- Words Robert Solomon
Young Jonn on his debut EP, ‘Love Is Not Enough', working with Olamide and Davido, and what's next.
At this level in the game, there are zero excuses for not knowing who Young Jonn is. He has always identified himself as a Nigerian music producer, or affectionately; The Wicked Producer. But with more than a decade in the industry, Jonn has materialised to become one of the biggest, most in-demand producers in the music scene. He has constructed countless hit singles, earned a Headies nomination for Producer of The Year, and has worked with a star-studded class of Nigerian artists that includes Olamide, Davido, and Kizz Daniel.
Recently signed to Chocolate City, the label home to acts like M.I, Blaqbonez, and Candy Bleakz, Young Jonn is now entering into the next chapter of his career, but this time, he’s doing it as a lead artist with the release of his debut EP ‘Love Is Not Enough.’ The 5-track body of work is an expression of vulnerability from Jonn which sees him taking the next step to further solidify his space within this new realm. “To me, I felt like it was time I took this music thing seriously,” he says in a phone conversation with Notion. “I just kept recording more music, and I had no idea it’ll turn out to become an EP.”
Although the project’s precursor “Dada,” a smooth record with catchy melodies draped all over Young Jonn’s brand of thumping drums, was the introduction, the EP follows in those footsteps with love-themed songs. Feeling confident as ever, Jonn hopes to bring freshness into the scene with his deft musical compositions and raw talent as a producer, and now a lead artist. We caught up with Young Jonn to talk about his new project, his transition from a producer to a lead artist, working with Olamide and Davido, and many more.
What was your experience like growing up?
I grew up in a lot of places because my parents were missionaries and they were all over the place. The experience was good and I got used to meeting new people. But I grew up in Ibadan and then Osogbo and back to Ibadan, and from there, I came to Lagos.
What kickstarted your interest in music?
I grew up in a musical background. Apart from the fact that I grew up in a church environment, my mom used to play the keyboard, guitar and violin. I didn’t really plan to be an artist because I was going to be a footballer. But I had always had an interest in music from day one. Music was just a thing on the side that I knew how to do. But as time went on, I saw myself getting more into it, and before I knew it I was into it (laughs).
Over the past years, you have worked with Olamide and Davido, two of Afrobeats biggest names. How did these collaborations come about?
As a producer, Olamide was really instrumental to the whole growth. I can’t really remember the exact year but I met him in the early years of my career. At the time he was recording his album with Pheelz, the YBNL album that had “First of AlI.” I was always around the studio when they were recording. I was basically just there in one corner (laughs). After some time Olamide and I had to work together and it kept going like that til we made all these bangers. Then moving to the next phase, after the release of “Dada”, which was already gaining quite some attention, I got to meet up with Davido. We’ve worked together before but never done anything concrete like that. We linked up at the club and “Dada” came up and I was like ‘Bro,what do you think?’ And he was like ‘Yeah, why not’. Until the day it happened, I never knew it was really going to happen. This was because we were never so specific about it. But it happened and the song took off everywhere.
As a producer, what has been your favourite collaboration so far?
That’s hard to say. To be honest, I can’t really say I have a favourite collaboration. I am not trying to be biassed because working with different artists comes with different vibes. They make all of these vibes in their own way, so I can’t really say which is my favourite.
Talk me through your transition from producing for these artists to creating your own music? Has it been easy or challenging?
First thing I can say is nothing is easy, we all know that. It takes a lot of work to be able to achieve anything. But at the same time, shout-out to my team, they have been amazing. Shout-out to my friends and family for their support. It has not been easy but it’s been fun. I enjoy doing it.
Do you write your own songs?
Yes, I write my own music from start to finish. I don’t feel like the writing culture is a bad idea because I feel I’d most likely do a song written by someone else. But, personally, I write my songs because I’m always in the zone. I record my songs bit by bit at home.
So tell me, is there any particular method to the way that you go about writing songs?
Honestly, I’m just in the zone. I don’t have a definite process. I just record bit by bit til it’s done. I have my own studio so I record myself. Whenever I’m in the zone, I just record even though it might not be a complete recording.
‘Love Is Not Enough’ feels like a proper debut for a producer who has just taken the mic. How did you know it was time to drop this project?
I don’t think you really know when it’s time, but I just felt it was time for me to take the music really seriously. Shout-out to the amazing team behind me, all of this won’t be possible without them. I have always been recording but I never really felt the urge to take it seriously. First the team came together, then I had to come together mentally (laughs).
How was the process like, putting together this project, giving the fact that it’s your debut as a recording artist?
The process was amazing. I was just recording music each and every other day and it all just came together. So when it was time to put out the EP, we just picked some of the songs and that was how it all came about.
“Dada” has to be my favourite track off the EP, and even the remix with Davido is fire! What’s the story behind it?
“Dada” is a love story, but a sad love story. It’s about two people who are in love but also in denial. It’s also about two people who can’t really get what they want because they are far away lovers.
Interesting. Is that also the same story behind “Normally”?
Yes it’s the same story as “Dada”, but a sadder love story. It’s a love story where a guy is in love with a girl but he is used to the pattern of people coming and going. This makes him not ready to commit to anything.
With the release of ‘Love Is Not Enough’, what is next for you?
Big plans for the rest of the year. New music and videos are dropping soon. I also have a lot of collaborations coming up. I have bigger and better things, that I can assure you.