He may have missed out on a MOBO, but that’s not stopping Edinburgh-based gospel singer El Mafrex from looking to the future as he launches his own brand of eyewear.
The 28-year-old, who lost out to Rachel Kerr for Best Gospel Act, said he was thrilled to rub shoulders with stars such as JLS, Emile Sande and Dionne Warwick at the awards ceremony last weekend.
And in keeping with his busy lifestyle, the Nigerian-born performer, who moved to Inverleith three years ago, is now planning to launch a new range of designer sunglasses.
The star said: “I had my glasses custom-made to my own design and people are always complimenting them and asking where they can get them, so I’ll be launching my own range of eyewear online, hopefully before the end of the month. I’m calling the range 3:16, after the famous Bible verse.”
Along with his new sunglasses label, the singer is also putting together a concert to take place in the Capital before the end of the year.
He said: “There’s going to be some A-list performers – but I can’t say too much yet. I can tell you that Ram1, who were also nominated for Best Gospel at the MOBOs, will be there, and I’ve invited a lot of my other friends up to play.”
The talented singer admits he was star-struck mingling with a-listers at the awards. He said: “Being at the MOBOs was an awesome experience, I met so many people – Emile Sande, Conor Maynard, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Trevor Nelson . . . JLS were two tables away, Labrinth was really close by too! I couldn’t take pictures during the ceremony itself but I got loads at the after party. It was just brilliant. Even though I didn’t win, it was great to be there representing Scotland on that stage. I really hope I get the chance to be there again.
“Dionne Warwick, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award, came over to me and Ayanna Witter-Johnson, who had been nominated for Best Jazz Act, and told us not to feel bad about not winning. She says it’s more important to be nominated in the first place and to be able to represent yourself.” The devout Christian, whose video “Jehovah” has been viewed on YouTube nearly 630,000 times, admits life has been a whirlwind recently. So, with so much going on, the title of his new album, due out next June, is perhaps unsurprising.
He continued: “It’s called ‘Who Am I?’ and it’s going to be out on 4th June 2013. It’s a question I’m putting out to my friends and my fans - who am I? It’s because I bring so many different styles to what I do - gospel, R&B, hip hop, reggae.
For more information visit http://www.elmafrexonline.com/.