Young Jonn…Rebirth Of The Wicked Producer
At the turn of the 2010s, one name began to gain massive prominence across every dance floor in the Nigerian music industry – “Young Jonn the wicked producer.”
With chart-topping hits blaring through our stereos, in the songs from Olamide (Story For The Gods), Kizz Daniel (Mama), Lil Kesh (Shoki), among others, this young maverick hacked the template to become an ear candy, with his music production wits. However, with Young Jonn the surprises never really end. With the same enigmatic radicalism that coloured his productions, the 27-year-old musical whiz is now making a massive wave as a singer and songwriter. And his rebirth is not just a laudable addition to the league of producers-cum-singers; with his just-released debut EP – a 5-track sound piece dubbed, Love Is Not Enough (LINE), the musician morphs into one of the most vibrant hitmakers of this generation.
With the lead single off the EP – a mid-tempo groove dubbed Dada – dominating the airwaves, Young Jonn’s new musical baptism sets the pace for other singer-producers. Again, as the remix of the fan-favourite Dada, with Davido, begins to take Young Jonn’s popularity as a singer to the next level, it is clear that Young Jonn is back and he is here to stay, convincing every ear that listens to his love-themed melodies on the prowess of his talent.
The Chocolate City music producer and singer speaks to Guardian Life, delving into his inspiration behind his transition, his creative process, as well as his new life as a musician.
Congratulations on your transition. How does it feel?
So far, the energy has been great; it’s been wonderful.
Since when did you know you wanted to sing?
Well, I’ve always been recording. I just never really focused on it like that, you know. Overtime, I just found my way back to it. So, yeah, that’s the way I am.
When did you start?
I’ve always been recording right from time – my vocals… sound recordings and all are on my phone. I’ve always been doing that. I’ve just never really shared my music with anyone. But now, I think I’m ready to.
But did you tell anyone?
I can’t really say that I knew I’d ever get to this point at all. I’ve always loved music and all of that, but at the time, my head was totally in a different space. You get what I mean?
I just never put in the effort, or the ginger. I didn’t focus on all of that, like I didn’t really share my music with people. So, it was just I and a couple of my friends, those people that knew I sing. Everybody listens to my music; we just didn’t really put it out.
So, what drew you to music in the first place and how did you start this journey?
Music has always been a major part of me. Growing up, my mum used to play the saxophone; she used to play the guitar too. She was a chorister, you know. I’ve always been embedded in that, like musical foundation and all of that. My dad is a pastor, so I grew up in church playing the keyboard, drums- basically like that. That was how music got into my bloodstream. One way or the other, I’ve always been on this path.
You’ve always had that musical background, but did you have other ambitions?
I wanted to be a footballer.
Why didn’t you pursue that dream?
Funny enough, I dey try o; I still play very well. Just that the way life directs you… life has a plan for everybody. But yeah, initially, I wanted to be a footballer and I was really working towards it, but somehow, it didn’t work.
What do you want your sound to be like? What’s the direction?
Well, the direction I can say is, my music is a basic expression of what is going on in my mind; different moments define different things. So, hopefully, my music is headed to the greatest phase – let me just put it like that.
All we can do is hope for the best. So, yeah, regarding work, I’m working so hard on these things to know that I can go as far as I can imagine it to be.
What inspired the new EP?
LINE is the short form of ‘Love is not Enough.’ By saying love is not enough, I’m not trying to be an advocate for no love or hard guy; that’s not even the point of ‘Love is not Enough.’ In my own context, I feel like love is not sufficient for all the things we thought it was.
When I’m talking about love, I’m not just talking about the romantic side of love, because I’m big on love. I am big on family love, love between friends, you know. I realised that as good as love feels, it’s not really as sufficient as we thought. Love is never enough for anything. So, that was the space I was in when I was creating the project.
Let’s talk about the EP’s lead single. The remix with Davido is making a lot of rounds. Why did you pick him for it?
Davido supported the original song. He has always been supportive of me and I thought it would only be right for me to have him on the remix. I reached out to him and he said he would love to jump on it and that was it. If I’m being honest, he was a great choice because I couldn’t have thought of anyone else to complement my track in a good way. I mean, listen to that verse and see how hard He went on it, it’s lovely.
How do you feel about the current reception you have received for the record?
I’m truly blessed to have everyone supporting me like this. Big shout out to me and my team Chocolate City for putting in the work to get this done. The results have been far amazing cause I wouldn’t say I never expected this, but yeah I’m happy things are going as we planned.
Tell us about your creative process?
My creative process is very stress free. I love creating music whether as a producer or as an artist and thanks to God it’s something I’m really good at. So I just always make sure I enjoy myself while doing what I love basically .
As someone behind the sounds for a long time, what aspect do you think we are still lagging behind in the industry?
To be honest, I’ve always been involved with everything. So I just really think as an industry we are doing well and crossing boundaries and that’s growth.
Do you think Afrobeats can dominate the global music industry?
Yes, anything is possible with music. There are no boundaries with music and Afrobeats is definitely taking over the world very soon, we are already taking over in fact.
What’s your favourite sound to make? What do you see yourself doing now, in terms of genres?
Honesty, I won’t really say that I have a favourite genre like that. As long as it’s sweet, as long as it makes me feel good, you know what I mean. I am more attached to the fitting than the tag; you understand?!
So, does it feel intimidating knowing you are going to have to walk your way up as a singer?
Funny enough, it doesn’t. I mean, I love a good challenge; that’s me. Anybody that knows me would tell you these are the kind of things I like. I love looking forward to something. You know, working on something and looking forward to it. I like a profitable job. So, yeah, I am glad to go all the way through.
Finally, tell us one thing people don’t really know about you?
Alright, I don’t always feel comfortable when I am on water- like I easily get sea sick.