A casual interest in music while he was still a student has grown into a passion for producing artistes, Lawrence Aivboraye (a.k.a. Manipur) tells Okechukwu Uwaezuoke and Olufunke Adepuji
PIN Sanitation? It’s the process of deleting unwanted Blackberry Messenger contacts, the slight-built man, with a café-au-lait complexion, who introduces himself as “Manipur” explains. A guffaw is literally wrenched from the lips of the two other occupants of the table. A good one! The place: a restaurant that calls itself The Londoners, tucked away in a discrete location along Oduduwa Way in Ikeja GRA, Lagos.
With his mixed-racial looks (which he owes to his Indian mum and his Nigerian dad), he is already living with the risk of being profiled as a potential snob. Now, to add this exercise he calls “PIN Sanitation” to the mix would only reinforce that assumption.
If he seems unsettled, it has nothing to do with the company of his interviewers. Hours in a mind-numbing traffic between the two Lagos neighbourhoods of Victoria Island and Ikeja GRA should unnerve even the most composed yogi. It is even worse when the individual concerned is not normally resident in Lagos.
“Manipur” (real names, Lawrence Aivboraye), based in Benin, is definitely not used to Lagos traffic. Cradling his cocktail drink as though it were some kind of rosary or talisman, he explains the process of producing music to his tablemates.
The artiste, he says, comes to the studio for a voice-recording. The mixing can be done the studio or at home with his computer system. But he finds the studio a lot more conducive.
So far, he has produced a few upcoming Benin-based artists. One of them is a singer, who goes by the name Diwana. There are also Ainamore, Yungmotta and Stain, among a host of others. For the Igbinedion University graduate of computer science, producing artistes has become a passion. “The original plan was to be a singer or a rapper,” he recalls. “But you have to consider the business side. You have how easily artistes fade off from the scene.”
Besides, the prospects of having a rapper son must have horrified his medical doctor parents. This is even when he gravitates towards inspirational songs with decent messages and none of those explicit lewd lyrics. Looking back now, he thinks his temperament is more suited to producing artistes. Top among the current artistes he is producing are Sauce Kid (now Sinzu) and Phenom.
He acknowledges Quincy Jones and Timbaland as his mentors but owes all he knows about his current vocation to one Onome Eslo. “He taught me everything. He’s a great guy.”
“Manipur” produces under the business name, Purple Music. Why Purple Music? One of the two other occupants of the table, noticing his purple-coloured wristwatch, asks. Is there anything about the colour purple? He shrugs. It’s a personal choice he can’t explain to anyone. Besides, it’s his favourite colour. And “Manipur”? That’s the part of India his mum hails from.
He dislikes reading so much that rather than spend six months in the music school he had enrolled in, he spent just two months. It had suddenly dawned on him that studying music also implied learning to read the notes. All he needed to get around that was to buy himself a keyboard and the initiation process began in earnest.
The 23-year-old’s obvious aversion for reading might also be partly responsible for his traipsing through different universities. Notable among them were Benson Idahosa University (where he was studying industrial mathematics) and Igbinedion University (where he spent three years before his graduated). He further burnished his credentials with a certificate in 3D animation from Mikon in Benin.
“Mum’s original plan was for me to travel to India for my master’s degree but that plan seems to have been rested for now. Now, I wish to do all my learning in Benin before moving into the Lagos scene.”
It is understandable that his parents’ expectations of their first male child –among four children (consisting of two boys and two girls) – would have been higher. They seem nevertheless to be gradually coming to terms with his chosen career.
Music had started as a mere pastime in 2007/2008 while he was still a student. “But I didn’t quite take it seriously,” he adds.
Now, music is a serious business, his chosen career path. He hopes, through diligence and tenacity, to join the industry’s big league. Then, he would seriously consider relocating to Lagos.
Though he doesn’t mind being identified as Christian, he dislikes the idea of religions. “I don’t believe in religions. But I believe in God. I’ve come to realise that every church has a different message from the bible.”
No doubt, “Manipur” dithers between a sanguine temperament and an introspective disposition. He had once waxed philosophical in his twitter account (@purpleIQ): “Worry about your character, not your reputation because your character is who you are & your reputation is what people think you are.” This was after he had previously taunted his facebook friends with the tweet: “Don’t post pics on facebook if u not fine cuz I wud definitely comment that u r ugly. d truth hurts, embrace it”.