Who is Don Jazzy?
Michael Collins Ajereh (born November 26, 1982), better known as Don Jazzy, is a Nigerian Multi award-winning record producer, singer-songwriter, musician, former CEO of Nigerian record label Mo’ Hits Records founded in 2004 and current CEO of the Mavin Records label which he founded in May 2012 after his split up with childhood friend and Mo’Hits partner, D’banj. Born in Umuahia in Abia state, his first signing was D’banj who was at that time also the Vice-President of the label and now President after split.
Don Jazzy’s first full credit production work was in 2004 on Tongolo for Nigerian singer D’banj. He went on to produce D’banj’s first studio album titled No Long Thing released in 2005.
He has produced tracks for Dr SID, Wande Coal, D’Prince, Darey, Naeto C, Olakunle Excel et Zanga (O.A.U), Sauce Kid, Ikechukwu & Tiwa Savage. He also collaborated with Jay-Z and Kanye West on the production of Lift Off, featuring Beyoncé on the album Watch The Throne, released on August 8, 2011.
He recently was rated as the 36th. “Most powerful celebrity in Africa” according to Forbes
Michael Collins Ajereh was born in Umuahia by Abia State Parents, who are from Isuikwuato L.G.A in Abia state. His family moved to Ajegunle city in Lagos state where he was raised, and graduated from Federal Government College Lagos. Michael Had always had a flair for music singing and playing the drums from the age of 4. He developed a passion for the bass guitar at the age of 12, He went on study Business Management at the Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma in Edo state. He moved to London in the United Kingdom in 2000 after his Uncle invited him to come play the drums for the neighborhood 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, Kas, 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
Voice, Fashion and Social Networking
Although not acknowledging himself as a recording artist,he is responsible for doing most Background Vocals for Artists he produces for and sometimes does complete verses. His musical dexterity can be heard through his beats and well calculated vocals he assists to the likes of D’Banj, Sauce Kid, Dr SID, Ikechukwu, Kween, D’Prince and even Jay-Z and Kanye West on their Watch The Throne track Lift Off, featuring Beyoncé.
The soft-spoken humble producer who is known to grant less interviews, is an avid user of social networking sites with Twitter being his top. With over 200K followers, he is known to give birthday shout-outs to fans, give airtime recharge cards, iPads, and even money via Twitter. Such connection to fans, has earned him a song by some Twitter fan, special for his birthday, sing him praises and wishing him a long-life.
His love for exquisite African Fabrics and Male Indian-Gowns isn’t a secret, but he is known to go with his own liking, switching whenever he feels like. At one point in 2011, he was frequently noticed to wear pajamas on daily-basis, in an interview he said, they are more comfortable. I prefer to call them colourful trousers. He is also known to wear sunglasses, carry walking sticks, of which he has several and alternating bling chains, African jewelry and rosary.
Mo’Hits/ G.O.O.D. Music and Mo’Hits End
In 2011 his talents got him noticed by Kanye West who signed him up as a producer on his GOOD 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.A video surfaced in the internet on Youtube, showing the signing of the deal,and Kanye West made a surprise appearance at the Koko Concert in London to officially show support and awarded D’Banj with his chain, as a gesture of welcoming him to GOOD Music.
However, after 8 years of hard work and struggles to set up the Mo’ Hits label, around March 2012, rumours of irreconcilable differences between the label heads had been circulating,the die-hard fans of the record label and fans of the synergy of Don Jazzy and D’Banj where torn apart,with tweets by Don Jazzy saying Rumours you have all heard recently are sad but true. The way forward now is to make sure I keep bringing you guys more of the beautiful music y’all love to dance to.
The multiple award winning producer also announced that Tiwa Savage would be joining the Mavin family. The signing of Savage, one of Nigeria’s leading vocalists, is seen as a major coup for the budding record label and Don Jazzy promised fans that there are many more exciting faces to be “activated” by the label in the near future.