Singer Mr. 2Kay – real name, Abinye Jumbo – broke onto the music scene in 2013. Known for his hit, Bubugaga, 2kay has performed with artistes such as May7ven and Moelogo.
In 2012, he started a charity event where he goes to the waterside in Port Harcourt to give food stuff to the elderly and school kits to the kids. He also performs for free for the waterside community as his way of giving back.
Our reporter, Michael Abimboye, sat down with him for a rare chat.
PT: Who is Mr 2kay?
Mr. 2Kay: 2kay is a simple guy, sometimes stubborn. He is loveable, friendly. I came about the name when I started my music career but with Mr 2 Kool. After a while, when I got signed to Grafton Records, I had to change my name. So I changed it to 2k. You know 2k is a popular word on the street which means 2,000. So, it’s like I’m here to stay forever like right now we are in 2015, next year we go to 2016, so you will always have my name on your lips.
PT: How did you get into music?
Mr. 2Kay: I had a rough upbringing. When I say rough, I mean I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, so I had to make money for myself. I grew up with my mum, and she was a petty trader at some point and sometimes I had to leave school to help hawk on the streets of Bonny Island. The only way I could keep myself company was to sing. From there, I moved to secondary school where I was in the children’s choir and was still singing to a few friends and people kept saying you have a good voice. Then, I was singing other people’s songs but at a point in time I began to write my own songs while I was at Community Secondary School, Bonny. Some friends began to encourage me to go to the studio to record and they put money together to support me. So, that was the beginning of it for me.
PT: What’s your music genre?
Mr. 2Kay: Afro pop; so, I do everything that is popular. I’m very versatile and I can do any kind of music. So, you can’t say I’m doing a particular kind of music.
PT: You recently collaborated with Cynthia Morgan and Seyi Shay on the remix of your song Bad Girl Special. Why these artistes?
Mr. 2Kay: You are talking about rising powerful female singers. You have Seyi Shay on the pop and R&B side. Then you have Cynthia Morgan on the reggae and pop as well and having these two together is a great thing. Cynthia is my ‘G,’ very close friend and Seyi Shay as well. We recorded the remix at Square Ville (PSquare’s mansion in Omole, Lagos) and it was actually supposed to be Cynthia Morgan and Eva but Eva wasn’t actually forthcoming and I couldn’t wait, so I had to call Seyi Shay and she came to my rescue. When I called her, I told her I need you. Earlier, I was supposed to do a song with her in the UK but it didn’t work out. But when I sent her this song, it was her kind of song and she jumped on it. While recording with her, she was fun to be with and she’s an amazing person.
PT: What are you working on currently?
Mr. 2Kay: I’m working on a few things right now. Working on the official release of Bad Girl remix in the UK and working on more songs as I am thinking of dropping an album this year, hopefully, and a couple of shows in and outside Nigeria.
PT: What do we expect from your album?
Mr. 2Kay: Different genre of songs, songs that people haven’t heard and the ones they have heard but will come as a bonus. And production, I’m working with the guy that produced Timaya’s Sanko. He actually produced my first single back then in Port Harcourt.
PT: You are yet to collaborate with artistes from your region, South South, like Timaya, Duncaan Mighty; why is that?
Mr. 2Kay: I have done a song with Duncan Mighty. I have also done a song with Timaya but both songs are not out yet. The song with Timaya is ready and we are looking at shooting the video in the UK. We are just waiting for the right time to push it out.
PT: Describe your relationship with your label.
Mr. 2Kay: Our relationship goes beyond business. The label CEO is from my home town so it is more like a father and son relationship. I call him my father and I can’t quit the label on a sad or bad note. Obviously, I will leave some day, but I will remain affiliated to the label
PT: How would you describe the Nigerian music scene?
Mr. 2Kay: I feel the industry is growing rapidly and it will surely get better in a matter of years. It wasn’t like this before so you know it has grown in the last couple of years, particularly on the international scene.
PT: If it wasn’t music, what would you be doing?
Mr. 2Kay: I’m from Rivers State; from a town called Bonny Island and I have actually worked with the NLNG before so I know I will be somewhere in the oil industry.
PT: From Port Harcourt to Lagos, how has the music journey been so far?
Mr. 2Kay: It feels good to me if you ask me. It’s been two years now that I have moved to Lagos but not really stable in Lagos because I have been shuttling the UK, Lagos. It’s not easy to be frank because I left my comfort zone to another area where I’m trying to get my ground and get myself together and I have had to work. So far so good, I’m doing great.
PT: So far, you have not been involved in scandal what’s the secret?
Mr. 2Kay: I think it has to do with my upbringing and my management also because they have been able to actually train me to the way I react in public, talk. When I got signed to Grafton, I went through something called Grafton Academy in Port Harcourt. It took like close to a year for me to go through that, for them to actually work on my mindset because from my background and where I was coming from, you know, it’s all violence and violence but I won’t say I’m a violent person. You know, in some areas violence is the order of the day and you have to get what you want by violence and sometimes not violence.