Hailing from the vibrant African music scene, Ajogwu Boluwatife Vincent, better known by his stage name Major AJ, has emerged as one of the continent’s most promising acts. With an effortless charm and an aura that exudes coolness, Major AJ is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to discussing the very essence of his artistry.
The year 2021 marked a significant turning point in Major AJ’s career. It was during this time that his talent caught the attention of a keen-eyed scout from none other than the prestigious Chocolate City Music. This eagle-eyed executive stumbled upon Major AJ’s sophomore single, ‘Salo,’ which had been making waves online. Recognising the raw talent and potential in the young singer, they wasted no time in reaching out to him, and from that moment on, destiny was set in motion.
In our exclusive interview with Major AJ, he opens up about his musical inspirations, revealing the creative depths from which his captivating sound emanates. His conceptual debut EP stands as a testament to his artistic vision, a journey that showcases his growth and maturation as a musician.
Beyond the music, Major AJ’s magnetic personality shines through. With an innate charm and infectious energy, he effortlessly draws people into his world, captivating audiences both on and off the stage.
As Major AJ continues to rise in the ranks of Africa’s musical landscape, it is clear that he possesses that rare blend of talent and charisma that sets him apart from the crowd. With every release, he solidifies his position as a true trailblazer, leaving fans and critics alike eagerly anticipating what he has in store for the future.
A self-designated hip-hop head, Major AJ grew up listening to some of the artists who were defining the sound at the time, with the likes of YMCMB, Tyga, Drake, and Akon topping his playlist. Ultimately, these acts inspired him to pursue a rap career, while starting with hip-hop music earlier on. In the same vein, Major AJ also found musical pleasure in revered home-based acts such as the legendary Nigerian gospel singer, Ayefele.
Behind the rising star known as Major AJ lies a lesser-known chapter in his life that might surprise many. Despite his association with industry-based networks and the allure of urban city life, there’s a well-kept secret about his formative years – a truth that challenges the common perception of his background.
Contrary to the prevailing misnomer, Major AJ’s roots trace back to the serene town of Kainji, nestled in Niger State, Nigeria. It is in this tranquil setting that he spent his early years, far removed from the glitz and glamour of the music industry’s hub.
Major AJ’s story serves as a reminder that talent knows no boundaries and that one’s origin does not define the extent of their potential. With roots in Kainji and branches reaching for the skies, Major AJ stands as a testament to the power of passion and the pursuit of dreams. So, the next time you hear his music or witness his magnetic performances, you’ll know that it is a culmination of experiences from a journey that began far from the urban bustle, in the heart of Kainji, Niger State.
Major AJ, the Afro-fusion sensation hailing from Benue State, Nigeria, didn’t hold back when discussing the contrasting music scenes of Niger State and Lagos. With candour and honesty, he shed light on the stark differences between the two landscapes, revealing the challenges he faced in his early musical journey.
In his own words, Major AJ described the music ecosystem in Niger State as virtually non-existent, lacking the necessary infrastructure and opportunities for aspiring musicians to thrive. This scarcity of resources and platforms made it an uphill battle for him to pursue his musical ambitions in his hometown.
Fueled by an unwavering determination to make a mark in the music industry, Major AJ recognized that he needed to venture into more fertile territory. The allure of Lagos, renowned as Nigeria’s commercial sonic haven, beckoned him with its promise of abundant opportunities and a bustling music scene.
I always knew going to Lagos State was my only way out, if I wanted to make my dreams come true.Major AJ, 2023.
With the hunger for success driving him forward, Major AJ made the bold move to Lagos, where he believed he could find the greener pastures he sought. Embracing the city’s dynamic atmosphere and vibrant music culture, he found himself immersed in a world of possibilities.
In Lagos, he encountered a vibrant community of musicians, producers, and industry professionals, all striving to carve their paths in the competitive realm of music. The city’s rich musical heritage and diverse audience offered the perfect platform for Major AJ to showcase his talent and connect with like-minded individuals.
As he carved his niche in Lagos’ bustling music landscape, Major AJ’s journey became a testament to the resilience of artists who dare to dream beyond their hometowns. He embraced the challenges, turning them into stepping stones to propel his career to greater heights.“To be honest, there is no music scene in Niger State, there were a couple of local guys whose songs made it to the radio stations, and that was it. The music community over there isn’t strong at all. I can honestly say there are amazing talents back in Niger but with the way the system is built, it’s difficult for these talents to get on the radar of the consuming populace. I always knew going to Lagos State was my only way out, if I wanted to make my dreams come true.”
There is Only One Major AJ
Self-awareness is one of Major AJ’s forte and he hones it earnestly. The singer strongly believes in his sonic style, very much so that the possibility of duality rarely comes to mind. “There can only be one Major AJ”, he says confidently. “My style can’t be replicated, there is something I bring to the Afrobeats table that is unique and that is because I dig inwardly. These sounds that I make are outputs of my experiences, which makes it unique on its own”.
A viable example of Major AJ’s retrospective songwriting knack is his 2023 single ‘My Own’ which features a verse from label mate, Blaqbonez. Based on Major AJ’s account, the song is an autobiography that is vitally based on his personal romantic experience in Lagos.
There can only be one Major AJ. My style can’t be replicated, there is something I bring to the Afrobeats table that is unique…Major AJ, 2023.
“My song with Blaqbonez is based on a painful personal experience. I met this girl in Lagos, at the time, I thought she was the one only to find out that her motives for being in the relationship weren’t aligned with mine. She was only in the relationship for what she could gain out of it and not love. This is why I say in the song that only a fool looks for love in Lagos”.
Afro-Fusion is the totality of Major AJ’s sonic niche in which he seemingly alchemizes interwoven musical genres to form a whole- an affiliation he shares with popular Nigerian musician Burna Boy.
Major AJ acknowledges the recent upheaval and acceptance of the Afrobeats sound by an ever-growing International audience and naturally foresees himself as one of the music acts who would be championing the movement for future generations. In the same light, he acknowledges and reckons with some of the New generation’s acts such as Rema, Ayra Starr, Minz, Blaqbonez, BNXN, and Victony, amidst a giddy bunch “Don’t be surprised if, in the nearer future, you come across a Major AJ and Rema single. Rema is one of the new-gen acts holding it down for the Afrobeats culture, and I look forward to cooking up something with him alongside other amazing guys like BNXN, Victony, Blaqbonez, and Minz. The list is endless, the talents are endless too. So many cool, amazing, and young acts are killing it, and I am extremely excited with the way the industry is set up right now”.
My song [My Own] with Blaqbonez is based on a painful personal experience.Major AJ, 2023.
Chocolate City in the Retroverse.
Major AJ is a self-proclaimed social magnet in the vibrant world of music. Though he humbly shies away from using those exact words, there’s no denying the magnetic charisma he exudes. While some artists in the music industry prefer to keep a veil of mystique around them, Major AJ breaks free from the mould of aloofness associated with Fugazi-like personalities. Instead, he takes immense pleasure in spreading cheer and happiness, making it his mission to bring smiles to the faces of everyone he encounters. With an affable demeanour and a warm energy that radiates wherever he treads, Major AJ leaves a lasting impression wherever his musical journey takes him. “I have always been a social person. That is who I am, it’s not part of a strategy or rollout. Anything I share on social media is as real as it gets. I am the fun guy, I like making the place lively, and I enjoy leaving that imprint on anyone I meet, life’s too short to be serious all the time, heck, it’s already serious(Laughs).”
Since inking a deal with the prestigious music label Chocolate City in 2022, Major AJ’s musical journey has been nothing short of a whirlwind. Bursting onto the scene, he wasted no time and promptly released his much-anticipated extended play titled ‘Retro-Verse.’ Seamlessly blending elements of nostalgia and futurism, the EP takes listeners on a captivating sonic voyage.
I have always been a social person. That is who I am, it’s not part of a strategy or rollout.Major AJ, 2023.
‘Retro-Verse’ serves as a testament to Major AJ’s artistic prowess and versatility. Each track on the EP weaves a unique tapestry of emotions and experiences, drawing inspiration from the past while infusing a contemporary edge. With his trademark charisma and magnetic stage presence, Major AJ has been setting the stage ablaze with electrifying performances, captivating audiences far and wide.
The EP’s reception has been nothing short of stellar, with critics and fans alike lauding Major AJ’s ability to craft melodies that evoke a sense of longing for the golden days while propelling listeners into a promising and thrilling future. With each passing day, Major AJ’s star continues to ascend, leaving fans eagerly anticipating what’s next on his musical journey. As he stays constantly on the move, there’s no doubt that this talented artist will continue to make waves in the music industry, leaving an indelible mark with every beat of his ‘Retro-Verse.’
“People don’t realize how challenging it is for us music artists, all they see is the glitz and glamour, especially if you are signed into a label. The process of making quality art can be stressful sometimes but I thank God that I have been blessed with a great team, who prioritize work ethic above anything else. All hands were on deck for my debut project ‘Retroverse’. From the A&R to the publicity to the content strategies, to the sonic inclinations. My label has been great, though there are challenging days, I welcome these days with open arms because I know it’s part of the struggle”, he says.