Majic Mike is a Kenyan artist, composer, song writer and record producer who describes his music as fun and youthful while at the same time not lacking meaning. He is the current studio engineer and Record producer at the RedRepublik studio and also part of the team of producers currently working on Coke Studio Africa 2019. Here’s his story:
Who is Majic Mike?
First and foremost, I’m a Christian. I’m also a Kenyan musician and producer. I’m basically just a young Kenyan who fell in love with Jesus and music.
Why the name Majic Mike?
Well, my real name is Michael James. So Majic Mike came from Code Red DJ Stylez when I joined his studio, Red Republic, as a sound engineer. We spent a few days thinking about a brand name and Majic Mike was our first and best option and even after the movie Magic Mike came out, I didn’t want to change my brand name because I felt it would best represent what I brought to the table, a lot of Majic haha.
Has music always been your ultimate career path?
Well, I’ve always been involved in music in one way or another. Since primary school, I’ve been curious about music and especially rapping at that time and I was always the kid you’d find representing the school in rap battles and what not and in secondary school, I had the choice between journalism and music.
But I became 100% sure about music in 2013 after I’d finished my college and I even went back to school to study sound engineering. I had already done a course in Mass Communication and had completed my attachment but it didn’t feel right. Music was always my calling.
So you started with rapping?
Just like I was in high school, rapping followed me when I started my music career. I actually had an injury in Form 2 where I bursted my knee cap and that put me totally off basketball which I was slowly falling in love with. So if music hadn’t panned out then I would maybe be this professional architect/basketballer
Then you went into producing, how did that come about?
Funny enough, in my whole music career, I’ve only had 2 songs produced for me. I guess being in the environment where I could see producers doing their thing, my interest peaked and I got caught up in the creative process. It was easy for me to get into production because I’ve always wanted to have complete control of my art. Even now you can still find me co-directing and being involved in the script of my own videos – it’s just my way of making sure that my vision is being executed in the way I had seen it. So to answer your question, I got into producing because there’s this idea in my mind and I’d love some control in how people experience it.
So Coke Studio, for you to be here, it means you’re doing something right. What do you think that is?
First, the abundance of God’s favor upon my life. So many amazing things have been happening all at once in my life and I can only credit this to God’s grace. Like the other day I was talking to someone and telling them how some producers have a bigger catalogue than I do, who have more experience, more connections but somehow, God’s favor has been sort of unfair to me. It doesn’t make sense but I appreciate the far He’s brought me.
I also prayed about this a lot with my fiancee and being a part of Coke Studio was one of the things I wanted to be part of as a producer. Proverbs says that your talent will bring you before kings and here I am chilling with kings of the entertainment industry in Africa.
But access doesn’t mean promotion. Most times we get a bit too excited about the access and we forget about putting in the work that would being in the promotion. I mean, yes I’m now part of Coke Studio Africa 2019, but what I do with this access is what will set me apart, I want to become part of the evolution that sets Africa’s music industry apart from the rest. I want my excellence and professionalism to set me apart on this journey
Do you feel that being associated with Coke Studio will being controversy considering your beliefs considering you’ll be working with secular artists?
I think at some point people make the Gospel small, because we make it about one thing. We don’t consider that Christians face so many things like relationships, marriage, love and so many other issues. The other day I paid dowry, so why wouldn’t I want to sing about the same things everyone else is going through? The only difference is my influence and my actions are influenced heavily by the fact that I’m a Christian. My decisions might be different but my experiences are the same and I think this speaks to those who criticize the platforms we’re given as Christians..
Coke Studio is something I prayed about with my fiancee because we knew the kind of doors it would open and as my dream is to be part of the evolution, my part at Coke Studio right now I’d God’s way of positioning myself to become part of this reality by putting me in a place of influence to achieve all this.
How has that been like for you during production so far?
We’re at week 5 and we’ve already had Lizer from Wasafi Records doing his thing so I really haven’t had time to fully absorb and appreciate the fact that I’m actually here at Coke Studio because I’ve had to go straight into work. I’ve had to immediately know and study the artists I’m working with, their music styles and how to best work with them. I want to give my all in Coke Studio
This is your biggest production gig so far?
Do you have a plan of where you’d want to work after this?
I’m really hoping that Coke Studio will be my entry into Africa. We have a couple of recognized producers whose work is appreciated in certain parts of the Africa and the world but we don’t yet have someone whose work has the magnitude of Don Jazzy or Lizer yet and I was having this conversation with myself with last week and honestly if I’m not the one of the most sought-after producers, I’d like to be part of the ones who laid the groundwork for those coming after me.
However it pans out, I pray that the experience and work I do now will contribute to the rising music industry in Africa.
*All photos courtesy of Majic Mike’s Facebook page*