Kennis Music’s rave of the moment, Jaywon, spoke to Senior Reporter, Ifeoma Meze, on his music, family and life.
Why have you not gone back to school after your OND?
It is because of time and also because of music. I started my music career in my school days. I do small performances here and there. After my OND, I went to Abuja for my industrial training but things were just moving on a slow pace. Some of the companies that I got did not want to pay. The last one I got wanted to pay me N5000 but you realise that at the end of the day, you won’t have anything with you because you would spend all on transport. After that I got a little job for like four, five months in Abuja. The little money I got, I use it to record songs. I did two songs in those days with some of my friends. The few people that heard the songs days liked them. I am the kind of person that if I do something and people encourage me, I will want to do more to impress them.
What kind of job did you eventually get in Abuja?
It was an odd job that I do not wish to talk about.
Was the job illegal?
It was not illegal but I don’t want to talk about it. I was able to record other songs after those two but things were not just falling in line because I was not that known by then. Some of my friends advised me to come to Lagos but then, when you talk about moving to Lagos, everybody thinks it’s very easy. I came to Lagos in 2005 just because of music and since then it has been work all the way.
Do you have plans to go back for your HND?
For my mum, I will try. My mum has always wanted me to be an accountant but the issue is that I cannot be an accountant so I will get the certificate for her and continue my music career.
So when did the music thing come to you?
I have been singing all my life. From when I was small, every song I listened to, I would want to learn to sing that song from the beginning to the end. I have a lot of my friends who are in the choir. I followed them but I was not part of the choir. I found out that at the end of the day, those that went for practice did not know the song. I would be the one that would start teaching them the songs. When I was quite little, I listened to King Sunny Ade. He was the only musician I listen to those days because my dad was in love with his music. So I learnt a lot of lyrics and I think it shaped my interest in music. Another thing that helped me is that anywhere music is I would want to be there and sing.
Since King Sunny Ade’s music helped shape your interest in music, why didn’t you go into juju music?
As I grew up, I listened to other kinds of music. By the time I got to primary and secondary school, hip-hop was already everywhere. There was Plantashun Boiz, Baba Fryo and many others. Right now, if you are very keen with my music, you will notice that there is a little of fuji and juju in it because that formed the beginning of my music career.
How would you describe your kind of music?
That has been very hard for me to do because I infuse different genres into my music. These days I say its Afro pop but if you ask me, I will say African music because if you check, R&B is not our style of music; hip-hop is not our style.
What about the fact that there are not many hip-hop musicians from the part of the country where you come from?
Dare Art Alade is from Kogi. He is from my own side. YQ is from Kogi even though he is Ebira. Even Steve Babaeko, the owner of X3M Music, is from Kogi.
How did you come about the stage name Jaywon?
Initially, my mum never wanted me near anything that would put me into music career. I was very happy when she finally agreed, and since she is so much in love with my first name Oluwajuwon and didn’t want me to change it I decided to build a name around it. I removed ‘U’ from Juwon and I have Jaywon. She is not yet done with the name issue, which is why I call my full name in my music most times just to convince her that I still use the name.
Are you that scared of your mum?
Yes, I am. I respect her a lot. After I lost my dad over 10 years ago, my mum is like the air I breathe and the last thing I want to do is hurt her.
What was her reaction when you told her you wanted to do music?
She never wanted me to. I ran away for some time. That was when my industrial training came up. She was always calling to know my whereabouts and all I told her then was that I was ok but later I was able to convince her because she is the kind of person that if she tries to convince you about something and you do not agree with her, later just to make you happy, she will give you some benefit of doubt.
Is it because you are now a star that she is okay with it?
Her letting me into music was way back in 2006 before people started seeing me on TV. Now, she is ok with the music but not okay with people calling her Mama Jaywon.
When did you start getting paid for your music?
It should be in 2006 and I was paid N5,000 or even less than that. They were supposed to pay N10,000 for the show but the person that got the money said it was N5,000. I did not complain. I was very happy to receive that sum for the fact that my name and picture was on the poster. I tell people that the only way to get paid in this industry is through hard work.
How did you come about the song ‘Facebook Love’?
Jaywon is one of those artistes who do not know how to write songs. I don’t even write songs anymore. Sometimes I find it hard to put words together. All I need is play me the beat and I think of something and after few minutes, I will go into the studio to record it.
Later I will go back and edit what I have done. I put ‘Facebook Love’ together but I have already dropped my album so the song could not be on my album. By then, Essence’s album was about to be released and Mr. Keke (Kenny Ogungbe) wanted me to do something with her and I had already finished with the chorus of the song. Don’t get me wrong, it is Essence’s song because it is on her album, but I also have right to the song as well because we did it together and the idea was mine.
How did you get into Kennis Music?
I always tell people that I am signed onto Kennis Music based on merit. I performed at Kennis Music Easter Fiesta and Mr. Keke saw me and signed me. That was how I got there.
Do you intend to stay with Kennis Music until maybe you have your own label?
I don’t think I want to do anything outside Kennis Music. Whether people like it or not, Kennis Music is the biggest record label in Africa. They have the biggest platform. Even foreign artistes like Jay-Z and 50 Cent don’t use one record label. Even when I have my own record label I am still going to be with Kennis Music.
What do you have to say of artistes that complain about Kennis Music?
I don’t want it to look like I am supporting Kennis Music but my question to some of these artistes how much are you making for yourself? Because it is only when you make money that the record label makes money. If you don’t make money, the record label will not make money. If your album does not sell, Kennis Music is not making money. If MTN, Glo or Etisalat does not call me for shows, Kennis Music is not making money. Before I came to Kennis Music, I heard many things about them from people but what I saw when I got here was very different from what I heard. I almost gave up signing the contract from what people told me. Today, most of the people that wanted to discourage me are the ones begging me to give their CD to Mr. Keke.
How would you describe your self?
I love real people and I will not deny the fact that I am a very stubborn person. I let people know the way I am and if they cannot accept me the way I am, I am sorry I cannot change it, no offence. People that say one thing and do another thing entirely puts me off. I am very playful and I don’t look down on people.
Did the girls around you like your stubborn nature while growing up?
Girls? Where my mum was involved? Never. My mum was too tough. When my mum wanted to beat you, she would beat you without checking if you have a guest or not.
So you did not have a girlfriend throughout your secondary school days
I had but it was towards the end of my SS 3 class.
And she never came to your house?
To come and do what? No way.
So you were doing closet love
You can call it that. We could not kiss until I finished secondary school.
Are you presently in a relationship?
Yes, I do have a girlfriend but right now I am married to my work, which is music