El Mafrex

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el Mafrex
El Mafrex.jpg
el Mafrex at the SNMA 2012
Background information
Birth name Mfreke Obong Ibanga
Born (1984-05-14) 14 May 1984 (age 29)
Origin Nigeria; Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Genres Afrobeat, Christian hip hop, contemporary R&B, ragga, urban contemporary gospel
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Years active Since 2004; 10 years ago (2004)
Labels 316 Muzik Factory
Website elmafrexonline.com

El Mafrex (born Mfreke Obong Ibanga; May 14, 1984) is a Nigerian-born, urban gospel singer-songwriter, based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

He was nominated for Best Gospel Act consecutively at the 2012 and 2013 editions of the (MOBO) Music of Black Origin Awards.[1] [2] He won Artiste of the year and Urban Recording of the year[3] at the 2012 Scottish New Music Awards, making him the first black man to win the SNMA.[4]

His song, "Jehovah", which features Christian rock band Royal Foundlings had more than 500,000 hits in the first five months of its release on YouTube.[3] He released "That Man from Galilee" in the first quarter of 2013, which debuted at no 49 on the iTunes UK Chart for Gospel and had over a million hits on YouTube in its first 6 months.[5] [6]

On 30 September 2012, he was featured in the Sunday Mail.[7][8]

He was nominated for the Season 8 of The Future Awards Africa on the 10th of July 2013.[9]

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Nigeria and educated at the Nigerian Military School in Zaria, Kaduna State.

He graduated in 2006 from the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, where he studied physics and majored in electronics. In 2010, he obtained a masters degree in information-systems development from the Edinburgh Napier University.[10]


In 2001, El Mafrex started a boy band, M.O.D. (Men of Destiny), and was the lead vocalist of the five-man group. The band toured and played shows in Nigeria, especially in its south-south region before later expanding from a boy band to a family project. The family project gave birth to the Destiny Kids and MOD dancers.

While in the University of Uyo, he formed another boy band, Da Grooves, made up of Louis and GeePee. Together they played gigs on campus and its environs.

At the end of 2004, he left the band to start his own solo career, which he called the "el MAFREX" project. He was voted Artiste of the year in 2005 by the SUG of University of Uyo, and his songs "Rhythm in the Air" and "Esio Mkpo" were played on radio and television stations in Nigeria. "Rhythm in the Air" won song of the month, on the then Cosmo FM Enugu.[10]

STV interview[edit]

In November 2012, he was interviewed by Scottish television news STV, where he talked about his music and recent MOBO Awards nomination.[11]

Business interest[edit]

El Mafrex has other interests besides music as he prepares to launch his own line of designers eyeglasses.[12] He told The Scotsman that he had his own personal sunglasses customized specially for himself and has since received compliments from many people who are interested in acquiring them, which has propelled him towards the direction of having a line for his sunglasses.[12] The name of the line would be 3:16 derived from the Bible verse, John 3:16.


Year Title
2006 "Rhythm in the Air"
2010 "Ibagaba"
2011 "Thank You"
2012 "Jehovah"
2012 "No Denying"
2012 "Bounce"
2012 "Your Word"
2013 "Since I be Pikin"
2013 "Oh that men will praise the Lord"
2013 "That Man from Galilee"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Category Award Result
2012 Scottish New Music Awards Artiste of the Year Won[4]
2012 Scottish New Music Awards Urban Recording of the Year Won[4]
2012 Scottish New Music Awards Video of the year Nominated[13]
2012 MOBO Awards Best Gospel Act 2012 Nominated[1][14]
2013 The Future Awards Entertainment Talent Nominated[9]
2013 MOBO Awards Best Gospel Act 2013 Nominated[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "MOBO Awards 2012 - nominees shortlist revealed | MOBO Awards". Mobo.com. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  2. ^ a b "MOBO Awards 2013 - Nominations List Revealed!". mobo.com. 2013-09-03. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  3. ^ a b Author: Steve Alexander Smith. "Best Gospel 2012: Ram1 Rachel Kerr V9 Collective El Mafrex Ni-Cola profile | MOBO Awards". Mobo.com. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  4. ^ a b c "Scottish music awards and Scottish music industry awards for the music of Scotland". Scotmusicawards.co.uk. 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  5. ^ http://www.music-chart.info/UK/archive/genre/22/Christian%20and%20Gospel/2013/03/21#49
  6. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3J8oB69_fY
  7. ^ Sunday Mail - page 27. 30 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Rap star pays tribute to new homeland and says he'll make bagpipes hip again". Daily Record. 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  9. ^ a b "Meet the class of 2013! See superstar list of 75 inspiring young nominees for the future awards africa season 8". The Future Awards Africa. 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  10. ^ a b "About el Mafrex". el Mafrex Online. 2013-01-07. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  11. ^ "STV News at Six - Edinburgh - Thursday, November 01 | STV Player". Player.stv.tv. 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  12. ^ a b Published on Tuesday 6 November 2012 12:00 (2012-11-06). "Edinburgh gospel singer to launch range of eyewear - Latest news". Scotsman.com. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  13. ^ "Scottish New Music Awards 2012 – vote now! | Celtic Music Radio 1530 AM". Celticmusicradio.net. 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  14. ^ "MOBO Awards 2012: Full list of nominated artists | Music | Entertainment | STV". Entertainment. 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 

External links[edit]