In less than three years in the Nigerian music industry, Innocent Udeme Udofot, popularly known as MC Galaxy, has become an overnight celebrity. A singer, dancer and comedian, MC Galaxy is constantly upping his ante and proving naysayers wrong.
Following the release of his sophomore album titled MMM, the singer is hoping to replicate the glory of his debut LP that catapulted him to success.
PREMIUM TIMES had a chat with singer where he spoke about his new album, his foray into music, relationship with Swizz Beatz, Akpabio, and much more.
PT: Your latest album, MMM, has a rather interesting title. What is the story behind it?
MC GALAXY: MMM simply stands for Money Making Machine. I am simply trying to pass a message that everyone has the potential to make money and become wealthy. Every individual is gifted and can make money from it. Money Making Machine is an afro-centric body of work with guest appearances including Swizz Beatz, Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie, Congolese singer Neza and Serge Beynaud from Côte D’ivoire.
PT: Is it also connected to the fact that you lost N25 million to the MMM Ponzi scheme last year?
MC GALAXY: Not really. It was one of the reasons, but not the major reason. I can’t even remember it. That’s in the past. I have forgotten all about it. My manager convinced me to invest about N25 million in MMM but that is all in the past. True, I lost money to MMM, but it has taught me now that I am my own money making machine. A lot of people have learnt a lot of lessons from that experience.
PT: Why did you release your sophomore album on your birthday?
MC GALAXY: Three years in the Nigerian industry is not easy. I used to be that comedian who was paid N2000 per show. There were times I begged producers to sleep in their studios; times I begged some artistes to stay in their boys’ quarters.
I used to dance for free. Now, all that has changed. I am happy now. I have empty rooms in my house now. I don’t even know where most of the people who live in my house come from. And thinking through all these things, I chose the title, MMM, to inspire everybody that we are all capable of making money; that within us lays the machine that can grant us financial freedom. Everybody can make money. All you need is determination and consistency. All you need is to find out the money making machine that is in you. Anything can be your MMM. Do not underrate yourself. What you are doing now may not be what you will do forever.
PT: How did you come by the name MC Galaxy?
MC Galaxy: A lady gave me the name in Akwa Ibom State. When I was trying to get a name for myself, she said I should answer Galaxy. You know, galaxy refers to a collection of stars. The name fits since I am a comedian, musician and dancer; I felt it was a great name.
PT: You are fond of describing yourself as an accidental celebrity. Why so?
MC Galaxy: My album is inspired by my story of becoming an accidental celebrity. Everybody can make money; all you just need is determination. Don’t underestimate yourself. I used to be a comedian charging N2, 000; I used to dance for free, but look at me now. My first album did very well; I was just a year old in the industry and I already made an album. I had “Sekem”, “Nek-Unek” and others and they were all hit songs.” My first song ever “Nek-Unek” which translates to dance in English was an appropriated song by a local singer in Calabar, where I grew up. My friend and ace Nigerian producer, Shizzi, made me sing, he wanted us to do a song for the my state governor at the time, Godswill Akpabio, because he gives out a lot of money. I recorded the song and all my lyrics from the song was from King Zoro Boy.
PT: How did you get Davido to feature on the track?
MC GALAXY: Davido walked into the studio when we were recording the song. When he heard the beat, he was like, “Who get this beat? I want to record”. Shout out to Davido because before I started singing he was the only top singer who visited my comedy club. And then I began to mention the names of wealthy Nigerians in the song. I had to teach Davido some of the words in my dialect. The following day, the song was ready. I played the song at the comedy club. One man heard the song and was like “Akpabio is my friend. Why don’t you shoot the video of this song?” I said, “With which money?” He laughed and asked me to meet him the following day. Long story short, he gave me N2 million to shoot the video for the song.
PT: Did that mark the beginning of your music career?
MC GALAXY: Yes, that was how I started my music career. I shot the video with Patrick Ellis and today the video for Nek Unek has reached over 21 million views on YouTube. I still make money from that song till this day. That is one of the reasons I called my second album MMM – Money Making Machine.
PT: How much did Governor Godswill Akpabio give you?
MC GALAXY: Funny enough, many people think Akpabio gives me money. I am a businessman. I keep my wealthy friends as friends. If I begin our friendship by asking for money they will not be picking your calls. I don’t ask them for money. They are my friends. If I want to do something I call on them. Akpabio was at my first album listening party. Udom was there also. I am a friend with most of the governors in Nigeria. I do a lot of private shows for them. And I respect Godswill Akpabio. He is a giver.
PT: Tell us about your friendship and collaboration with Grammy award-winning music producer and performing artiste, Swizz Beatz?
MC GALAXY: It was great working with Swizz Beatz on Sekem Remix, which is a track in my album. He started loving the track even before we met. He was posting the song on Snapchat, Instagram and other places when people drew my attention to it. Before then, I had never contacted him personally. Having that remix with Swizz now has helped my relationship with other American acts including Busta Rhymes, Drake and Rihanna. I’ve been in the studio with all of them.
PT: What do you hope to achieve with this album?
MC GALAXY: With this new album, I hope to consolidate on my new status and also satisfy more critics as I blend into my happy music style a more serious outlook leading with the new track titled Your Love.
PT: I find it curious that you do not have any single Nigerian collaboration on your new album. Is it deliberate?
MC GALAXY: This is because the focus of this album is Africa. I tried to blend some other African sounds into my music so that it can appeal to a wider African audience. We have sounds from Ghana, Angola, Congo and America in the album. I am trying to break into the African market. Doing a song with Sarkodie was an opportunity to appeal to my Ghanaian fans, recording a song with Kelli Pyle was also avenue to connect with my Angolian fans, and a song with Swiss Beatz gained me the American fans. It is a sixteen-track album, fourteen singles and two bonus tracks. I pray the album brings in more money. I have spent a lot of money on the album, you know, going to America to record with Swizz Beatz; going to Angola to record with Kelli Pyle; going to Ghana to record with Sarkodie. I recorded the songs in different countries in Africa because I wanted to make it an African oriented album. Neza is the only female artiste I featured in the album.
PT: Most of your songs are surprisingly hits. Some of your colleagues have not been lucky in this regard. What is your secret?
MC GALAXY: It is simple to understand Nigerian music. I like to tell up and coming artistes the truth. The secret of making a hit in Nigeria is the sound. That your voice is very good, that you are a good lyricist, or either beautiful or handsome does not score you much points in making a good song that Nigerians would love. If you get the beat right, if you invest in your production, if you work with a top producer, you will definitely get it right. Listen to the quality of sound in Tekno’s Pana, or PSquare’s Do Me, Davido’s If. You can never sit down when the aforementioned songs are played in a club or a party. If your sound is heavy then the success of your song/album is guaranteed. It is not in fact compulsory that you talk in a song. For instance, Comolop Cholom was about the only thing I said in the song of the same title. It recorded and sangSekem in less than 30 minutes.
PT: Now that you have released another album, do you have plans to tackle piracy?
MC GALAXY: You know I posted on my Instagram that as a birthday gift, people should go to iTunes and buy my album because right now, you can only find my album on iTunes and MusicPlus. These are the only two places you can find my album. I have not sent it to any blogger. We know that if it gets to the blogs people will download it for free. And judging by the response we are getting now, people are buying it. This is the only way we can make money without pirates sweeping in. This is also why I had to do a lot of international collaborations. To be frank, Sekem did not make me as much money as Bounce Remix, which I did with Beniton, made me. This is because it was on iTunes and it was sold for one dollar. Americans buy their songs.
PT:Is it that Nigerians are not really used to buying songs online?
MC GALAXY: No. It’s the fault of the artiste. And I think we can control that. People are talking about the economy. I think we are the problem of the economy. We need prayers in this country. This is why the first track in my album is titled ‘I Pray’. I got inspired by the situation in the country to sing it. And it is doing very well online. The video will be out in few days’ time. I shot the video with Clarence Peters. Personally, I have some plans for piracy and I have been talking with some people about that. We can stop piracy if we set our minds to it.
PT: Is comedy still in the pipeline?
MC GALAXY: Not really, but if you call me for comedy, I can come and perform. But I will only make sure I that I dance, crack jokes and sing at the event. It is full package. And I am about to commence a comedy series, because in Nigeria, people always want more. Two talents are not enough. It was very hard for people to accept me as a singer. Most people believed I was a comedian and an unserious singer. It was after I dropped ‘I Go Calabar’, Sekem and Comolop Cholom that I began to get the attention of many. And with Swiss Beatz partnering with me, everyone is beginning to realise that I mean business. My second album is designed to show people that I have grown and I am a serious artiste.
PT: Are you still single?
MC GALAXY: Yes.
Do you have a baby mama?
MC GALAXY: I don’t do baby mama. It is not possible.
PT: What are the qualities you are looking for in a woman?
MC GALAXY: I don’t actually have a taste. Just everything good: good heart, good looking and God-fearing.
PT: Do you have a celebrity crush?
MC GALAXY: You know, I don’t really have one. But there are a few Nigerian artistes whose work I admire. I think someone like Yemi Alade qualifies. I respect her because she behaves like a female celebrity. As a female celebrity, you are supposed to be difficult to reach and at the same time easy to relate to. That way people will see you as their celebrity. Her brand management is doing well in this regard.