How Mavin Records Became The Powerhouse Behind Some Of Africa's Most Celebrated Artists

Chief Operating Officer Tega Oghenejobo talks to BET about leading the Nigerian record label, the home of Afrobeats stars Rema and Ayra Starr.

Mavin Records is a leading Nigerian entertainment company founded by record producer Don Jazzy in 2012. With its headquarters in Lagos, Mavin Records is responsible for discovering and nurturing some of the biggest stars in Afrobeats, like Tiwa Savage, Rema, and Ayra Starr.

With a background in marketing, brand partnerships, and business development, Tega Oghenejobo leads the team at Mavin Records as the chief operating officer. He has worked closely with Don Jazzy before the record label was created and gained valuable insights from other industry executives who were actively involved in shaping the music scene during that period. This played a role in how he became one of the notable figures of African entertainment’s new school of industry executives. 

“My journey in the music industry began during my university years, where I actively engaged in various capacities related to music,” Oghenejobo says. “My enthusiasm for taking on new roles, attending meetings, and pursuing continuous learning significantly contributed to building the foundation for what we are currently achieving at Mavin Records.”

Mavin Records

In 2019, the company inked a multi-million-dollar equity investment partnership deal with Kupanda Holdings. Through this, the next wave of Afrobeats greats were born. Rema and Ayra Starr were both discovered through Instagram. 

Rema posted a freestyle performance of Nigerian singer D’Prince’s 2018 hit “Gucci Gang.” It went viral and caught the attention of D’Prince, who decided to fly Rema to Lagos. In 2019, the 23-year-old singer signed a record deal with Jonzing World, a subsidiary of Mavin Records. Fast forward to 2023, he became the youngest Afrobeats act to sell out The O2 Arena in London and the first Afrobeats act to hit 1 billion streams on Spotify for his single “Calm Down,” which was remixed with Selena Gomez. 

“We are incredibly proud of his impact,” Oghenejobo says of Rema’s recent accomplishments. “Our objective is to have more artists attain and surpass these milestones. The nature of our business is not entirely predictable, so we consistently show up and put our best effort into it, avoiding complacency.”

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Don Jazzy discovered Ayra Starr after uploading videos of herself covering songs. She was invited to the studio and was further admitted to the Mavin Academy, where scouted talents are placed, away from public scrutiny to help develop their song and persona. The Benin-born singer is now nominated for her first-ever Grammy Award in the Best African Music Performance category for her 2021 hit single “Rush.”

“Ayra Starr embarked on her first world tour in 2023. She is one of the most passionate and hardworking artists we have ever worked with, incredibly talented and deserving of the Grammy nod. We won't say we were shocked because she is reaping the rewards of her talent and the consistent effort she has put in over the years. We are happy to see her get the recognition she deserves,” Oghenejobo tells BET. 

Mavin Records’ signing process is multifaceted – from social media to concerts and talent shows. Oghenejobo says that as long as people keep putting themselves out there, they will always be on the lookout. He believes that the label's success is attributed to its belief in people, collaboration, and teams. “We've focused on bringing the right people on board and investing in promising talents. Collaboration has been a key growth strategy, and we actively seek strategic partnerships, both locally and internationally, that align with our vision. Despite the challenges of the industry being relatively new compared to global music markets, our bold approach has been instrumental. We continue to learn, adapt, and improve,” he continues.

“Supporting artists is diverse, and our marketing, A&R, and partnerships departments play crucial roles. We are always excited to build campaigns around each individual artist and work with them to execute,” he adds. “An artist must have a clear vision of who they are, understand the value they bring to the scene, be very perceptive of their own self, and be consistent. Talent and passion are also non-negotiable.”

Speaking on the future of Mavin Records, Oghenejobo reveals that the goal is to continue supporting its artists to achieve and surpass milestones that will prove the lasting influence of Afrobeats. “Most of our talents are young, aligning with our strategy to unearth raw talents and develop them,” he says. “LifeSize Teddy was launched in 2023, and Ayra Starr is set to release her sophomore album. Boy Sypce, Magixx, Bayanni, Ladipoe, Johnny Drille, Rema, and Crayon are also gearing up for more music and live shows this year.”

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