LONGREAD: How Mr 2Kay Went From ‘Waterside Boy’ To ‘Elevated’

Posted on February 06 2018 , at 01:24 pm
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  • The young boy from the riverine communities in the Niger Delta has defied the odds to become another type of success.

Born and raised in the ancient town of Bonny, situated at the southern edge of Rivers State in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, Abinye David Jumbo popularly known as Mr 2Kay began with very little hopes, the tasking journey of finding self-fulfilment and bringing glory to his family and hometown through his God-given talent – singing.

Coming from a riverine community where the dreams of most parents for their kids is to see them build an empire in the oil and gas sector – and in a time when everyone who nurtures the idea of becoming a musician is more or less regarded as misguided, Mr 2Kay had many reasons to give up even before his journey began.

The Island of Bonny is home of the multi-billion naira Nigerian gas project; Liquefied Natural Gas (Nigeria LNG) and it’s communities play host to various multinational oil companies including; Royal Dutch Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Agip, and Elf so typically, the degree of success in this environment is measured by number of oil blocks and ferries that is owned by an individual.

Mr 2kay, however, defied the odds and sought for a personal definition of success. One that is not measured by material possessions, one that is from within. After two years of proper training in electrical and gas engineering, and chasing a degree in the Fine Arts and Design department of the University of Port Harcourt which he later shelved in pursuit of his musical career, Mr 2kay recorded the first victory in his musical journey.

“I was hustling from a very young age; I actually used to sell kerosene for my mom then I got my first job at the age of seventeen and did different jobs until my early 20’s when Mr. Tonye organised a talent show in Bonny which I won after performing a Christmas song that I wrote back in the day”, He revealed during a recent chat with NET.

R – Mr 2kay, M – Tonye Ibiama and Duncan Mighty

Mr. Tonye Ibiama is equally a native of Bonny, a stakeholder in the Port Harcourt Entertainment Industry and CEO of Grafton Entertainment where Mr 2kay is currently signed to.

“Getting signed to Grafton Entertainment used to be my prayer point. My friend had been approaching Mr. Tonye for a long time on my behalf, but as soon as I won the talent show, I won their heart and after a while, I got signed”, he disclosed.

Now armed with the backing of a man who is willing to invest in him, Mr 2kay was faced with the task of proving himself not just to those who believe in him, but also to himself. This was the beginning of 2Kay’s professional career as a musician.

Waterside Boy Album (Released – 2012)

The release of his 20-track debut album “Waterside Boy” in 2012 set Mr 2Kay off to a great start. With standout tracks like “Run This Town” and “Waterside Boy”, the singer rose to become an unignorable musical force in the city of Port Harcourt and Rivers state entirely.

For Mr 2Kay, throughout his journey as a musician, he has constantly been put in a position where he had to prove the degree of his musical prowess and according to him, hard work and the grace of God has always helped him prevail.

His debut single “Run This Town” which was released in 2010 was a product of time and chance as it was recorded during a session that was not originally set up for him. “We were in Grafton studio’s one day; another Grafton artiste was supposed to record but the chords were having issues so the producer (Orbit) asked me to test the microphone. During the soundcheck, I began to vibe to the lyrics of the song and that was it… the producer felt it and requested that we record it”, Mr 2kay told NET.

Run This Town introduced Mr 2Kay to residents of Port Harcourt and his follow up single Waterside Boy which he offered in 2011 cemented his position as a force to reckon with. Waterside Boy was a tribute to his community and every other riverine community in the state.

“I released the song around when Gov. Amaechi (Rivers state) ordered the demolition of houses in the waterside areas of River state and the song served as a soundtrack to the plight of the people and that actually helped because Amnesty International actually used the song in a documentary that covered the court battle between the people and the Government. The demolition order was later halted”, 2Kay revealed.

The 20-track project was an essay on his immediate environment and a projection of his early ambitions which was to become a champion in his hometown.

After the success of his Waterside album, Mr 2kay was ready to take the world and ushering him into this new journey was his hit single “Bubugaga”. This record skyrocketed the singer to an international star.

Bubugaga nearly didn’t see the light of day because according to 2kay, his label was picking another song. “I actually leaked Bubugaga because I felt it had so much potentials and my label was picking another song. As soon as I leaked it, everyone instantly fell in love with the record”.

In the year that followed, Bubugaga was remixed with London-based singers; May7ven and Moelogo and eventually charted alongside several global hit records and got playlisted on the biggest radio stations in the UK.

“We moved to London around this time and shot the video there. During my stay in London, I released other solid records including ‘Summer Girl’ before we decided to head for the Lagos market, 2Kay revealed.

Count It All Joy EP (Released – 10th, February 2016)

Now faced with a new task of replicating his magic in Africa’s biggest music market “Lagos”, Mr 2kay made a respectable introduction with “Bad Girl Special” featuring Nigerian dancehall heavyweight; Patoranking.

While the original version of the song made a pretty decent impact, 2Kay enlisted diva’s; Cynthia Morgan and Seyi Shay and offered a remix that earned him the attention of Nigerian mainstream consumers.

The success of Bad Girl Special put the singer in a respectable position but once again, he had to get the one hit wonder label off his shoulders.

A couple of months after he offered the remix of BGS, 2Kay released what so many consider his best material yet titled “Who No Like Better Thing”.

The ear-soothing keyboard progression and 2kay’s resonating story made this record a national hit. “How I no go love you when your uncle na Senator, for story to change, na just one signature”, He sang on the track as he narrates different tales of hidden schemes.

All of these amongst other standout tracks; In The Morning, Moniegram (ft Timaya) and Ladder were housed in his 2016 9-track Extended Playlist titled “Count It All Joy”.

Elevated Album (Out – 11th, February 2018)

Coming off a recent robbery attack that almost took his life and haven journeyed graciously from a budding singer in the small town of Bonny to becoming a respectable voice in the African soundscape, Mr 2Kay is in a place of realization. “It has been from glory to glory for me. Even though there’s more to achieve, I am acknowledging God’s blessings. I am Elevated”, He pronounced.

The soon to be released 15-track album is an essay of thanksgiving, reflection, and excitement. With pre-released tracks; Belema, Pray for Me and Banging featuring Reekado Banks, Mr 2kay is already stirring anticipation for the project that will take him through another glorious phase of his musical journey.

The Elevated album will be released on the 11th of February, 2018.

 

 

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