Divine Ikubor is a Nigerian singer and rapper known by his stage name, Rema. The artist made it big in the music industry right from the release of his first song when he was suddenly thrust into the Nigerian music scene. Rema is signed under the Jonzing World record label, run by Nigerian rapper D’Prince. Jonzing World is owned by Mavin Records founded Don Jazzy. So, it’s easy to see why Rema is associated with Mavin Records and its crew members.
Although Rema was still a teenager in 2019, it was clear that he was a big deal with several mentions of his work in music circles. Even Barack Obama, a former president of the United States, had included his song in his 2019 summer playlist. So, it’s safe to say that Rema has found fame. Before we continue with the details of Rema’s biography, let’s check out some facts that are worth knowing about the young rapper.
10 facts about Rema that everyone needs to know
- Rema’s full name is Divine Ikubor and he was born in Benin City, Edo State on 1 May 2000.
- Rema lost his father at the age of 10. He has also lost a brother.
- He is signed to Jonzing World, owned by Charles Enebeli popularly, called D’Prince. Mavin Global owns Jonzing World, making Rema an artiste under Mavin Records.
- He can play the piano very well.
- Rema’s first official song, Iron Man, was included in Brack Obama’s summer playlist containing top songs from around the world.
- Divine Ikubor won his first official music award at The Headies for Next Rated artiste in 2019 and his second award at the SoundCity MVP award for the Best New Artist in 2020.
- Rema signed an endorsement deal with HP in 2019.
- Each of the three of Rema’s EPs contains four songs each.
- Rema’s music style is fluid and cannot be fit into any specific genre borrowing elements of different music genres. He calls it “trap”.
- Rema was discovered on Instagram after he did a freestyle of the song Gucci Gang by D’Prince featuring Davido and Don Jazzy.
Rema Biography: Early life
Divine Ikubor, popularly called Rema, was born on 1st May 2000 to a Christian family living in Benin City, Edo State where he also grew up. He attended both primary and secondary schools in Benin City, obtaining both his First School Leaving Certificate and his West African Senior School Certificate.
Rema lost his dad and elder brother when he was 10 years old, as revealed in a chat with The Native Mag. He was subsequently brought up by his mother only.
During those early years of development, Rema had always had a passion for the stage. His Christian upbringing meant that the first place he explored his talent was at the church. Before becoming widely known, Divine Ikubor usually performed gospel songs at Christian gatherings, thrilling people in his locality to his superb sounds and voice.
In 2017 at the age of 17, Rema was alleged to have bought his mother a Lexus SUV, which cost 3.4 million naira. Rumour went round that Rema was a Yahoo boy before making it in music.
Rema is also a skilful piano player and had created his own live band back home in Benin City and would sometimes do the cover of other artists’ songs. It was during one of such performances that D’Prince found him. He then had to move from Benin to Lagos, a whole new experience for him. Rema said he was received kindly, telling Okay Africa:
“The love and support, which includes the people that come out to support me in shows, club gigs, etc. The people here who support my sound, stream and buy my music. The love I get in the streets, people cheering my name and appreciating my presence. It’s amazing.”
Rema Biography: Discovery and signing for Jonzing World
Charles Enebeli, who later signed Rema to his record label, Jonzing World, claimed to have been immediately captivated by the youngster. At the time, Ikubor was 18 and had jumped on D’Prince’s Gucci Gang Challenge on Instagram. This was how the D’Prince got to know about him.
According to D’Prince, “when I first heard Rema’s work I knew this was an artist I wanted the entire world to listen to. His artistry and talent are so far beyond his years. By collaborating with Mavin Global, Jonzing World will be able to discover and develop not just Rema but many more exceptional talents like him. This is only the beginning.”
In 2018, the artist reached an agreement with Jonzing World record label and was officially signed. It was officially announced by Mavin Global in 2019. In May 2019, Don Jazzy revealed in a Loose Talk podcast that D’Prince had to travel to Benin City to meet with Rema’s mother.
Speaking about his signing, Ikubor himself says:
“It still feels like a dream. It is such a blessing for me to be chosen for something great, and given a platform as big as Mavin Global and team as supportive as Jonzing World to enable me [to] achieve my career objectives in music. I am super excited about what the future holds.”
Rema Biography: Music career
Despite having been a singer all his life while living in Edo State, Rema’s music career officially kicked off after he joined Jonzing World Records in 2018. The record label is the first imprint label of Mavin Records, run by Don Jazzy whose real name is Micheal Collins Ajereh.
According to D’Prince, his mission was to discover young talented artistes like Divine Ikubor and to bring them into the limelight. Rema was the first artiste that was signed under the Mavin Global subsidiary, Jonzing World. D’Prince, by the way, is a biological brother of Don Jazzy.
At the time, Rema tells the Guardian: “It still feels like a dream. It is such a blessing for me to be chosen for something great, and given a platform as big as Mavin Global and team as supportive as Jonzing World to enable me to achieve my career objectives in music. I am super excited about what the future holds.”
True to the words of D’Prince words, Rema wasted no time in dropping his first official single, Iron Man.
In March 2019, Rema’s debut single, Iron Man, hit the music world with a loud bang. The young singer released the track under the Mavin/Jonzing umbrella as Don Jazzy later revealed when he announced the song on his page.
Besides the exposure that Don Jazzy and Mavin’s fame would generate for the song, Iron Man did well by itself. Although he was not widely known before his track dropped, music enthusiasts were able to vibe to the song almost instantly.
Experts and critics tried to place his style and stated that it has elements of Afrobeats and Indiana sounds. The fame of the song and its reach became more pronounced after a former president of the United States, Barack Obama, included Rema’s Iron Man in his summer playlist in August 2019. The youngster featured on the respected playlist among music greats like Beyonce, Rihanna, Frank Sinatra, John Legend and many more.
On the back of the success of his first hit track, Rema did not slow down.
Rema released Dumebi in April 2019. While Iron Man may claim to be more internationally popular, Dumebi clearly outdid it on the local scene. It was Rema’s second single and it swept the audience off their feet. The song quickly drew comparisons between the young singer and a younger version of Ayodeji Balogun, known popularly as Wizkid.
It was likely that people were reminded of the early days when the Starboy CEO thrilled fans with such songs as Love My Baby and Gidi Girl. However, Rema, while he confessed that the comparisons flattered him, wanted people to understand that he is quite different. In an interview with Okay Africa, he says in response to this kind of inquiry:
“People are entitled to their opinions and respect to those who’ve been holding the game down before me. I believe that I’m unique, that’s why I’m winning globally. I believe that I’m called for something very spiritual, beyond the human imagination so I care less about these comparisons.”
Meanwhile, just this February 2020, Rema did a remix of Dumebi and featured Latin American singer Rebbeca Marie Gomez, known by the stage name Becky G.
While the concluding section of this article gives a full summary of the songs contained in each of the three EPs that Rema has released so far, it is important to talk about them.
Rema’ debut EP – Rema
On 22nd March 2019, Rema dropped his first Extended Play album popularly called EP. He titled it Rema, after himself, and it brought four tracks with it including Iron Man, Why, Dumebi and Corny.
It was in this Rema’s first body of work project that the music world came to understand his range. The songs fall into Afrobeats, trap and hip hop category, thus showing the teenager’s versatility.
Rema’ sophomore EP – Freestyle
Rema’s second EP titled Freestyle came just three months after the release of Rema. Like Rema, Freestyle also contains four songs including Boulevard, American Love, Spiderman and Trap Out the Submarine.
While the EP did not achieve the same level of commercial success as the first project, it still did well. And Rema, true to his style brought dynamic sound-shifting delivery to the beats.
Rema’ third EP – Bad Commando
In October 2019, Rema dropped his latest EP project titled Bad Commando. Masterfully blending Afrobeats and rap together, Rema gives listeners the Olamide/Wizkid, feels according to some experts. Bad Commando also follows the Rema’s tradition of four songs in each EP. Lady is one of the biggest songs on the Bad Commando project as well as the track named Bad Commando as well. The other two are Rewind and Spaceship Jocelyn.
Rema Biography: Features with various artistes
Many top artistes have come to recognise the vibe that Rema brings to songs. This has made many of them feature him on their songs.
- His manager, D’Prince, had called upon him on his track Lavida.
- One of his most traditional songs is Ogologoma when DJ Big N featured the youngster.
- Rema featured Alpha P in December 2019, on his song Starboy.
- The Nigeria-born American rapper and record producer Thutmose also features Rema on his track, Love In The Morning. He recently released his five tracks EP project called Don’t Wake Me, which he released in November 2019.
- Rema also featured in Pholo and Belinda with Starboy CEO, Ayodeji Balogun popularly called Wizkid.
- Rema’s 2020 debut single Beamer (Bad Boys) features Jamaican Rvssian
Rema Biography: awards and recognitions
Currently, Divine Ikubor, whose stage name is Rema, has been active for a little over a year in the Nigerian music industry. He has released about 13 songs with many of them doing very well in the competitive music industry. While having not been around for long, the young singer has won two awards already and a nomination in another.
- At The Headies award in October 2019, Rema won the Next Rated artiste award beating Zlatan who had been strong opposition. The win had raised some controversy as many had been vying for Zlatan to clinch the award. However, many social commentators tied Zlatan’s loss to his issue with fans of ex-BBNaija housemate Tacha, which we covered in this link.
- Rema was also nominated for the Headies Viewer’s Choice award.
- Later, on 12th January 2020, he received the SounCity MVP award for the Best New Artist. He had beaten fellow new sensations like JoeBoy and FireBoy DML in the process.
Rema’s music style
For a long time after Rema started singing and dropping hits after hits, music commentators struggled to find a proper description for him. It was difficult because the artiste was much more dynamic than is customary among musicians.
One could describe Rema as an Afropop singer and be not entirely right while someone may call him a rapper and not be too far from the truth. In his own words, Rema provides the answer to what category he fits into:
“I’m here to make good music, I’m here to give people my sound. When I make music I don’t think too much I just do whatever my spirit leads. I’m not a rapper or some type of lyrical O.G and I’m not here to compete in that area. I trap ’cause trap genre helps me convey my emotions in a different way and I’m more familiar in that area. There’s no actual box I belong to, I create different types of sounds. I’m led by my spirit to create.”
Also, his Christian upbringing always rears its head in his statements. Once, when he was asked what gives him inspiration, Rema says:
“My inspiration is spiritual, from God and led by the prophecy I’m called to fulfil. I didn’t plan to create an EP for any particular purpose. These songs were recorded at different times beginning from 2018. Every song has its purpose, combined it creates a force the universe will reckon with. But in every creation I tend to create sounds that are beyond the regular, taking the youths to a new level. Showing them a fresh vision, showing them a new world.”
See also: Burna Boy Biography: Early life, relationship with Fela, music, successes, challenges and more
Who is Rema’s girlfriend?
While Rema is still a teenager and unmarried, he is rumoured to have a girlfriend in Port Harcourt. The Mavin Global’s superstar had met the girl while performing on stage at the Trace In The City campus tour in August 2019. He had at one time also brought the girl to perform with him on stage.
Sometime later, Rema allegedly tweets: “I wish I could see her again #Uniport.”
He met up with her again by the end of August 2019 at the Chop Life summer season charity festival in Port Harcourt, and says: “I found my Uniport girl“.
There is no proof of the two actually hanging out together, however.
The youngster is also causing the hearts of many women to race just by existing. A young Nigerian woman had gone on Facebook to express her feeling for him, posting:
“I can’t hide my feelings anymore 4 this boy, who knows him please telling him someone is deeply in love with him. I don’t need anything from him, I just need [a] one-night stand (sex) with him. Ever since I listen to his songs haven’t been myself. I love you Rema.”
Does Rema has a twin sister?
In September 2019, rumours went around that Rema allegedly has a twin sister. However, the truth of the matter was that there was truly a female fan of the young rising singer that looked very much like him.
Although the name of the lady is not known, her photos went viral for the striking resemblance between her and Rema. In the end, Rema met with her and even jokingly called her his twin sister.
Rema Biography: net worth
There is no verifiable data regarding Rema’s net worth. Forbes has not released any list of Nigerian artistes’ net worth that includes Rema. This is not surprising as he is just starting out. However, many blogs and online magazines have been speculating wildly.
For example, one blog claims that Rema is worth around $500,000 while another claims that it is something around $20,000. While no concrete fact is available about Rema’s net worth, we know that he makes some cool money by just signing with Mavin Records.
On YouTube, Rema likely makes between $768 to $12.3K or ($9.2K to $147.4K yearly), according to the statistics website Social Blade that tracks social media usage and trends.
Also, in September 2019, Rema penned an endorsement deal with HP. Since HP is a top international technology company based abroad and operating in Nigeria, it is likely the deal worth millions of naira.
Final thoughts …
Divine Ikubor, who goes by the stage name Rema, has turned out to be a very talented singer. He displays a dynamic range of talent that has defied a definition by music experts. While Rema may be popular for his hit tracks, he also professes faith in God in most of his utterances.
With age on his side and the backing of such music gurus as Don Jazzy and D’Prince, Rema is likely turn out to be the next big thing in the Nigerian music space.
Bonus Rema Information
1. Rema (Tracklist)
- Iron Man
2. Freestyle (Tracklist)
- American Love
- Trap Out The Submarine
3. Bad Commando (Tracklist)
- Bad Commando
- Spaceship Jocelyn
List of Rema’s Songs
- Iron Man (2019)
- Bad Commando (2019)
- Dumebi (2019)
- Corny (2019)
- Call Me Rema (2019)
- American Love (2019)
- Boulevard (2019)
- Lady (2019)
- This Fame (2019)
- Rewind (2019)
- Spaceship Jocelyn (2019)
- Trap Out The Submarine (2019)
- Starboy (2019)
- Beamer (Bad Boys) (2020)
- Rainbow (2020)
- The Headies for Next Rated (2019).
- SoundCity MVP award for the Best New Artist (2020).