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Interview: Bayanni talks success of viral hit and signing to Africa’s largest indie label Mavin Records

Photos: Courtesy of the label
Photos: Courtesy of the label

The prodigy.

At the end of January, we had a chat with the rising star, Bayanni, to talk about his viral hit ‘Ta Ta Ta’ (now with over 14 million streams on Spotify) from his self-titled debut EP. After reading the interview, you will learn more about Bayanni’s schooling, what part of Nigeria he’s from, what his fans refer to themselves as, how he met Africa’s largest independent record label owner—Don Jazzy—and his upbringing in the church.

GRUNGECAKE: Hey Bayanni! Congratulations on nine million streams on ‘Ta Ta Ta’. The song is a viral sensation and we are excited to know more about this song. What was the creative process like for this record?

The creative process of ‘Ta Ta Ta’ was not much different from my normal creative process. I write my songs mostly from my personal experiences. The day I wrote ‘Ta Ta Ta’, I was feeling funny, remembering an experience [from] the previous week. I got into the studio and wrote what the song is today.

GRUNGECAKE: What would you call your fans?

For now, I don’t have a name for my general fans. I want that to happen naturally and in due time. My female fans call themselves ‘Bayanni Angels’ and that has stuck. Soon we will have a general name for my people.

GRUNGECAKE: How important is performing live for you as an artist?

I grew up in the church, which means as an active child chorister and instrumentalist, singing and performing live has always been my thing. I love being in moment. Whenever I’m singing live, I always have that nostalgia that takes me back to when I was a teenager in church.

Live performance helps me connect more to the audience during performances and it’s also a chance to perform the song in a way that it even attracts new people who will love it.


GRUNGECAKE: How did you get to meet Don Jazzy?

Our first contact was on IG. He saw one of my freestyles, which I posted mindlessly by the way because I had been posting freestyles on my page at the time for a while.

He saw that video and sent me a DM. The funny story is that, at the time, he sent that DM I was asleep. So, when I woke up to the text on my phone, I was in disbelief and when I got over that, I was panicking if he had changed his mind about me, haha!

GRUNGECAKE: How did you get signed by Mavin?

After texting for a while, he told me to come to the studio. When I got to the studio, I was star struck! Of course, he’s someone I had always wanted to meet. He then played a couple of beats for me and asked me to jump on it. I recorded some songs and he loved what I did. Shortly after that I was signed into the academy.

GRUNGECAKE: What was growing up in Alagbado, Nigeria like? Share your experience with us.

Growing up was fun for me. I have four brothers, two elder brothers, and two younger ones. I have the best parents in the world. Although, it wasn’t all [a] bed of roses I grew up in a typical African home. All the morals I learned growing up is what has sustained me till this moment.

GRUNGECAKE: Tell us about your college days, graduating from the Department of Accounting at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife (OAU). What was that experience like?

Did I enjoy uni? Yes, I did. At some point, it was fun! I mean, the early days, but then it got to a period when I’ll just be like “When is this gonna end?” [I went through] The typical struggles of an average student, the ups and downs, trying to balance school and a budding career as an artist who jumped on every performance to perform in school.

GRUNGECAKE: You have a very distinct sound. What were you listening to growing up and how did that influence/impact the music you make today?

Growing up I listened to a whole lot of RnB, Soul music, and Pop. Then, at the age of 10, I started listening to P-Square, 2Face (or 2Baba), 9ice, Styl-Plus, Wande Coal, Don Jazzy and a lot of other people. It was from that moment, I knew I was going to do music full-time.

GRUNGECAKE: You released an EP in 2022 titled ‘Bayanni’. What is your favourite song on the EP and why?

Haha, I really do not have a favorite song of the ‘Bayanni’ EP, lol. I love all the songs. I don’t even have a favorite food. It never lasts. I can have a favorite song for maybe a day. That’s the max I can go. The next day it changes.

Written by Manny King John

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