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Interview: Africa Film Award-winning Afrobeats Queen May7ven‏ #MusicMatter

Popularly revered Afrobeats Queen and Africa Film Award-winning international superstar May7ven was unquestionably born to perform and exemplify greatness. Greatness was undoubtedly destined and mapped out in her DNA given May7ven's legendary father Segun Odegbami - Nigeria's second all-time leading goalscorer in history for the national team - singularly inspired the ever-mighty Super Eagles to triumphantly claim the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations 1980; Segun Odegbami led Nigeria to win their first-ever major trophy. Making history and redefining unlikely logic runs deep within the Odegbami family with May7ven blazing an inimitable and unprecedented trail of her very own and showcasing that the impossible is possible with dedication, heart, talent and resilience to become great.

The multi-talented Nigeria-born entertainer and mainstream African television personality is a decorated multi-Award-winning singer-songwriter, record producer, creative visionary, A-list African celebrity, respected savvy businesswoman, successful international philanthropist and a bona fide positive role model and inspiration to millions of women around the world who vicariously find inner strength, undying love and lyrical relatability in May7ven's unique experience and imaginative art.

May7ven officially eclipsed all-time records in becoming the first-ever Afrobeats recording artist to ever receive the honor of A-list playlist recognition on United Kingdom mainstream pop radio courtesy of the African superstars universally beloved hit single "Ten Ten".  The international mainstream media have complimentarily dubbed the prolifically superb May7ven as the "African Beyoncé" and "The Nigerian Lady Gaga" significantly due to the versatile Nigerian superstars immense creative edge, dynamic live energy and unrelenting passion in delivering theatrical-esque entertainment, artistic showmanship and thoroughly sincere engagement with enraptured audiences incomparable to contemporaries throughout Africa and Europe. 

May7ven's intriguing back catalog of international Afrobeats hits remains ever-growing and evolving despite glory and heartbreak. May7ven's hit single “Take Off My Clothes/Bo Aso La Ra Mi" dominated the European Charts and officially conquered over twenty music video charts throughout the continent of Africa: MTV Africa, HiponTV, Nigeezy and Sound City. 

May7ven's well-crafted remix of Nigerian superstar Mr 2Kays "Bubugaga" witnessed United Kingdom's popular mainstream news outlet Daily Mirror excellently provide a perfect five star review for the Afrobeats record. In January 2016, May7ven released the equally impressive "MUMM" (Making Up My Mind), which lyrically addresses political views of oppression; May7ven's forthcoming studio album is set for release in 2016.

May7ven's watermark Afrobeats classic "Ten Ten" garnered positive reviews from The Guardian, Evening Standard, Eurostar Metropolitan, Voice and MOBO Awards. In addition, May7ven has performed live at the world famous O2 Arena, Leicester Square's five star world-class W Hotel, the Afrobeats Festival and extensively throughout the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

To fully coincide with the awaited release of May7ven's brand new material, the enigmatic superstar has announced a variety of key dates including: performing live at Afrobeats Live on July 3 inside the Jazz Cafe alongside a forthcoming and anticipated live headline show inside Sebright Arms on May 28.  May7ven's legacy continues to undoubtedly flourish and her unique evolution as a woman and entertainer has become even more captivating with the advent of brand new material and an array of must-see shows which will inevitably electrify London. The "Better Days" superstar will demonstrate exactly why the Afrobeats throne belongs exclusively to her.

May7ven - "Better Dayz" (Music Video) 

Purchase May7ven "Better Dayz" (iTunes):

Q: Without any further ado, your highly anticipated forthcoming headline event hosted inside Sebright Arms emanates live on May 28. What can avid music aficionados who previously haven't witnessed May7ven live come to expect on what is destined to be a phenomenal night? You know, it’s a very exciting period for me as I haven’t had a headline show for over a year or performed as I have been focused on making good music to perform. I am usually well masked so people never really get a chance to meet or connect with me in such close settings, so it will be a night to see and feel what I am all about. Not only as a musician, but as a being as there is so much truth to my new music. I love performing and as you know love dancing, but this particular show I want to be heard. I want to connect and showcase my gifts to people that appreciate what I do. I have a few special friends joining me on the night, so make sure you attend.

Q: Brand new single "Better Days" is officially released online only on May 7. Can you explain to the fans around the world a little more about the unique process of recording this impressive new single and ultimately the meaning behind the record? This is one of my favorite songs on my forthcoming album due to the truth behind the music. I am singing and writing from personal experience and a deep place. The process making and approaching this record is no different from the rest other than opening up so much. I am blessed to be working with a great producer Antoine Stone who sent me a few beats and soon as I heard this beat I fell in love. I loved this one ("Better Days") because of the opportunity it presented to write the unexpected and take it to a new direction; I had gone through so much in my personal life during that period and writing about it was therapy for me so I knew it could do the same for so many others. The spin on "Better Days" was taking it back to my Afro R&B roots and I just believed that the truth behind the music will allow the song to do wonders and its slowly making waves.

Q: Throughout your successful international journey in entertainment you have claimed a bevy of distinct accolades including being the recipient of a BEFFTA Award, Screen Nation Award, African Film Award and Women 4 Africa Award. Even to this day, do you find it relatively tiresome - if not sexist - when primarily male mainstream music correspondents don't fully comprehend the complexed artistry, overall contributions, rigorous schedule and endless labour of yourself as a leading African entertainment superstar and businesswoman? Wow. Thank you for the compliment and recognizing my work as both an artist and a businesswoman. Its hasn’t been easy no, its been tiresome but I thank God for it and all the experience as it has helped shape me to the powerful force that I am today in the music industry and personal life – I have become incredibly thick skinned, well grounded and radical. It is certainly hard for women in most industries, but particularly in music primarily because of male dominance. I think I was blessed to have come into the industry early at a time where they couldn’t make any comparisons to any other female in Afrobeats as such at that level internationally and I came as strong with my material, visuals, vision and drive like the men and never thought about the discriminatory path to success. I just approached it like I had the same opportunity as the men and was prepared to work harder than most. But things have changed; there are certainly a lot more women now, more comparisons now and men always put us up against each other, see us as the lesser sex, lesser artist even if we are beating them statistically in sales and following; its all overlooked. It is a mans world, so they like to say and think but we all know that really isn’t the case – for me women just need to work together a lot more.. 

Q: Fame Music Presents: Afrobeats Search For A Star show featured yourself alongside fellow Award-winning African music superstars Wizkid, David O, Iceprince, D’banj and AKA. What has been the most enriching part in appearing on the revered African talent show as a celebrity panelist? It was a great opportunity, but what a lot of people again didn’t know that the original concept for Search for an Afrobeats Superstar was my concept and resold. A year prior, we launched search for a star in the UK which attracted thousands of contestants worldwide and was profiled like the "Afrobeats X-Factor" without The X-Factor budget. I wrote the synopsis, organized the filming and production and facilitated the process. The visionary and great businessman Abrantee somehow managed to resell this concept to Fame Music and then got me on the panel as a judge. It was such a privilege to be on such a great panel of superstars, but even greater to be involved in the creation of search for a star. 

Q: Mary J Blige, Akon, Ginuwine, Joe Thomas and Beverly Knight are amongst the unique group of credible multi-platinum selling R&B/Soul acts in which you have toured with internationally. Other than the aforementioned superstars, which other major recording artists remain as highlights on your resume as it relates to collaborative touring? I have worked with so many great musicians and they are all highlights; all impacted different elements of my creative and musical experience. I am particularly fond of working with Jamelia on a number of songs on her debut album ("Drama") but it was fun touring and singing behind Blu Cantrell in 2003, something I did with Tiwa Savage. She and I were backup singing and I just remember laughing uncontrollable throughout the shows. We had so much going on backstage and behind-the-scenes; an experience I am sure she will now appreciate as a mother as when the lights and camera started rolling, we were on our A-Game and had to perform no matter what was going on and there was a lot of drama backstage. I also remember us discussing how long Blu Cantrell would spend in wardrobe and make up, literally hours and just couldn’t understand why, but now we are both experiencing the same process and adventure of looking picture perfect for public appearances.

Q: The astounding wave and ever-growing Afrobeats market in Europe has sufficiently grown with
 each passing year ever since the noteworthy release of your global A-listed radio hit "Ten Ten" which largely impacted radio and music television in Europe. Do you feel the wealth of African diaspora essentially played its part in inevitably enabling yourself to majorly crossover into the desired European market - particularly the United Kingdom? Oh certainly. I mean, I live in the UK and was part of the plan, process and growth. My take on it is that it took everybody from the DJ’s, promoters, blogs, press, artists, producers plus others to enable that crossover successfully. All I had to do as an artist was get the music right, ensure it had enough commercial fire power, shoot a decent music video and press the button. Of course there was that one important new medium that enabled a few of us to get playlisted at the time – Dbanj’s Oliver twist, Fuse Azonto and Mista Silva’s Boomboomtah, which was the newly launched Afrobeats Show on Capital – they gave us that daytime play, several times a day every hour like never before, which enabled our music to cut across to a wider and more mainstream audience. It wasn’t long after that other stations and platforms picked it up and it had a major domino effect, trickling to mainstream clubs, TV, print media and that’s really the evolution of the UK Afrobeats explosion.

Q: When did you initially come to realization that presenting was an avenue that you wanted to enter? Presenting is just one of the many things I dabble in if the right opportunity presents itself. I did a bit of acting in school and stand up - funny right? But stage is where I am most comfortable.

Q: Can you discuss more about the pivotal role in which your played in "Sistas Unite" which supports the Bring Our Girls Back campaign in Nigeria?Sistas Unite was born out of so many things, but primarily the plight of young women, the fight for freedom and justices for girls in Africa, and I guess throughout the world. The idea came to me during the period where 250 young girls were kidnapped in Nigeria by extremist group Boko Haram and that situation really affected me; how could it not? Thoughts of what they could be going through and be experiencing scared me as a woman, a sister, a daughter, a mother and these acts were being carried out by men. Am I a feminist, yes you can say that but I am also a great lover of human beings, freedom, justice, economic well being and human rights. I thought about their families and the financial and emotional support they would need and how I can continue the fight and music is one of the channels I could use to make the most noise and get the world media’s attention and support, which we did with the BBC. Just through music. It wasn’t going to be a selfish agenda by trying to tackle this alone. It led me to thinking about my sisters right here in the UK in the music industry who struggle to even get airplay let alone support, who are also challenged in many ways in both personal life and the industry and I knew if I had them all on a record so many things could be achieved and so many doors could be open even for them. Up until then, I couldnt remember ever seeing any Afrobeats females collaborating or uniting in music. No togetherness. Nobody actually knew each other than on social media, so that had to change, too. A friend of mine Daniel Sync helped me to coordinate and manage this experience and I organized the music and recording. It was a massive project. I flew to Nigeria to continue the agenda, which I tried and still trying with the females over there.

Q: Which inspirational philanthropic campaigns are you currently working on throughout communities? I am still actively working on Sistas Unite and the plight of young girls getting an education in Nigeria. I have co-founded Teenz2Queenz, a youth empowerment charity and event with my business partner who is the founder of Women4Africa, Tola Onibanjo.I am an ambassador for the Nigerian Youth Football Team for Boys. I am also a sponsor and involved in Action for Children here in the UK and so many other charities tackling homelessness. I am currently working on the development of an App that will enable us to get help to single mothers in that hour of need in extreme and special circumstances; Gas, Electricity disconnection, empty fridge, legal guidance and motivational mood based automated messages.

May7ven's music & EP is available on Soundcloud - https://soundcloud.com/may7ven

May7ven Twitter: @May7ven
May7ven Facebookwww.facebook.com/May7ven
May7ven official websitewww.may7ven.com
May7ven Instagramwww.instagram.com/may7ven

Interview and Article by: Dean Perretta @DeanPerretta
Two-time Award-winning Multimedia Creative
Interview: Africa Film Award-winning Afrobeats Queen May7ven‏ #MusicMatter Interview: Africa Film Award-winning Afrobeats Queen May7ven‏ #MusicMatter Reviewed by Crystal Emmanuel on 10:29 Rating: 5

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