Sunday, November 29, 2015 5:46 pm
Michael Collins Ajereh, better known as Don Jazzy, is a multiple award winning music producer. The hit maker is also the founder of Mavin Records. In this interview, Don Jazzy told FUNSHO AROGUNDADE about his label’s debut ‘Access Mavin Concert’ holding in December, relationship with D’banj and his success story
Q: Tell us about your debut concert holding in December?
A: Yes, Access Mavin Concert will be holding on 23 December at Eko Boulevard, Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island, Lagos. It is first of its kind. This concert took us a long time to put together. On that day, we intend to do a show like no other. We have worked hard over the years to think of something that will just be mind blowing and amazing. We are not doing the regular ‘go-to Eko Hotel’ concert where some people will sit down on special tables and sipping drinks. This show of ours is not a banquet or dinner concert but we are talking of real concert. I have watched several concerts around the world with people coming out to listen to good live music and dance. They don’t sit around the table.
Q:What is that unique selling Point for the show?
A:On this Access Mavin concert, we decided to do a concert with the gate fee almost free to nothing. It’s just N499 to get in. We initially wanted to make it free but because of security reasons, we just decide to put a very minimal price tag. The concert is for all our fans that have supported us all these years. This is our way of saying thank you to them. So, the USPs of this concert are; first and foremost, it is free. Secondly, it’s Mavins. Thirdly, it’s going to be a beautiful musical experience other than the ones you’ve heard in the past and fourth, it won’t hold at a venue many people have been used to, and lastly, we planned a concert anybody would not be able to replicate in a long time.
Q: You said it will all be about Mavins artistes, are you saying there won’t be supporting artistes who are your friends?
A: We intend to make it Mavins artistes only but a lot of people are already showing interest in being part of the show. Wizkid is having a concert around that time too. He has asked us to come and support him while he too will support us during our concert. Obviously, I have done a couple of collaborations with people like Timaya, PSquare, Olamide and others, like wise other Mavins artistes have done collaborations with many other artistes and all of them are willing to be part of the show.
Q: You have nurtured a new set of talented artistes on your label. What are those things you look out for before signing them on?
A: I think I am gifted in spotting someone with a good spirit. And I look out for those whom our spirits connect. I don’t just make music but I make music that will suit a particular artiste. That’s how I make my own music. Anytime I am in the studio with my people, I kind of know a sound that their spirit can carry. And that’s what I said about spirit. So, I think I am blessed with such gift to know a good spirit and once our spirits gel; we would turn out good stuff.
Q: You are known for shying away from granting interviews and mostly preferred your artistes are talked to.
A: I am still like that to date. The truth is that I am just an ordinary person trying to sell products to the people. So, imagine if I am in the forefront stealing the shine off my products, then you won’t feel the good products I am trying to sell. For instance, assuming I am baker selling bread, you are not coming to my bakery to buy the baker but the bread. That’s just the simple analogy. I know that most time if we are out there journalists want to talk to me and leave out some of my artistes. That’s why I mostly declined granting those interviews and prefer they talk to the artistes. And the truth is that when they ended up talking to my artistes, they most times talk more about me than what I would have said myself. So, there is no point having double messages.
Q: What drives you as an individual?
A: My family, my fans and my team (Mavins Crew).
Q: Building your brand over the years to this point hasn’t been that easy. What steps have you taken to consolidate the brand?
A: I have always has God by my side and a beautiful, in fact, I have the best team in this industry. We are like a family. Everybody is just having the time of their lives. So, with God by my side and hard work, supported by a beautiful team, we have been able to get to this point and surely going to go higher. Obviously, I am a leader that allows his team to do what they think is right. I listen to everybody from managers to gateman, once you have an idea, we table it, we debate it and if it is practicable at the end of the day, we run with it.
The truth is that I am just an ordinary person trying to sell products to the people. So, imagine if I am in the forefront stealing the shine off my products, then you won’t feel the good products I am trying to sell. For instance, assuming I am baker selling bread, you are not coming to my bakery to buy the baker but the bread. That’s just the simple analogy. I know that most time if we are out there journalists want to talk to me and leave out some of my artistes. That’s why I mostly declined granting those interviews and prefer they talk to the artistes. And the truth is that when they ended up talking to my artistes, they most times talk more about me than what I would have said myself. So, there is no point having double messages.
Q: What are those qualities one must possess to be a successful music producer?
A: Number one is to have passion for music. If you initial plan was to come into music production because of money, you won’t go far. You should be ready to do this job even when you can only afford to drink gari or have nothing at all. Number two, you should try as much as possible to be original. There are temptations to want to sound like others. When you heard a particular producer did certain music and you went and follow the pattern, you are courting problem. Also, you must try to create a name for yourself; create a style for yourself and do things differently.
Q: Are those the qualities that helped you to attain this success?
A: I think what people mean by saying I am a success is the fact that I have actually made a lot of money as a music producer and entrepreneur. Yes, I have built a brand that is enormous but it is pretty difficult for producers in Nigeria to sustain themselves if they don’t have a team. At the moment, we (producers) aren’t receiving money as royalties or from airplay. Some artistes would come into a producer’s studio to make a song and pay like N300,000 or N500,000, that money can’t go a long way to sustain the producer. As a celebrity, you might likely finish that money in a club one night or use it to pay rent and solve other pressing demands. It will be very difficult to make anything substantial through that. So, as a producer, you have to be creative and business like. You either set up a production or recording company in which you can make money from the places where money comes from now by picking up your own talents and nurtured them. At the moment, the money from the entertainment industry comes majorly from shows and endorsements. So, if you build a beautiful brand, you will make money when your products or artistes get endorsements. If you make hit tracks with your artistes, you will equally make money from the shows. That’s the only way you can succeed for a long time. But as a producer, if you want to rely on N350, 000 today and N500,000 tomorrow and think those monies would accumulate into something, I doubt it. Producers have to try and invest in other people’s career so that they can be better off for it.