Don Jazzy, the skilled Mo'Hits records producer of big hits taking Nigerian music to a higher level and also co-owner (now full owner) of the record company has made it clear that the business behind Mo'Hits still exist, but he just re-branded it as MAVIN records with him still serving as the CEO. However, in this interview, he captures life after Mo’Hits, and D'banj leaving the music group:
Did you envisage the break-up?
Obviously, I would not have seen it coming seven years ago when we started the company. But a year to the breakup, I saw it coming. We tried as much as possible to make it work. A lot of things happened even when we had shows like Koko Concert in Lagos, London and New York. We already had problems then but we still had to go for the shows and generally put up a front that all was well when in actual fact, it was not. It is not like it just happened; it took time because we knew that we had something very important to save.
What efforts did you make to ensure the partnership didn’t crumble?
Everybody tried to stop the break-up. If I did not want the company to move on, why did I travel from here to New York for a D’banj concert? It was a beautiful thing for Nigeria, Africa and us.
Are you still feeling hurt?
Yes, it hurt then and it still hurts. It’s not just me, even fans were badly hit. I remember when I was with a lady friend of mine and we were supposed to have a meeting. I told her it couldn’t hold because I had some issues to take care of. I told her Mo’Hits was going to break up and she started crying. The same way we feel bad about it, is how a lot of people are going to feel.
Is it true that you asked for separation from the group?
We were working together and all was going on well. It got to a point where I looked at the situation and we both decided that it was not working and we had to move on.
Did Kanye West take on both of you? Many said it was the origin of the problems?
We were both signed and I am still on that label. My deal with the label is one of the best deals ever. The deal is still on and I will still be a part of it until the day I terminate the contract.
So that means you are still working or going to work with Kanye West?
I am supposed to be in New York now but considering the fact that they know I have a lot of work to do in Nigeria, I can’t be in two places at once. I have to finish one before I start any international jobs.
Your new label Mavin Records was a direct result of the break-up…
I did not think I was going to change the name of my company for any reason. A month before we launched, I thought that companies go through re-branding for many reasons. I am supposed to still be the Chief Executive Officer of Mo’Hits Records and I own it 100 per cent now. What I did was to just go for a name change. I won’t be the first to do so. Although Mo’Hits is a name everybody has come to love and accept, they will love Mavin also.
Are you shopping for a replacement for Dbanj?
I have not gone to look for anybody that will replace Dbanj and I will never look for who will replace him. It is not possible! Entertainers are not the same, just as no two people are the same. I definitely know there is no way I am going to come across someone who is exactly like D’banj. He knows how to ride the audience, how to carry them along and I have watched the industry for many years and know it is going to be difficult to find someone who is like him.
You brought Tiwa Savage on board…
Even before the breakup, I have been looking for a female artiste. I have been talking with Tiwa for a long time. If I did not tell her to leave Los Angeles and move back home, she would not have come. I have been very interested in her career. At some point, I knew one day, we were going to end up working together.
At Mavin, are you still going to take a back seat like you did at Mo’Hits?
Definitely. I am even going to retreat further. As you all can tell from the new album Solar Plexus, which we just released, I tried as much as possible not to sing. I really don’t want to be an artiste. I understand that my vocal strength only appeals to a small number of people, so I don’t feel comfortable. I don’t like videos or cameras either. I love being involved in production. I am going to stick to that. Mavin is going to be run the way Mo’hits was run but with more expertise. I am going to get experts, who will take care of certain things. I can’t mix business and the creative process together. It’s better to have separation of duties. I have some producers and other artistes in mind that I don’t intend to make public now. All I would say is that we should look forward to a very exciting journey.
Your mix tape, Solar Plexus, is like a test run, how would you adjudge the response to it so far?
I have been releasing tracks for a long time now but I have never got this number of positive responses. Normally, when we release a track, we expect to get like 50 or 60 percent positive feedbacks but this one really shocked me. I don’t know if it’s what you call sympathy votes or it’s because there are more people who want to listen and see what we have come up with. Only a few people are criticising us.
Do you miss D’banj?
Definitely I do. I miss him a lot. I got in here today and the first thing I wanted to say was I’m D’banj!
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