Abinye David Jumbo popularly known as Mr 2Kay, had a ‘fast start’ to his career as music artiste. On October 8, 2012, he released his international debut single titled “Bubugaga” and got great reviews from top British mainstream daily, The Daily Mirror and also UK top music magazine MixMag.
The Nigerian singer and songwriter signed to Grafton Entertainment did not rest on his oars however, and he has since matured into a renowned music talent. In this exclusive chat, he goes downs memory lane and talks about how it all started, what he’s had to do to become the success he is today, and also reveals some interesting personal traits.
How has the journey been so far, seeing you’re another artiste who moved from Port Harcourt to Lagos?
I’ve been in Lagos for a few years now, but not really stable in Lagos. I’ve been shuttling between UK and Lagos and also going back to Port Harcourt. But, it’s been progressive and successful. It’s not easy per-say, to have left my comfort zone and come to another area, trying to gain my ground and starting all over again. But, so far so good, I’m doing great.
So how did music start for you as an artiste?
Music started for me while growing up, from my tender age. I had a rough upbringing. Growing up wasn’t quite funny with me. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, so I had to make plans for myself. I grew up with my mum and she was a petty trader at a point, and sometimes I have to leave school to hawk on the streets of Bonny Island in Rivers State. So, the only way I could keep myself company then was to sing to myself with some kids that were actually hawking with me as well, then, have fun and plays drums. From there, I was supposed to go to secondary school, but I was very busy singing with the children on the streets and in church as well. People started encouraging me that I had a good voice, so at a point I decided to write my own song when I got to secondary school back then. I attended a mixed school called Community Secondary School in Bonny Island, and most times the students do enjoy my music and they encouraged me to record my own singles and they were all willing to help by paying for my studio session back then. That was the beginning of everything.
How have you been able to stay away from controversies and scandals over the years?
I think it has to do with my upbringing and my management Grafton Records as well, because they have been able to actually train me; the way I react in public, talk to people and all that. Because, before I got signed to my record label, I actually went to Grafton Academy, which was in Port-Harcourt. It took me like a year to go through that; for them to actually work on my person and my whole mindset based on my background and where I am coming from, because it was all about violence. Now, I’m not a violent person, but I can also tell you that I’m not a peaceful person either, because where I grew up, violence was the order of the day, where you had to get everything you needed by force.
How has been, distributing your songs worldwide because piracy remains a big problem in the Nigerian music industry?
So true, but thank God that my label also has a branch in the U.K. So, I basically do songs in two countries: Nigeria and U.K.
About piracy, I think we are gradually curbing that.
You’ve been in Lagos for a while now. Which of the music cliques do you belong to?
I don’t have a clique but I have friends (Laughs). Timaya is my friend. Cynthia Morgan is my G. Solidstar is my friend, and so are Lynxx, Young John the Wicked Producer, Yemi Alade, Seyi Shay, and a lot of others. Basically, you don’t need to force yourself on people. If you want to be my friend, the door is open for you.
So how would you best describe Mr 2kay?
Mr 2kay is a simple guy, musical guy, loveable. I came about the name when I started my musical career back in the days. I initially used the name Mr 2kool and later on I changed to 2kay but 2kay is a popular word on the street (just like 2000). I might as well still change it later on in the future, we can’t say.
How can you describe you genre of music?
My genre of music is called Afro-Pop. The pop there is popular, so basically I do songs that are popular in the Afro way, and it cut across all genres of music.
How would you rate the international music industry as compared to Nigeria’s music industry?
Nigerian music is gaining momentum daily. Her success has grown a lot bigger than before, and we can’t compare it to how it was yester years. For instance, if an artiste drops a song that’s a hit, he wouldn’t want to rely on that alone, but will definitely drop another one to add to the success of the one he already has. By so doing, he or she is gradually gaining international recognition. People now are demanding for quality songs and not quantity, because people want to listen to good music.
If it hadn’t been music, what would it have been?
Laughs…Well as you all know, I’m from a town called the Bonny Island in Rivers State. I might be in the oil industry, not as a militant though. I was actually trained by LLNG and that was for a year, and I was even paid while still in training then. So, I believe I might have ended up in the oil sector.
When you first started back then, accepting your brand of music seemed difficult for people. How does it feel to be accepted now?
Well, it’s been God so far. A lot of people didn’t know Mr 2kay but now everywhere I go to, they scream my name. People want to have my autograph and all that. Perhaps my songs are topping the charts and I have cause to glorify God for his mercies and blessings over me.
Do you mentor anybody?
Yes, I have people I mentor. I remember a girl on my BBM asking me to be her mentor and I was highly delighted. Mentorship is all about believing in a person and investing in someone’s life. So, I do mentor a lot of people.
How do you relax?
I love my phone; I relax with my Xbox and other video games as well. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, but I like chilling with my friends and talking.