Saturday 13 October 2012

El Mafrex: Story of the first black man ever to win a Scottish New Music Award

El Mafrex, popularly known as "da Gospel dancehall GURU" is a multi-talented award winning recording/performing artiste based in Scotland, United Kingdom. He started playing music since age seven, and went professional late 2000. He was born over two and half decades ago in Nigeria. He attended the prestigious Nigerian Military School - Zaria, where he developed further on his music skills by being one of the pioneer members of the School's fellowship praise band. He holds a B.Sc. degree in Physics, and a M.Sc. degree in Information Systems Development from Edinburgh Napier University, United Kingdom.
He started a 5-man boy band called M.O.D. (Men of Destiny) in 2001, where he was lead vocalist of the band. The group played shows around the south-south region of Nigeria and later expanded from a boy band to a family project... It gave birth to the MOD Dancers and the Destiny Kids. In 2004 while in University of Uyo, he started another boy band called "Da Grooves", which had guys like Louis and GeePee, together they played shows on Campus and in Uyo city. In December 2004 he left the group to pursue his own vision - the "el MAFREX" project. The year 2005 saw him win best Artiste of the year in University of Uyo, and his song "Rhythm in the air" rocked Radio and TV stations in Nigeria. "Rhythm in the air" won song of the month on the then Cosmo FM Enugu. 

He relocated to the UK and in 2011 he was a finalist on the “Gospel Rock” competition in London, where he was part of a team representing Scotland. It was a great time for el Mafrex because he had the opportunity of singing on stage with his boy hood hero Dr. Ron Kenoly. He has played gigs around the UK, has toured with popular Gospel Rock band “Royal Foundlings” and has played with Scottish Gospel crooner “Steph Macleod”. In 2012 el Mafrex released the single “Jehovah” featuring the Royal Foundlings; in less than 6 months the song had more than 350,000 hits on YouTube and has been played around stations in the UK. El Mafrex became the first black man ever to win a Scottish New Music Award when in August this year, he won the Artiste of the year and Urban Recording of the year in the after being nominated in 3 categories for the awards – Artiste of the year, Urban recording of the year and Video of the year. A couple of days ago el Mafrex got nominated for one of the Biggest music awards in the UK  - MOBO Awards, under the category of Best Gospel Act.

In Leona Marie Grant’s (Gospel Rock finalist) own words, “He has such a strong relationship with God that when he writes his songs, the Gospel just flows through them. I get this sense when I listen to his songs and it’s fascinating to watch it just flow like a river out of him! He’s such a talented musician too”. Jehovah is by far my most favorite as it makes Gospel music tolerable for non-Christians too. I have friends who really don’t like my ‘Jesus music’ but they can’t get enough of Jehovah because it has those heavy bass and fascinating drums that keep you hooked. Growing up in the church gives him the ability to swing between different genres of music like- Hip-hop, Ragga, Afro, R&B and Jazz. His song, ‘Thank You’ is a different genre altogether so I would describe his music as a sneaky way to get non-Christians to feel the power of God without realizing it because they are first drawn by the relevant yet unique sound of it”.
El Mafrex as a person is a very confident guy that has stayed faithful to God despite a lot of pressure that he goes secular. He is known as a "no- nonsense man" when it comes to music, and tries to pass a positive message via music. His dependence on God's grace is absolute, and he has been a blessing to many lives via his music and prays to conquer more grounds. Please vote el Mafrex as Best Gospel Act – MOBO Awards 2012 via this link

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