Rema, the 19-year-old superhero kid of Mavin is arguably the fastest rising artist in the Nigerian music industry, and he has made a tremendous impact in less than one year in the game. From launching a breakout single ‘Dumebi’, becoming the only Nigerian music artist to feature on Barrack Obama’s summer playlist, bagging the winner of two major awards, staging concerts in major cities in the world, becoming the first Nigerian artist to charge a million naira and above for his first show and list goes on.
Rema is undoubtedly a brilliant artist who has managed to gather all these achievements within just 11 months. It makes people perceive him as a lucky chap born with a silver spoon who paid to be at the top of the Industry. Surely, he has the rich kid looks, but in reality, Rema is far from such speculations. He went through a struggle to attain the status he currently holds.
Though still young, Rema’s hustle earned him enough to buy his mum a car at the age of 17 and also helped him walk his way through to one of Africa’s biggest record label, Mavin Records. But how did Rema, a poor kid with no father who grew up on the streets of Benin rise to global prominence? March 22nd makes it a year since Divine Ikubor aka Rema joined Mavin records, one of Africa’s biggest record labels.
You guess that Don Jazzy did a great job to have discovered Rema that early, well that is not exactly the case, so let’s rewind to where it all began. Rema was born on May 1st 2000 in Benin City, Edo state Nigeria to a Father of Edo descent and a mother of Igbo descent, and he is the 3rd son of the family. Things got tough for him when he tragically lost his father and elder brother within a short space at a young age. He was forced to take the responsibility of taking care of his mother as the man of the house. By the time he was 11, he had discovered he could do more than just drawing comics and selling to his friends.
He had a genuine talent for music. He was good at creating melodies and writing. So he diverted his comic writing talent to songwriting. He started rapping and became a solid member of 3 different music groups in church singing gospel songs. He was the leader of the rap nation group. He had a passion for gospel music and dreamt of someday performing on the big stage of his church headquarters in Lagos, Christ Embassy. This was when he adopted the name Rema. His pastor saw the talent in him and advised him to start writing songs. This he took heed to the advice and did so well.
The pastor also gave a prophecy that he would be great, and the whole world will listen to his music. Rema held on firmly to the prophecy, and this has been a significant source of motivation to him throughout his career. He created a life-band in Ehile group of schools where he attended secondary school in Benin. With the help of his drummer friend Osaige, the group became a solid one. His mum supported his dream but couldn’t afford to sponsor his music career or even afford to further his education to the tertiary level.
Rema met a young singer like himself, Princewill Emmanuel aka Alpha P in a religious event. Alpha P, just like Rema, had pure talents in music but wasn’t doing much with it. Rema became an inspiration to him, and they both became music partners creating a duo known as the RNA group. Alpha P did the hooks while Rema did the rap. They began putting more effort in their music career by writing, recording and rehearsing daily.
Taking his mum’s advice of making his studies a priority, Rema did his best at school during the day and rushed down to the studio to rehearse and record with Alpha T after school hours. He spent time listening to various genres of music, and that helped his versatility in producing dynamic sounds. The duo quickly participated in a talent show competition, Dream Alive Talent Show in 2015 and emerged winner beating many older artists. They were able to release their first music video in a single titled Mercy.
A song that was written to show gratitude to God for taking them this far. They even got interviewed by Channels TV and Hip TV at that time.
Written, edited & voiced by Tcode