Artist Profile: Don Jazzy

Uncle LooN October 8, 2013 0


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The CEO, founder and resident producer of Mavin records is a firestarter. Michael Collins Ajereh, although not a recording artist himself, has quickly become one of the most prominent celebrities in Africa. In less than six years, the genius producer has changed the way Nigerians listen to music and revolutionized the industry. He has been called Africa’s answer to Timbaland, another producer with flamboyant beats and a distinctive style. Forbes magazine listed him as the 36th most powerful celebrity in Africa.

Born in Umuahia, Abia state in 1982, the young Collins’ family relocated to Lagos where he went to primary and secondary school. It was in secondary school he first acquired the moniker, Don Jazzy. Although he followed a conventional educational path, he very quickly developed a passion for music and started playing the drums at the age of 4. He went on to start experimenting with various instruments at a tender age, a trait that was to become the hallmark of his later career.

In 2000 Don Jazzy moved to the UK at the invitation of an uncle who wanted him to play the drums for his local church. Various odd jobs followed including working at McDonalds and as a security guard. Already imbued with an intimate knowledge of traditional and percussion instruments, Don Jazzy further built on his musical knowledge during his UK stint. Finding fellow kindred sprits in the likes of Solek, JJC, Kaz, The 419 squad and D’Banj, the gang would spend unrelenting hours practicing, recording and performing different types of music.

Jazzy’s appetite for a full time career in music could no longer be satiated when, in 2004, he partnered with D’Banj to set up the Mo’Hits label. Within two years, the prolific producer had wrapped up two albums (No Long Thing and Rundown/Funk You Up) with his former Mo’Hits partner and was working on a third, Curriculum Vitae. By this time, he had already started becoming a household name with the trademark intro – It’s Don Jazzy again!

In 2008 there were further production credits for the best selling album of that year, The Entertainer. Don Jazzy repeated the trick with Wande Coal’s Mushin 2 MoHits, an album that was described as one of the best albums to ever come out of Nigeria.

In 2011 his talents got him noticed by Kanye West who signed him up as a producer on his G.O.O.D music label. With over a 100 production tracks to his name, the understated genius has worked with a host of local and international celebrities. In spite of his whirlwind superstardom, Don Jazzy has never forgotten his humble beginnings and is very passionate about charitable causes.

By founding Mavin records in May 2012, the multiple award winning producer is looking to further raise the bar both domestically and internationally. With his aim of making Mavin a “power house of African music,” he has set up a highly professional structure of business hotshots as well as musical mavericks. The prodigious 29-year-old is set to take his place amongst the pantheon of musical greats.

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