Meet Lifesize Teddy, the latest signing to Mavin’s all-star roster

A bold new voice that encapsulates the young African identity

The ethos of Mavin Records has always been clear: spotlighting raw gems and turning them into titans of the Afropop universe. Through their several iterations, that mission has subtly turned and transformed, as the label powerhouse introduced artists like Johnny Drille, and Ladipoe into the fold. While the latter is a pop-welcoming rapper, the former started with folk and country music, channelling indie-pop influences from the likes of Owl City and Coldplay. 

Such forward-facing decisions have seen the label stay at the forefront of the African music business. Their experiments have been largely successful—there’s the global allure of Ayra Starr and Rema; Ladipoe’s expanding reach into the international rap scene; Crayon, Bayanni, Boy Spyce and Magixx are each distinct talents, operating within the Nigerian pop fold but possessing unique traits. Now, for the first time since September last year, Mavin Records is launching a new artist.


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Lifesize Teddy comes with a name ready for action. The Port Harcourt-native first interacted with the label through Ladipoe, coming across the rapper by chance on Instagram and later opening a show for him. Fast-forward two years later in 2020, she was introduced into the Mavin Records artist development academy, and for the next three years was put through the paces. Lifesize Teddy arrives thus to great expectation, but if there’s anything Mavin has done right, it’s announcing the artists at times when the scene is screaming for a new presence. 

Chosen as the lead single of the self-titled EP, “Hypnotic” bares her understanding of Nigerian societies and reflects its linguistic influences on her music. That’s no surprise, considering the artist is from the culturally-vibrant Port-Harcourt, the southern city that’s produced some of the most inimitable voices in our musical history. Here, a succulent mix of English and Pidgin-English is her weapon of choice, but she wields like a scalpel, peeling into the soft mass of acclaim. “Na me be the girl wey go rock this party,” she proclaims in the first line, setting her ambitions clear on the prize. Throughout the song her confidence soars, the inflection switching between the associated tones of Nigerian Pop, Dancehall, Hip-Hop and even alte-esque psychedelic crooning.

That seems like a lot, but Lifesize Teddy is accomplished in her fusion. The music also swells to incorporate these influences, packing incredible detail in its movement. You’d hear the oriental cadences of the middle east, but also the flutey vibe of Japan’s traditional sounds, while the drum base is ostensibly Hip-Hop, and when Teddy gets into her bag, the other elements are kept in the background, allowing the vocals to emerge beautifully. 

Self-awareness is the primary ethos of her debut EP released earlier today. This is no surprise given how introspective other Mavin acts have been on their debuts. However, there’s a crucial success in that each project has seemed an extension of the artist’s biography, and not merely a play into cultural tropes. Starting out hers with “Prophecy” is a confident and endearing move. The track ticks ecstatic boxes, right from the alert word choices to the vehicular movement of its cadences. Credit must be given to Teddy for how well she makes she subverts the Ladipoe influence, coming across as original while delivering verses that would give you the disgusted face of hearing a sick bar. 

She brags without seeming vain, an haughty progression like “From rapping about music and the love, to unwrapping several bundles in the club” followed with the heartfelt admission of “PH City stressing about the day I get signed”. This sudden switch in the extremes of emotion is a skill most top rappers possess, and Lifesize Teddy obviously has that. Over the smooth flow of the production, she unfurls the lyrics with cool steel, a reliable cartographer of her journey. “Butterflies” also has that honest quality, but it’s more colourful in tone, as love becomes the considered subject, with Lifesize Teddy promising to stay, the ephemeral nature of life inspiring her desire to live on her terms, to love those who love her. 

In this sense, ‘Lifesize Teddy’ is a delectable introduction. For an artist who has spent the past few years in development, the time invested in her craft is evident. With production credits from London and Andre Vibez among others, the project bares zero signs of immaturity, which will certainly leave listeners wondering if this is truly the artist’s first body of work, because it sounds so realised. “John Wick” maps out her dedication to the dance floor, its songwriting essentially paying homage to popular culture while spinning an enjoyable flow with her name. 

Saving the best for last, “Air” bears the poetic resonance of Lifesize Teddy. It’s a soulful song with a penchant for the contemporary, most revealed in the breezy allure of its drums. She empowers herself with the sheer force of history. “I gat many women underneath this skin, they all fighting to be seen,” she sings with a slowed rap cadence, as she belts raw emotions through opaque lyrical phrasing, leaving the listener to create their own images. 

The hues of Lifesize Teddy’s visual identity should be visible by now. Her sensitivity and angst gives her something of an encompassing charm, and with Brenda Fassie, Naeto C and Sasha P being among her influences, there’s no doubt a poignant storytelling will be infused into her music. With her debut EP already gaining traction online, it’s clear that the prominent label has another rising star on their hands, one with a Lifesize image.

Stream ‘Lifesize Teddy’ below.