When Iyanya first came into the music industry, fans knew him as a winner of Project Fame. He did a few singles that didn’t make waves, maybe because they were R & B or because he was yet to find the right management.
Then came Ubi Franklin, the manager who led him to release the club banger, Kukere. After Inyanya broke into the market with Kukere, people began to relate to him more as an independent singer, than a winner of a show and since then his career continued to see the daylight with more hits, back to back.
Inyanya has become a household name in and out Nigeria and to say Ubi was not instrumental to that success would be unfair.
However, with the recent development of a new label from Inyanya, which means him managing himself, do you think he can pull that off successfully considering the fact that he has never handled his music career all by himself in recent times.
Analysing the situation logically, this is what Joey Akan, an entertainment writer and analyst has to say about Inyanya’s new path.
“Now the singer needs to create a structure to run his personal business and manage his talent to greater heights. That’s what he is about now.
“But can Iyanya run a record label? Does he understand what it means to create and manage a behemoth of a company and steer it to profit.
“Kelvin Orifa, the MTN executive, was the first one who brought Iyanya from Abuja in 2010, where he resided in the home Tee Y Mix after the flop of his first album. Iyanya, under verbal agreements was brought to Lagos by Orifa, and Ubi Franklin was added on as manager.
“Iyanya never did a day of management in his life, with people always available to handle his business. ‘Kukere’ and all its planning was done at this point. In 2011, under the guidance of Ubi Franklin, he broke out from the wings of Orifa, and struck out with Ubi.
“Under Made Men Music Group, Ubi managed the firm and the talent. Iyanya’s job was very limited to creating the content, and handing over to Ubi, and working on the performance. It was Ubi who did the bookings, handled the business end of everything, digital sales, expansion and more. Iyanya took care of powering in the money via entertainment. That combination has worked wonders for a period in the Nigerian music space.
“But it was bad for Iyanya. An artiste of his caliber, Iyanya relied too heavily on Ubi Franklin for just about everything. Relationships were forged by Ubi, all aspects of the business was handled by him too. There was no deal that Ubi Franklin didn’t sit on, including the very minute details of album design, art direction and more. “Perform Iyanya, perform,” and he did, while Ubi made the moves off the mic. That combination was deadly, with division of labour creating a sexy brand that was sold for money.
“But like all good things end, the relationship has turned sour, and Iyanya is out on a limb. He is working to recreate the magic without Ubi Franklin. For him, it is like starting from the scratch again, and learning the ropes.
“He might have had an idea of how the system worked, but the finer points of industry networking has eluded him thus far. Truth be told, he literally would have difficulty running his business.
“That’s why he is on the lookout for new talent, and a team of industry-savvy experts. For the release of his latest single, ‘Ayaya’, he handled everything. He made the calls himself and supervised it. Oh, how strange that must have felt for someone who is fast approaching the dreaded ‘veteran’ status.
“It’s a bit like attending adult education classes in your old age, where you regret your past decisions that have left you illiterate but forge ahead with courage, knowing that only you possess the power to alter the future.
“But not all is gloomy for Iyanya. He is a star now, with a dope album, and a flopped one. Many hit singles have passed from his lips into the Nigerian music space, and that will not be forgotten in a hurry. On that score, he can leverage on his status to make things easier for himself.
“The name Iyanya can knock on doors and have them opened. But he has to learn how to knock on those doors, and that is like learning to breathe in the music industry. That’s a basic of survival in these cold streets.”
What do you think? Can Inyanya sustain his brand through his own label?