In 2016 were grateful for…: Don Jazzy’s existence and consistency
In honor of the end of 2016, we are writing stories about artists, songs, albums or moments from the year that we’re most grateful for.
It’s another year, and Don Jazzy continues to lord over the industry in many ways. Since 2004 when he contrived to partner with D’banj to create the defunct Mo’Hit records, he has stood over the industry, thriving in various aspects via his works and the works of the people he chose to invest in.
Mo’Hits as we know it crashed and burned when D’banj left the group over a difference in deciding the future of the record label and their personal involvement in different markets. While everyone picked sides and hat was left of the label was reformed into today’s Mavins, it has taken both courage, perseverance and hard work to maintain this.
Last year Don Jazzy promised Nigerians that he would effectively stop singing. The Mavin boss had spent a huge part 2015 being drawn away from his first calling as a producer and record label executive to the mic. His voice littered numerous songs with A-list acts, as he progressed from taking hooks and adlibs to executing verses.
Songs such as ‘Gift’ by Iyanya, ‘I concur’, ‘Jantamanta’, ‘Bestie’ and more, had the Don sprinkle stardust all over the singles, exceptionally converting them into hit songs. Those singles, were nothing without the talent of Don Jazzy and the influence that he wields throughout the industry.
But he has chosen to step away from the mic, and that decision, which was personal, was influenced by a desire to rest, step back from the active scene in front of the camera, and retreat to pulling the strings from behind, and social media.
This ended a long list of cameos, which historically speaking has been the source of joy for many music enthusiasts. From the era of Mo’Hits’ dominance to the transition of Mavin Records, Don Jazzy has appeared in the music vocally. Adlibs and supporting vocals had earlier been his limited role, but each year has brought more boldness and a willingness to step forward to the plate.
2013, 2014 and 2015 marked the trifecta of years where he began to be accepted and widely celebrated for his musical ability. To be objective, Don Jazzy lacks a ‘good’ voice. He doesn’t possess what conventional knowledge will call ‘a voice that the heavens can be proud of.’ What he however has, is a signature vocal texture that no one can lay claim to or imitate. It is commercial, appealing, and has the uncanny ability to blend with every, and any voice. That’s why it is special.
He later returned to music with a new song. (More of that later).
In late 2015, under Don Jazzy’s guidance, a returning Tiwa Savage released her sophomore album – “R.E.D” – just after she gave birth, and sought to work to make a comeback into the game. She has pulled that off successfully, with hit songs, collaborations and more making her the biggest in Nigeria in 2016.
For others, Reekado Banks continued to flourish as a pop artiste who has the world at his feet. He dropped his debut album – “Spotlight” – a feat in these streets. This album has birthed numerous hit songs and continues to be a fine project to milk for singles. Korede Bello is out and about, after continuing his winning streak by scoring both ‘Romantic’ and ‘Do like that’. Di’ja who took time out to build her home, is working on a return too.
And then there was Iyanya.
Frankly, Iyanya’s signing to Mavin Records is a shock to everyone, except all the parties who came together to make it a reality. The singer is one of the pop music jewels this country has seen, one who is a ‘boss’ in his own right. Heck, just a few months ago Iyanya was a co-owner of a record label that has Tekno on the books and had just announced the signing of new acts to usher Made Men Music Group into a new phase of operations. Today, he is signed to Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records, one of the best music companies in the country, with a proven record of achieving and maintaining success.
The duo have already collaborated on the single ‘Up to something’.
While the country went into a tailspin from recession, and many labels lost their mojo, Don Jazzy continues to set a standard of how to run the business, blow up records and walk away slowly, while nodding to applause, and in style.