By Olamide Olabode
After dazzling the music scene with two singles, Animal featuring Seun Kuti and Dominate, budding Afrobeats singer, Akachukwu Emmanuel Uche aka Mmzy released his debut EP on Friday April 23, 2021.
The EP, Ascent, a culmination of his musical efforts since he joined forces with Kerae Records, is his calling card to cement his identity in the Nigerian music industry.
Ascent has eight singles that define the singer’s ascendancy from nothing to something of a looming musical force. They include Away featuring Teni; Medication, No Time featuring Terni; and Onye Egwu, Bum Bum, Decale, Lies and Dominate. Mmzy’s other songs are Miracle Lover, Animal, Social Distance, and Wilding but none made it to the EP.
In this chat, Mmzy traces his journey into music and also talks about his challenges and latest EP, Ascent.
Can you trace your journey into music?
It was a rough journey but I thank God where I am today. I started music back in Benin Republic in 2012. I recorded my first single, Amoureux. Amoureux is a French word that means ‘love’. I recorded the song and shot the video the same year. I promoted the song over there and through some of the Alaba production outfits. It was not easy. I still remember how a guy who claimed to be from Alaba Mix on the Internet scammed me. He told me he was into music promotions. He said I should send money that he would promote my song in the Alaba Mix productions. I ran around, gathered cash and sent to him. At the end of the day, I did not see my song on any Alaba Mix production. I had to travel all the way from Benin Republic to Nigeria to find out what happened. It was really a rough process in the beginning. After I released my second song, my parents wanted me to go to school. I said if I would go to school it would be in Lagos, the heart of the entertainment world. I tried University of Lagos and got admitted to study French while still pursuing my musical career. I was in school when I got my first deal with Kerae Records. I was also working in a studio while in school. I was working in a filling station, trying to get some money to survive.
Why did you choose music as a career?
I chose music as a career because I love music. I love entertainment as a whole. I love whatever makes people happy and music is the best way to make people happy. And whatever makes people happy makes me happy. Music is the only way through which I can share my emotions. Music is spiritual, it connects your emotions with the people and my aim in life is to make people happy.
How would you define your kind of music?
I do Afrobeats, having the late legendary Fela Anikulapo-Kuti as a big inspiration. I enjoy doing Afrobeats music. I love putting the African sounds together; like when you have the tantan and sekere. Putting all these sounds together to get the African vibe and promoting the African culture too is my reason for doing music.
Tell us about your new EP and what should the fans expect?
My new EP, Ascent is all about a little poor boy ‘ascending from nothing to a superstar’. It’s all about believing your dreams and working towards it. Fans should expect new dope music videos, performances and a lot of great songs from me.
What was the creative process you applied into making the EP?
The creative process is that I believe in my sound. I stayed focused and studied people’s emotions, knowing that music is an emotional business.
What do you hope to achieve with Ascent?
I want to be one of the voices that speak the truth about the state of the nation. I want to be the voice of the voiceless and the disadvantaged for both the young and the old. It is high time we made the government know that we know the truth and call them out to change their ways. We should let them know we are not going to keep calm anymore.
What’s your relationship with Kerae Records?
I’m signed to Kerae Records here in Lagos. I signed my contract back in 2018 and things have been awesome. My journey with Kerae Records has been great. The label has been supportive. It is like a family. They are working very hard to see that my dreams as an artiste come true, supporting me financially. All my dreams and visions are on track with my label.
Who are your mentors?
The late Fela Kuti is my number one mentor. His sounds inspire me a lot and his songs are spiritual. I want to be like him. I want to make music that will last through generations just like Fela. Everything about him was original and I want to be just like that. My other mentors are Tuface, D’banj and P-Square. Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy are also there, pushing Nigerian music to the world’s stage.
Tell us about your most embarrassing experience.
That was in Ibadan. I went for a show; I was on stage performing and wanted to jump down from the stage and I didn’t know the floor was slippery. I almost broke my leg that day. I fell down hard. I just had to get back up and continue performing. It was highly embarrassing but I just had to go through the motion and continue performing.
What do you think is the uniqueness of your music brand?
The most unique thing about my brand is my style. My style is different. My vibe is different too. Mmzy is an artiste that reflects his francophone grooming in his music. You will always hear French language in my music. It is my style and it’s different. I always want the French-speaking people to understand a thing or two about the song I’m singing. So, I combine both French and English in my music.