Ezenwa Enebeli, aka D’Prince, talks about his career, Mo’Hits Records and his relationship with elder brother, Don Jazzy, in this interview with ADEMOLA OLONILUA
My music career
My career kicked off in 2005 with Mo’Hits Records. That was when my elder brother, Don Jazzy, D’banj, and I were living in London. We decided to return to Nigeria and start Mo’Hits. Basically, I come from a music family. My dad was a musician. My mum was also inclined to music, the same as my sister. But I am the only one in the family that took it up as a full-time career.
How my parents reacted to my choice of career
Surprisingly, they supported me from the first day I let them know I would become a musician. They had always known my brother and I would delve into music. We were always attending music festivals. They were not really surprised that we eventually ended up as musicians. They didn’t oppose it, though my dad wanted me to do something else. I studied Business Administration and ICT in London. He decided to let me do what I wanted when he saw that I was really serious about making music.
Insinuations that I can’t sing
Everybody has a right to express his opinion on any subject. Obviously, I cannot satisfy everybody. Some people connect with my music and others do not understand it. My goal is to make sure that I play my part and reach out to those who are ready to listen to my music. There will always be critics.
When we started Mo’Hits Records things were not rosy. In 2005, everything was focused on D’banj. After D’banj, we produced a CD that featured D’banj, Wande Coal, Dr. Sid and K-Switch. I was a back-up singer. People used to wonder if I could sing. It is a normal thing. They thought I had everything going smoothly for me because I was the CEO’s brother. If your elder brother was a journalist, especially if he was the boss, people would question your reportorial skills. It took quite awhile before I could understand my sound and the business properly. It wasn’t that rosy till I released my own debut single titled Omoba in December 2009. It was big and I was nominated for many music awards. That CD occupied the number one position on music charts for many weeks. When I uploaded the content of the CD online, it was criticised. Some critics wondered what I was talking about. They asked if I was lyrically competent. But some people commended me. They said I did a nice job. In this world, you always have those who dislike you and everything you do and those who are patient with your work. The same thing happened when I released two other CDs. I have also participated in collaborations. I try to set a pace for myself and I deliver. It has not been easy for me. But I see it as a journey and I always try to stand out in what I do. My fans out there appreciate what I do. That is the beauty about this business.
Treatment by Don Jazzy
Some people thought Don Jazzy accorded me special treatment at Mo’Hits Rcords. If you were present during our production sessions, you would see that they were wrong. During the recording of the CD titled Solar Plexus, I was the last person that picked beats. I did not get any special treatment. We worked as one family. Dr. Sid, Wande Coal, Tiwa Savage and I sat down together in the studio. So, there was nothing like saying this or that beat was very sweet and I would keep it for D’Prince. It is very unprofessional and we do not work that way.
End of Mo’Hits Records
It is not something to be happy about. It was a very sad period for the family because we had to experience a change. At the end of the day, we had to move forward. It wasn’t pleasant, but we had to do what we had to do.
Collaborating with D’banj
I cannot tell because I do not know the future, I don’t know how it is going to work out.
Life as Don Jazzy’s sibling
Although he is my brother, when it comes to work, it is strictly business. At that point, we try as much as possible to keep our relationship formal. We don’t allow sentiments to interfere with our work. If you see us working in the studio, you won’t know that he is my brother. We don’t have the time for frivolities. At the end of the day, what counts is the music and hard work. It is a privilege to have someone as talented as Don Jazzy as my brother.
Between Mo’Hits Records and Mavin Records
I don’t think I can spot any difference. When it was Mo’Hits Records, we were one family. Now that Mavin Records is born, the status has not changed. We live and work together. I think we are more focused than ever. Nigerians should expect us to achieve more success than we have done so far.
First female singer on Mavin Records
It is always good to have a woman around, especially a woman like Tiwa Savage, who knows how super talented she is. Her presence on the records label has spiced up the group.
About the song titled Take Banana
It is simply an invitation to take banana, just as you would say ‘take water or take rice.’ People have interpreted it to mean different things. If I had meant it as something else, I would have mentioned it in the song. Some people even allude the expression to sex. They say it should have been ‘take plantain’ because they like plantain. I have a reason for choosing the word banana. I’m encouraging Nigerians to eat healthy foods. I’m glad that the song is well received and it is making waves in the market. It feels good to do something that people will appreciate.
Origin of the concept
Anytime a female friend of mine paid me a visit, she always said that she was on a diet and would like to eat fruits. One day, I went out to get her a bunch of banana and told her that she must eat them all because she always requested bananas. I told her to fetch her more bananas and she must eat up everything. That was how I conceived the idea to sing about banana.
The song titled Amarachi
That is a more conscious song that I wrote for a girl called Amarachi, whom I met in Enugu in 2011. I met her back stage during a show last Christmas and we got along well. But I haven’t seen her ever since. I dedicated the song to her. I heard it is a big in the East.
From rap to straight songs
I wouldn’t call it a complete switch. I combine rap with straight songs. I can rap and I can sing, but I have to stick to what works for me at the end of the day. It is like selling rice and beans. If people like your rice more, then you should reduce the quantity of beans that you sell. That is what I did.