Unsigned Music Awards nominee Maj completed a National Diploma in Music Technology and previously landed a sync deal with MTV. His latest single ‘Stay Woke’ marks the first release off his own record label Sound Familiar. We spoke to Maj about his music.
UK hip hop has risen in the past few years and I believe it’s time to ride the wave bringing my own flavour to it.
First up, tell us bit about yourself - what first got you into music?
My name is Clayton Osborne also known as Maj, which stands for ManAintJokin. I started getting involved in music way back in secondary school. My older sister was a big 90s hip hop, r&b and gangsta rap fan, and I guess I just followed suit.
**Were there any particular bands or artists you took inspiration from? **
I was a big Bone Thugs-N-Harmony fan and took my early inspiration from them but then I was a fan of many others such as Biggie, OutKast, Snoop Dogg, DPG, Twister, Aaliyah, Jodeci, too many to mention.
You’ve completed a National Diploma in Music Technology. How did that shape your music?
It was important at the time because the only thing I wanted to do is build on my musical craft and that was the only way in my eyes. Hasn’t shaped my career at all to be honest. It was so long ago that I forgot most of what I learnt. The one thing I can say that I took from that course is learning how to use Cubase. I am still using this software ‘til this day.
How would you describe your style?
Simply UK hip hop. With a melodic twist. I love a lil melody.
You’ve created three solo projects so far - can you tell us a bit more about them, as well as where Maj fits in?
I’ve created more than three, but who’s counting, lol! Started with grenade. An upbeat dance/drum and base feel. Was inspired by the reality TV show Jersey Shore. This song was used on MTV’s hit show Geordie Shore.
Went onto releasing ‘Motivation’ featuring Rochelle Rose and produced by Crazy Cousinz. This song has been my most successful thus far being used on MTV shows such as Geordie Shore, Beauty School Cop Outs and The Valleys - 400,000 plays on Spotify and still has over a 1,000 listeners weekly.
I then went on to release ‘Reach Out’ which also featuring Rochelle Rose and produced by Crazy Cousinz. A dance song that was lyrically aimed at the major labels. Used on MTV hit show Fat for Fun. I then released ‘Royal’ featuring French singer Issa Strike. Produced by Jeff Nang. Another dance record following the trend within the dance music era. The Tinie Tempahs, The Calvin Harris’s and so forth.
After this I featured on three other dance records which finally brings me to now ‘Stay Woke’. New, reformed and better than ever. First release on my own label.
UK hip hop is my original sound, the sound that I began making music with, and that I’m best at in my opinion, so when it comes to fitting in, I believe I will do it effortlessly. UK hip hop has risen in the past few years and I believe it’s time to ride the wave bringing my own flavour to it.
ManAintJokin. That’s the acronym. A term that me, my friends and many other South Londoners would use is normal conversation. It just stuck with me through out the years.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
I have many, lol. Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Drake, Krayzie Bone, Arianna Grande to name but a few.
Tell us about your latest release ‘Stay Woke’. What’s it about?
I’m specifically speaking on two relationships. The relationship between a man and the girl he is seeing, and then also the relationship between a man and his friend.
The advice I’m giving is to be careful who you’re calling your girl or friend because most people change up when you are not doing as well as when you met them. Someone out there needed to hear it and I’ll be happy to know that I was the one that gave them the heads up, lol.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
I started writing the song whilst on holiday in Dubai with my Mrs. I finished it and recorded it once I got back to London no more than two weeks later. I recorded it at my home studio and then brought the stems out to biz space studios to get it mixed and mastered.
How does ‘Stay Woke’ represent your style?
Pretty spot on. I’m very much a melodic MC, but I’m also very much into concepts, structure and lyricism.
What are your hopes for ‘Stay Woke’?
Just to simply start building on my UK hip hop listeners, followers and subscribers. Some radio play would be nice. All leading up to dropping some bomb shells in 2019.
What are your plans for 2019?
Dropping some bomb shells, lol. I hope to release a few more solo records and at the same time release some music by other artist signed to my label Sound Familiar.
One of my other main goals is to write a song or two for some already-established singers and hopefully be recognised for my writing skills.
Something I believe I am extremely good at is writing for other artist’s and I’d like to see my work blossom in the limelight whilst I just sit back and admire. That’s a dream of mine.
Finally, if you could wish for one thing to happen for you in 2019, what would it be?
To work with a heavy hitter in the music business producing a top 10 charted single.
Watch the video for ‘Stay Woke’ on YouTube below. For news and tour dates go to Maj’s Facebook page.