his post-secondary education. He had graduated from the University of Lagos popularly called UNILAG with a degree in Mass Communication.
He began dropping lots of freestyles on social media as a means of survival. In an interview, he revealed that his rent was due the next month and he didn’t know how to raise money to pay the rent as he had no visible means of income at that time. Dropping music on his socials with the hopes of getting noticed and signed was what he believed could save him and it did.
His freestyles were always exciting to watch and this helped him get the eyeballs he was looking for. One of the people watching was Don Jazzy. He got invited to the Mavin headquarters, got signed in 2021, and released his debut self-titled EP.
3. How Don Jazzy Signed Boy Spyce
The story of how Boy Spyce got signed to Mavin Records is nothing short of a Christmas miracle.
Don Jazzy seems to always scoop up talented aspiring musicians at the right time. For Ugbekile David Osameke, he always believed he’d work with the legendary Don Jazzy. The hardships in life didn’t discourage him from believing this!
On 25th December 2019, Boy Spyce was mad at his parents for not providing him with Christmas clothes. He was frustrated at how things were so hard for him and his family. Don Jazzy sent him a direct message on Instagram. David who couldn’t believe his eyes had to check to confirm that the message wasn’t coming from a parody account.
Prior to Jazzy sending the message, Boy Spyce was really active on social media dropping freestyles and song covers. He just like Ayra Starr and Magixx also dropped a self-titled debut EP.
4. How Don Jazzy Signed Bayanni
As an aspiring young musician, Bayanni would record and post covers of popular songs on social media platforms. To get people to engage, he would tag the original composers of the song as well as influential figures in the music or entertainment industry.
In 2021, He posted covers of songs like Ckay’s Felony, Davido’s ‘Jowo’ and Fireboy DML’s Peru. At this time, he was operating under the name Zhenoboy. His persistence and undeniable talent were contributing factors in making his videos go viral.
His freestyle on the ‘Jowo’ instrumental was one of his best. It even got the attention of Davido who reposted it on his Instagram page. This act of kindness took Zhenoboy’s Instagram following to over 40,000 followers. The two later met up around April 2022 and this led to speculations that Davido had signed him or at least had plans to sign him.
People even started posting videos on YouTube comparing Davido’s “new” artiste to Don Jazzy’s new signee Boy Spyce.
Fast forward to August 2022, Don Jazzy shared a video indicating that he had added Bayanni to his roster of superstars. The video which had cameo appearances from popular Nigerian comedians Sabinus and Brain Jotter is the record label’s most creative Mavin Activation announcement yet. We see aspiring artistes in a futuristic laboratory literally undergoing training like in the matrix movie. Bayanni’s record label deal was announced alongside his self-titled debut EP.
Reacting to the announcement, an excited Davido tweeted saying:
Don Jazzy replied saying:
As of the time of making this video, Bayanni has over 280,000 followers on Instagram