Fast rising artiste, Innocent Udeme Udofot, popularly known as Mc Galaxy, recently released his second album, MMM. In this interview with Solomon Elusoji, he spoke about his meteoric rise to stardom and what it takes to succeed in the Nigerian music industry
You just dropped your second album. But why is it called MMM?
MMM means Money Making Machine. And it means that anybody can be a money making machine â€“ anybody can make money. All you just need is determination; donâ€™t underrate yourself; anything you are now is not what youâ€™ll be doing forever. I used to be a comedian collecting N2, 000, I used to dance for free, but today that story has changed. I love good music. I hope the album goes far and brings in more money. The album contains 14 tracks and two bonuses, featuring a host of international acts.My first album did very well. I was just a year into music when I released an album. I had â€˜Sekemâ€™, then â€˜I Go Calabarâ€™ and also â€˜Komolopcholopâ€™ and they were all hits. But this album is out of the box.
What was the big turning point for you?
As soon as I dropped the â€˜I Go Calabarâ€™ video, everything changed. But it was not as big a moment for me as when â€˜Sekemâ€™ came out. It was just grace, not because I was too good. I cannot remember when I carried my pen and wrote a song.
How did you come about the name â€˜Mc Galaxyâ€™?
A girl gave me the name in Akwa Ibom, when I was leaving in face-me-I-face-you. We were just sitting down trying to look for a stage name for me, and she told me to use Mc Galaxy. I asked her what â€˜Galaxyâ€™ meant, and she said it is a combination of stars, and that I was a combination of stars: a dancer, a comedian and a musician.
What does the future look like for you?
Just because of the album I just dropped, even if I decide not to record another song for the next four to five years, Iâ€™m okay. By the grace of God, Iâ€™ll be the one to stop music by myself and focus on management, because I have lots of ideas, in terms of managing artistes.The structure for my label right now is big. I welcome any artiste that will hop on my label and just be loyal â€“ thatâ€™s the only demand I make, to be loyal; donâ€™t let anything get to your head. I am looking for that artiste that is like me; not an artiste that is desperate, but one that wants to do music to represent Africa, to represent Nigeria. Those are the kinds of artistes that I am looking for. And when I get them, I have the proper structure.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I donâ€™t have any musical influences.
Why did you not feature any Nigerian artiste on this album?
I was trying to get the African market. The first one I did, Davido and Olamide were on the album, so this one was focused on Africa. By the grace of God, people know me for naija; so Africa now needs to know me.
What would you have done, if entertainment had not worked out?
Iâ€™ll be a businessman, if not in entertainment. I am a very good marketer.
You have a collaboration with American artiste, Swizz Beatz on the MMM album. How was the experience?
The first day I saw Swizz Beatz, sometimes last year, he was so loyal I could not believe this was the artiste people have been talking about. When I met him for the first time,Â and tried to prostrate before him, he was embarrassed and asked me to stop. Rather he said to me: â€˜Iâ€™m your fan, my wife is your fan.â€ I was looking at him like he was a god, but he was very enthusiastic about â€˜Sekemâ€™. Now I can just pick my phone and call Swizz Beatz.His wife, Alicia Keys, loves good music, music that represents where you come from. Thatâ€™s why those people love me; they hear me speak my language, which they donâ€™t understand, but they embrace it. I was featured in a song in Swizz Beatzâ€™s album, and he did not allow me use English. He told me to use my own language. The language is everything. Thatâ€™s why I give respect to Whizkid and Davido and Olamide, no matter where they are, you will always hear Yoruba in their songs.The Swizz Beatz collaboration was just a favour. A lot of people pay for this, but this was grace. I have over three songs with Swizz Beatz. He loves â€˜Sekemâ€™. He plays it on his Snapchat, on his Instagram. Before you know it, we were in the studio together. And because of this collaboration, Busta Rhymes now knows me, Drake knows me, Rihanna knows me; I have been in the studio with most of these guys because of Swiss jumping on the song.
How do you hope to stop people from pirating this new album?
Right now, I ensure that the album is only on iTunes and MusicPlus. I have not sent it to any bloggers, because as soon as that happens, everyone will get it for free. The response we are having now has been positive. This is the only way we can make our money, because when it enters free mode, everything is lost.
And this is also one of the reasons why I have been doing a lot of international collaborations. To be frank, â€˜Sekemâ€™ did not make me a lot of money on iTunes like the â€˜Bounce Itâ€™ remix I did with Beniton. So, for example, for doing a song with Swiss Beat, everybody in America is very loyal; they wonâ€™t want to get it for free. The same goes for doing a song with Sarkodie. But my naija people . . . I love them sha. Nigerians donâ€™t buy music because of the artistes. And I think we can control that.
What does it take to succeed in the Nigerian music industry?
Itâ€™s very simple to understand Nigerian music. I like to tell an upcoming artiste the truth. If you see any upcoming artiste around me and he drops a song, that song will go far, because I will not hide from you the secret of making hits in Nigeria. The secret of hit in Nigeria is the sound. Donâ€™t let anybody deceive you that you are too good. You have to get the beat right, invest in your production, and work with the top producers. If the sound is heavy, you have a 70 per cent guarantee that it will be a hit, then, simple lyrics. Anybody can make a hit. If you come to my house, I am working round the clock in the studio. I donâ€™t rest. I still take myself as an upcoming artiste. That way, you are going to last longer in the game. But if because you have one or two songs and videos and you feel youâ€™ve arrived, then you have not started. I used to sleep in the club and beg some of these artistes to keep me in their boyâ€™s quarters. But today I have empty rooms in my house. Most upcoming artistes are not patient.
There is nothing in this life. You donâ€™t let the celebrity thing get into your head. Everybody has a role to play in your life. The person walking on the road is the one listening to your songs, the media are the ones pushing your songs to the audience, so who are you going to be forming for? So the lesser you form, the bigger you are. Thatâ€™s the logic of the industry.
You were formerly strictly into dance and comedy. How did you switch into music?
I did not know I was going to be a musician. I was thinking of how to start a comedy concert. Even when I did the â€˜I Go Calabarâ€™ video, I was doing it to give me more fame in comedy. When it went viral, I didnâ€™t even know what it meant or how to leverage on it to make money. But when I decided to really do music was when I started getting invited for shows. The first time someone called me, I asked them for their budget. They said one million naira. I couldnâ€™t believe it.
Have there been times when you felt like quitting?
I have never thought of quitting. There were difficult points, but I was always a happy fellow. Sometime, I will me finish a show and they wonâ€™t pay me, yet I continued to dance; I didnâ€™t care if I had money or not.