Magixx Interview: Overnight Successes Are A Myth and the Fresh Mavin Act is Proof
In the age of the internet and the ever-rising desire for young success, unacquainted members of the public are quick to take in relatively new success stories like a well-tied ribbon, taut, shiny, and unmarked by any hardship. But behind the perceived surface of perfection lies nights of uncertainty, toil, and turmoil, only ever known by fans and friends of the star and to its full extent, the star themselves. Hatched onto the scene of mainstream Nigerian music in the latter part of September on the back of the announcement of his induction into the star-making Mavin Record label, Alexander Adelabu, professionally known as Magixx was a new name for the bulk of the percentage of ears that streamed his eponymous EP and the social media users who soon swelled up his follower count across all social platforms. And despite being formerly alien to his artistry, most listeners after coming for the fireworks, eventually stayed for fun, thoroughly enjoying the many sides of himself Magixx had fused to make his debut project, his introduction to the world as well as the foundation of his professional music career as a budding star.
Yet while his rise to stardom may seem sudden and instantaneous to music lovers and the world at large, the new Mavin act, Magixx in an exclusive interview with Notjustok was firm on disproving the concept of ‘overnight success,’ insistent on the power of patience and belief in his craft which had fuelled him to stay true to his childhood love for making music. Keen to fulfill this love and armed with an unassuming air of self-awareness and assuredness we learn about Magixx’s earliest inclination to become a music-making superhero, his artistry-shaping years in Unilag, his journey to being discovered by Mavin and more. Read our interview with Magixx:
Hi Magixx you put out your debut project some weeks ago, how was that experience, and how are you?
It's a great feeling o, I'm excited cause it's something that I always wanted in my life-- to be able to reach people with my music and for them to feel my music. It's always been a passion from day one and now it's happening and I'm too excited about it and I'm looking forward to greater things.
How would you describe who Magixx is?
First of all, Magixx is for everybody and I think that is very very obvious in the project. It's for the person that wants to party, for the person that wants to feel loved, and the hustlers too. There's a little bit of Magixx in everybody, it's a brand that I'm trying to build to highlight that you could be all these things. That's the meaning of Magixx-- versatility, being able to do a lot of things, and do them well.
The sound definitely is Afro-fusion and there's a little bit of everything in it. You can hear trap, soul, Afro, RnB within it and it's an expression of art and how I can't be boxed (in one spot) as an artiste, that's what the project is all about in terms of the sound.
We're speaking to you at the beginning of your journey with Mavin, as the main character, how would you describe this juncture of your life?
This juncture of my life, it's new so it's quite intriguing. I would call it the beginning, you people are just starting to know me so you're definitely part of the journey. So this part for me is that ‘who is that guy?’ period and I'm glad that people ask that question when they listen to me. It's not just about having hit songs. It's majorly about people discovering your music and wanting to know more. It's an exciting time in my life.
Talk to us about the inspiration behind your name, it sounds like ‘magic’ too, how did it come to be?
It was actually Magic at first but someone is already using that name so it was funny because at the time, I used to sing, rap and dance back in school so there was a time I was looking for a name and I thought to myself ‘Guy you can do virtually everything,’ so I wanted to use a superhero name to depict something extraordinary so that was how I started using ‘Magic.’ So when I told someone the name, he told me it was already being used and that was how I added the ‘X’ which is also from my first name, Alexander. It was just one X then I discovered that someone was using that as well and added another X.
What are the influences and elements that power your sound?
When I was very young, my dad used to have a lot of CDs, ranging from Celine Dion to DMX, Tupac, Sunny Ade, Fela and more so I used to listen to all these genres and fell in love with them. I didn't have the luxury of an option cause my dad was always playing all these CDs, he didn't care what I or my siblings liked, he just played his songs. So from back then, I've always liked all these genres and liked to rap and sing and to fuse different elements and that's the root of my sound. You can hear it on the EP and I feel like people haven't even heard the full range because there's no purely Afrobeats song on the EP and I have a lot of that, the EP is just an intro to my sound. I'm looking forward to putting more songs out after this, and it's a whole lot of sounds that haven't been heard before.
Other than your dad, how did you discover your flair for making music?
I used to go to my grandma's CAC church back then so I joined the choir after graduating from children's church so I used sang a lot. Then my junior secondary school was a music school where I learned to play three instruments-- the mouth organ, the recorder, and trumpet and that was my primary introduction to music. I started recording music from SS1 but I'd always wanted to make music from JSS3, and all my life I was ready. The first recording was a straight rap song and it was very funny but you can tell that I used to rap from Pati.
When did you then decide to make a career out of music?
All my life, I've never wanted to do anything else. My dad never wanted me to do music when I was in school and was always about me doing it after. So I actually did that for him but while I was in school, I was always doing music. But my mom was always supportive. Then one time, I gave my dad some money and from that point, he started to realise it’s something you can actually make money off, and recently, he's been very supportive. Then my extended family used to yell at me like ‘What type of nonsense are you trying to do, what nonsense is this?’ But here I am.
As a Unilag student that also wanted to make music, would you say schooling there helped your journey as an artiste, what was that process like?
Without Unilag, I wouldn't have met the people that I met that helped me to put my music on these platforms. I wouldn't have had people in my comment section, cheering me on for others to discover my music. I feel like it's God's plan and you just have to be patient. In fact, if I didn't go to Unilag, I wouldn't have had the type of connections I had. I'd probably still be struggling if I was in another school. Unilag is quite open to entertainment, they have hall weeks, they have shows in school where you perform and you find other artistes also coming into that market. So yes, it was an important part of my journey.
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So what has the journey been like from being an upcoming act after Unilag to being in the Mavin Academy and then becoming activated?
Well it's been a journey, coming into the academy you have your mind fixed on ‘Ah, I'm going to blow next month’ but that's not how it works. You have to do the work, record, and stay focused so it's more than just having musical talent, it's about every other thing; commitment, passion. The experience has been quite interesting, I recorded most of my songs during the pandemic, all the songs on the EP too. But they're just getting to be heard now because it was a long recording session. It wasn't easy but it also was and it was a wonderful experience and now as a Mavin-activated act, the work is unending.
How were you discovered by Mavin in the first place?
So I'd just finished school January last year, and that month, my rent was going to expire cause I was staying off-campus so I was under a lot of pressure because I was going back to my father's house with nothing to show for it music-wise. So I started making freestyles on my Instagram while also looking for a manager. I told a couple of people and I used to send my unreleased songs to a couple of friends to get a feel of what they thought. Then one midnight in February last year while I was watching Netflix and praying to God, someone from Mavin texted me. The person told that Don Jazzy heard my stuff and he's very interested and he'd like to meet you. Around this time, MI had reached out to me as well because of the freestyle that I posted on Instagram to do a collaboration, so I was stunned by everything and it felt like that was the period God was going to answer my prayer because I had a potential signing to either Mavin or Chocolate City.
But when I finally got to Mavin, I actually didn't meet Don Jazzy for like three months and I was just recording back to back so when I met him, I already had a lot of materials and the energy was crazy. He was like ‘Bad boy, I don hear your song taya’ and that was how we clicked.
And this opportunity is one of one, there's no upcoming artiste that doesn't want this to have this cause there aren't any two organisations like this so I wanted to run mad when I got that first message.
Your Instagram blew exponentially the day you were announced and your music has been getting rotation, how have you been feeling and dealing with all these?
It's been amazing, I've been getting messages and videos of people vibing to my EP. It doesn't happen overnight. It looks like it did but I've been training and working for this all my life. People always forget about the work but nobody just got to the top by luck, even robbers put in work.
How has it been navigating your status as a new star?
It's been calm, I've been calm about it. I'm very confident about my music. I know it's going to take time for people to listen to the music because nothing happens overnight so I'm calm about it and not overwhelmed at all. The more people listen, the more you get to preach the gospel to. It's just for people to know that there's a new star in the building. I'm patient and calm and I'm not feeling any pressure.
Let's talk about the EP itself, what was the process of creating it and what was the inspiration behind the songs?
I recorded the songs during the pandemic, it was a good time to make music cause everywhere was serene and silent and the vibrations were calmer. And at the back of my mind, I just wanted to make a statement. I wanted to show myself as Magixx and my own identity. Funny thing is we selected songs for the EP four times. The first time, all the songs were party songs then we switched it up cause we were trying to read the room and I wasn't comfortable with the first pick cause I didn't want to come out and look like every other person so I wanted to show something that was different and that is why we picked those songs. We didn't select them because we wanted hit songs, we were trying to make an impression because this is an introduction to my sound and you need to lay your foundation very well.
Off the EP, what song would you say you relate to the most?
That'll be all the songs. Pati is the only song I made that I was only aiming to have fun with and my best song changes everyday. Right now, it's Pati cause I've been playing it a lot recently.
You serve as a key representative for mellow Afropop and your current success highlights the viability of that sound. Did you always know you were going to hit it big?
Well I've always wanted to do music and have always been doing that, there's a level of faith that goes into this. It's not just about making music, it's also about believing so much in what you do because if you don't believe in it, you can't convince other people to do that. So there has always been a level of self-belief that I've put into this and I feel like the determination helps and that's what has come to be a reality.
From here on, where do you see your sound taking you and what artistes would you like to work with, consequently?
To the biggest stages in the world and I'll like to work with Drake. He's one of my biggest inspirations as an artiste because he's also very versatile so I see a lot of me in him. I'll also like to work with Burna Boy and all the other guys doing great music.
What should people expect from Magixx?
Great music and me in your faces. Then good music and collaborations. Just expect the unexpected cause that's what Magixx is about.