Mavin COO Tega Oghenejobo.
The IMI 20th Nov 2023

'When artists and their teams are in perfect sync, great things can happen'

Mavin COO Tega Oghenejobo talks about the company’s roster and blazing a trail in the Afrobeats genre…

Founded by Don Jazzy in 2012, Nigeria-based Mavin is Africa’s biggest music label and home to some of Afrobeats’ best and most famed artists, producers. It’s no surprise then, that as the genre enjoys a real boon in international popularity, Mavin itself is seeing growing success and industry attention.

In August this year, the company introduced its newest artist, Lifesize Teddy, with Jazzy labelling her “a new star in the making”. At the same time, Mavin celebrated two other acts on its roster that continued to blaze a trail for Afrobeats on the world stage.

The label’s biggest export Rema has achieved over 3 billion streams in just under 3 years since his debut, with 34.7 million monthly listeners on Spotify, the highest of any Afrobeats artist.

Meanwhile, Ayra Starr launched her career in 2021 and is now considered one of the leaders of Africa’s ‘New Wave’ in a typically male-dominated Afrobeats scene. She is already Mavin’s second most successful artist, with over 1.5 billion career streams and 11.3 million monthly Spotify listeners.

The pair contribute to Mavin’s global influence across more than180 countries, and a worldwide streaming count of over 6 billion across an internationally successful stable of artists.

We caught up with the company’s COO Tega Oghenejobo to talk about the success of Rema and Ayra Starr to date, and the potential for Life Size Teddy to follow suit…

Mavin has achieved significant artist successes this year with Rema and Ayra Starr. What’s been the key to that success?

To achieve any type of success, there is a need for relentless hard work. Our teams are committed to working with the talent to ensure we achieve the absolute best possible results. Our ambition knows no bounds, and with each milestone, we are inspired to do more. A crucial part of our culture is a commitment to continuous innovation and collaboration. We recognise that we are trailblazers in our industry, and therefore, we are dedicated to consistently improving and developing new and more effective methods for both business and creativity. This is the best way to achieve growth and success.

Our partners also deserve recognition. We have collaborated with various teams, both locally and internationally, to ensure that we continue on an upward trajectory. We are confident that we can achieve even more.

Rema achieved a billion streams on Spotify with Calm Down featuring Selena Gomez. What were the key factors in that campaign’s success?

It’s an incredible milestone for Rema and a significant achievement for the entire team. Making history is always satisfying. We also want to acknowledge the fans and Selena Gomez, along with her remarkable team. Achieving a billion streams on Spotify is a collective effort. When the artists and their teams are in perfect sync, great things can happen. Rema was dedicated to the cause from the beginning, creating outstanding content and delivering powerful performances. The song was well-received by fans, radio, and DJs, and they shared it with their audiences in various territories. Data analysis also played a crucial role. We paid close attention to the numbers, identifying key territories where the song was popular, and we intensified our marketing efforts in those regions. Additionally, there were fantastic fan-generated moments that we were able to amplify. Plus the excellent partnership with Virgin Records who distributed the music. All of these factors, and more, contributed to making ‘Calm Down’ Afrobeats’ biggest song of all time, and we are truly grateful.

What are your plans for the rest of the year with Rema and Ayra Starr?

Rema has just released his Ravage EP, which has already charted in more countries than his previous Rave and Roses album, a remarkable achievement. We are immensely proud of him and have his O2 show in London on November 14th was a major highlight. There’s also the closing leg of his World Tour, including a hometown concert in Benin, which I’m personally excited about.

Ayra Starr is currently in the UK on her 21 World Tour, and it has been fantastic to see her perform, connect with fans, and continue developing as an artist, especially considering she’s only three years into her career. To embark on a tour of this scale is truly amazing. We are determined to finish the year on a very strong note.

What are your plans for Lifesize Teddy?

It’s been incredible to see the enthusiastic reception that Lifesize Teddy has received from fans. Her eponymous debut project, the Lifesize Teddy EP, was well-received, and she is undoubtedly a great talent bringing a fresh voice to the scene. We are very proud of her and have high confidence in her growth and potential. She will be joining Ayra Starr on the UK leg of her 21 World Tour, and we are also collaborating with her on a second project in November. We are excited to provide more music to our existing audience.

Where do you see the global growth opportunities for Mavin?

We are actively pursuing global growth through collaborations in touring, film, and TV syncs and licensing, merchandise, and gaming. We aim to expand our artists’ reach, engage with new audiences, and diversify creative expressions.

Mavin also boasts a roster of talented producers and songwriters. What are the ambitions there?

In addition to their remarkable talent, our goal in signing these individuals was to send a message to the industry about the crucial roles that producers and songwriters play in the music creative process. We have observed a positive shift in the conversation surrounding these behind-the-scenes professionals. For instance, Andre Vibez produced ‘Calm Down,’ and Mbryo co-wrote hit songs like ‘Rush’ with Ayra Starr. Milar also played a significant role by co-writing the majority of songs on her debut album ’19 & Dangerous.’ Prestige, another member of our roster, is responsible for Bayanni’s ‘Tatata,’ which was one of Nigeria’s biggest songs last year. Jvxn and Sevn are also part of our roster, and we are excited about their upcoming projects.