From the Garden City to New York; How Mr Eazi made it

Article Summary

  • Nigerian Afrobeats artist, Mr Eazi, grew up in a family where his mother ran a small business while his father was a pilot.
  • Mr Eazi’s unique blend of Ghanaian and Nigerian sounds, known as Banku music, gained him international recognition and success.
  • He started his first business in university, balancing it with his studies and music career.
  • He has also ventured into various businesses and investments, including a successful investment in an American music distribution platform called Vydia.

Afrobeats music sensation Timaya was not the only music act from the South-South of Nigeria to sing about his mother running a small business while he was growing up. 

The likes of Waconzy and Duncan Mighty have also alluded to such days characterised by a quest for financial security by their mothers’ managing small businesses.  

One man, though, who definitely lived that life but hasn’t exactly made any songs out of the experience is Oluwatosin Ajibade, aka Mr Eazi.

The Garden City of Port Harcourt was the place of his birth on the 19 of July 1991. His mother, Mrs Oluwole Ajibade’s small business was a secondary stream of income for the family while his father worked as a pilot.  

Captain Alexander Olukayode Ajibade was serious about his business while he was in the air but on the ground, the man loved his music. 

He owned a rich collection that he would listen to almost every morning. Little did the retired Squadron leader from the Nigerian Airforce know that his leisure was shaping a leader in the global music world 3 decades ahead…

The early signs that the seeds of the passion for music had begun to germinate in Mr Eazi-s heart was his decision to join the school choir.

Off to Ghana to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 2008, he did not only touch down in Accra with his love for music but with an amazing acumen for business. 

His father had before now started running his private aviation consulting services. So, with both parents into business, talks about investment, profit and loss were not new subjects. Little wonder then what Mr Eazi’s first move was once he got into the University.  

He formed his first business called Swagger Entertainment and started booking shows, promoting events and parties etc, while also recording his songs and juggling all of these with being a student of mechanical engineering. This was 2008 and he was just 16.

It wasn’t so easy for Mr Easy to cut his teeth into the business side of showbiz but this was his determination. 

This resolve took a big blow when he put his biggest gig together yet and the performing acts didn’t show up. In fact, that evening he quit being a show business promoter in Ghana openly out of frustration. 

And the most popular thing he had achieved was adding his vocals on “My Life” which went viral in his school 

Discouraged? Not Eazi…

2014 he was 23, done with school and back home in Nigeria. Got a spot with Schlumberger to work for a bit. 

His interest in show business still burned as much as the desire to express his artistry 

He did not let go of the singing. So from 2013-2017, it was a non-stop attempt to collaborate with varied Nigerian artists such as Teckno, Olamide, Phyno, Burna Boy and DJ and Cuppy and producers such as DJ Caise, Terry G, Cobalms Asuquo, Young Jon, Malek Berry Legendary Beatz, so that he could leave his mark. And more than a mark did the imprint. The MOBO Awards crowned him the best African act in 2017.

The song “Leg Over” was a hit all over Africa. Life is Eazi, Accra to Lagos Vol 1 sold over 200,000 copies before release. 

Mr Eazi like a true genius, made a blend of Ghanaian and Nigerian sounds to form what he called Banku Music. A name he later christened his record label

As a pioneer of Banku music, he had grown so big in Ghana yet wouldn’t be nominated for Ghanaian awards because he was Nigerian by birth. 

In total Mr Ezi has released 3 mixed tapes and 4 EPs which include-

  • About Blow (2013)
  • Life is Eazi, Vol. 1 Accra to Lagos (2017)
  • Life is Eazi, Vol. 2 Lagos to London (2018)
  • Legalize (2022)

One Day You Will Understand (2020) & Something Else (2021)

But the big dreamer always thinking beyond his shores, kept working to make his music travel from the Garden like Eden where it all started in Port Harcourt to eating the big apple in New York. 

It did take flight, indeed

On that worldwide footprint, Mr Eazi performed at the prestigious Coachella Festival, in 2019 and on February 12. 2017 his Accra to Lagos mix tape debuted at number 4 on the Billboard World Albums chart

The obsession with business was incurable at this point. He opened his e-commerce platform. He also launched about 6 different businesses that included importing soda (soft drinks), food distribution, and an investment in some gold mining venture. In 2019 he launched emPawa You, a talent management company.

The more learnings and beating taken from his endeavours, the more he saw the need to add knowledge to his skill and drive. So, he enrolled at Harvard University in Cambridge USA, graduating in June 2022. It was now time for his businesses to wear a fully global face.

Venturing into business full time

Owning a second label in 2019, he calls emPawa Africa which gives 100 upcoming African acts the sum of $3k as a grant to further their musical careers. 

His biggest move was to form what he called Zagadat Capital which invested in a lending company, Pais, an African fintech company Pawapay, a South African basketball team, Capetown Tigers, a ticketing company called SHOOBS, and its portfolio company Vydia

This is where it gets super interesting for Mr Eazi. Vydia is an infrastructure company for digital audio and video distribution. An American music distribution platform which he had used before he decided to invest heavily in it. 

Kanye West and Akon were using the same platform for distribution.   

Well, Larry Jackson who used to be an Apple music executive loved the structure that Vydia presented and proposed a secondary buyout with his company Gamma. Gamma is a music and technology company. Negotiations were done and boom… the price settled at $1 billion.

As an ideas company, Vydia’s marriage to Gamma is an end-to-end realization machinery for limitless dreams. 

So as you read this, 31-year-old Tosin Ajibade aka Mr Eazi, who had a net worth of $ 3.9 million, is headed for the billionaires league.  

Here are his secrets…

  1. Sticking to his passion 
  2. A knack for the business end of any project
  3. The dissatisfaction of being your regular industry player. Fitting in won’t do
  4. A drive for expansion
  5. An Eye for mergers
  6. The wisdom and patience in nurturing and starting little
  7. Investing in viable companies outside your field of play
  8. Discerning the use of strategic relationships
  9. An eye for potential in human and infrastructural resources
  10. Humility and Focus.  

From Lagos to the world, a global Nigerian is born. A Nigerian-born global superstar singer, performer, songwriter, record executive, and business mogul.   

This is a life made by Eazi, a life that you can make too. Enjoy your roots. Project your dreams. Conquer the world. Build your global Nigeria.

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