Mavin Records boss, Michael Ajereh, better known as Don Jazzy, has opened about his relationship with his former business partner, Oladapo Oyebanj aka D’banj, eight years after they parted ways.
Speaking with Triple MG boss, Ubi Franklin in an Instagram live session, Don Jazzy emphasised the importance of maintaining good relationships with artistes as a record label owner in order to avoid betrayals.
Don Jazzy said he enjoyed an uncommon relationship with D’Banj while they both ran Mo’Hits together.
“The way I am with people in my company like myself and D’banj, money issues didn’t occur. D’Banj and I were so in sync that D’Banj can go to Oba of Lagos and return with N10 million and we would still share that money.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with performance o,” he shared while stating the need for record label executives to have a good relationship with their artistes.
Continuing, Don Jazzy said, “If you are not in a good relationship with the artiste that is when he or she will go outside collecting shows and not telling you.
“So bond with your artistes more, it’s not everything that contract can solve but it is good to have a structure in place so that if by any chance things get out of hand you can step in and the contract can be what you guys can use to solve your problem, but I try to make sure that it doesn’t get to that.”
The music producer and recording artiste also shared how he has successfully managed his label in the last eight years.
He said, “There is no structure in Nigeria, but then I have been hearing that from Mohits time, from years ago. So I said to myself what are we going to do now, we have to look for a way out.
“So I came up with some ways that we can work in our part of the world because everything I read on the Internet didn’t seem like it was viable in our own space. It is on this live show that I began hearing 80/20, I don’t even think I have heard 70/30 before.
“I know that things like that dey for Oyinbo contracts but here it cannot work. Here, you are signing a contract with their father and mother, uncle, their Egbon and the Baale, and Oba of Lagos.
“So at the end of the day, you have to study human beings and look at how we operate in general, our culture is different, everything is different so you have to incorporate that into your business.
“But then also there are a few things I put in my head as I’m running my record label which I think most of us that run record labels don’t put in our heads. It is a business where the profit we are supposed to make is not that much.
“Have you seen the name of Universal group owners on Forbes list before? You would not see any record label executive there other than the record label executives that are their artistes or producers or stuff like that. So looking at that I was like okay, so fine, that means this business, a record label doesn’t make much money like that.
“So I try to work and understand the artiste if you are making money and the artiste is not, first off the mother is the first person that will come for the artiste. If the artiste cannot beat their chest that they have moved from point A-B that’s when they will be having this plenty talk.
“I haven’t had anybody leave my record label while they are under contract so in that regard, I don’t relate, all my artistes have finished their contracts and ensured added extra care set before they go.
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“I don’t wait for them to come and tell me that you need to upgrade the terms of your contract, I already know that you’re a big boy, don’t worry I will help you upgrade it so that you know that we are equal partners, so that way they don’t feel that need to go out and venture into this whole record label business because jumping to go and start a record label business most people will realise at some point that it is not beans. So for me I try as much as possible to have a very good relationship with my artistes,” he said.
Rounding off his session, Don Jazzy said, “I try to create a scenario where we trust each other, that way we can work to a point where capturing all these numbers in the books for years is easy for us to explain to investors that this is what it looks like and in my case, I was lucky enough that I didn’t go searching for investors, investors came looking for me.
“But the investors came through, did their due diligence, looked at the books and it looked like good business and we are in business. So I feel like most people don’t capture these things in the book.”
Mo’hits were one of Nigeria’s most favourite record labels whose painful split shattered the hearts of many.
The label comprised of the production Mavin, Don Jazzy; The Entertainer, D’Banj; Vocal Powerhouse, Wande Coal as well as Dr. Sid, K-Switch, Ikechukwu, and D’Prince, went on a painful split in 2012 over several internal disagreements.
Don Jazzy confirmed Dbanj’s exit from the label on his Twitter account citing a difference in interests as reasons.
Don Jazzy went on to establish another record label known as Mavin.
Mavins record is home to top music acts like Dr. Sid, Ladipoe, D’Prince, Rema, and Crayon. After their messy separation, Mo’Hits artistes performed together for the first time on December 27, 2017 at Davido’s ‘30Billion Concert’.
Davido, whose concert trended on Twitter, said it took him two months of effort to bring the moment to fruition.