By Mr Focus Chikamso
The Life of Don Jazzy the Nigerian and African Music Legend
Also known as ‘The Boss’, Michael Collins Ajereh with the stage name ‘Don Jazzy’ is a Nigerian and African Pop, R&B, Afro Pop and Hip Hop singer, songwriter and record producer, the big boss of Mavin Records. He is also an entrepreneur and a businessman. Michael hails from Isoko in Delta State, his mother is from Abia state and his father originated from the Isoko community. As regards his place of birth, he was born in Umuahia, Abia State on 26th November, 1982 (36 years old). Later on, His family moved to Ajegunle, where he was raised.
Around 1994, Ajereh’s family moved to Ajegunle, Lagos, where he was brought up. He attended the co-educational high school, Federal Government College Lagos. Don Jazzy found love in music when he was about twelve. He started with playing bass guitar for his church to gaining knowledge of local orchestral instruments. After secondary school, he moved down to Edo state and got enrolled in business management studies at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo state. About six years later, Michael visited London following his uncle’s invitation. He continued his musical love and hubby there in London and got associated with Solek, JJC, Kas, The 419 Squad and D’Banj. Don Jazzy learnt most of his producing skills from Emeka Infiniti at O-Town record company. There in London, he worked with McDonald’s as one of their security bouncers.
Don Jazzy and MoHits Record
In 2004, long before he started the Mavin Records, Don Jazzy co-founded the now defunct record label ‘MoHits Records’ with D’banj. In two years time, he released the albums ‘No Long Thing and Rundown (Funk You up)’. At the time, he had also started working on his third album, ‘Curriculum Vitae’. “It’s Don Jazzy Again!” was grounded as his formal introduction. He also contributed to the production of Wande Coal’s Mushin 2 MoHits, an album that was said to be one of the bests to ever exist out from Nigeria. He received credits upon D’banj’s ‘the entertainer’. Don Jazzy doesn’t credit himself much as a singer, he mainly like doing background vocals for his clients, like D’Banj, Sauce Kid, Dr SID, Ikechukwu, Kween, D’Prince, Jay-Z and so on. For Kanye West’s song ‘Lift Off’ ft Beyoncé on the ‘Watch The Throne’ album, he was employed as the producer in 2011 and he also provided vocal performances and assists. As a result of artistic, musical and personal differences, Don Jazzy and D’Banj abandoned their partnership and parted ways in March 2012.
In the same year, Don Jazzy appeared in the movie “The Last 3 Digits”, a Nollywood movie by Moses Inwang. He also cast Ali Baba, A.Y., Nonso Diobi and Dr. Sid in the movie.
Don Jazzy and Mavin Records
On 7th May 2012, Don Jazzy started a new record label, Mavin Records. He said “I see Mavin Records being the power house of Music in Africa in the shortest possible time”. Later in the year, he released an album, in it was their anthem: ‘I am a Mavin Man’ and songs like: Amarachi, Forever, Oma Ga, Take Banana, Chocolate and Yola. He featured the artist he signed to his label, Tiwa Savage. Don Jazzy also established a social network platform called “Marvin League” to boost and market his record lebel.
In 2013, Jazzy had issues with one of his artist, Wande Coal and he left the label two days later. By that time, Some artists had moved in to Mavin records and he went on to sign many more artists to the lebel which include: Tiwa savage, Dr. Sid, D’prince (His brother), Reekado banks, Korede bello, Di’ja, Poe, DNA Twins and Johnny Drills (latest signings). The label also houses a roster of producers such as Jazzy (The boss himself), Altims and Baby Fresh. DJ Big N became the label’s official disc jockey.
In 2014, he produced a Nigerian social activist song with Reekado Banks and Di’ja called ‘Arise’. At the Headies Awards, in 2015, Don Jazzy debated with Olamide as the two bosses disagreed about who should have won the “Next Rated” award. Lil Kesh of YBNL records (Olamide) lost to Reekado Banks of Mavins records. Jazzy’s signee received a car as the winner of the award. However, Don Jazzy and Olamide later got reconciled.
Don Jazzy’s awards and honours
Don Jazzy has received many awards and honours concerning his outstanding performances, roles and contributions in the Nigerian/African music industry as a singer, producer and a record label owner. These Awards includes:
i. Nigerian Music Awards (2006) – Producer of the Year.
ii. Nigerian Entertainment Awards (2007) – Music Producer of the Year.
iii. The Headies 2011 – Producer of the Year for Over The Moon, Mr Endowed and Pop Something.
iv. The Headies 2014 – Producer of the Year for Dorobucci.
v. City People Entertainment Award (2015) – special recognition award..
Moreover, with the likes of Samsung, Loya Milk and MTN, Don Jazzy has had endorsement deals. However, on 25 February, 2017, The Cable online media had it that Don Jazzy claimed he is now bigger endorsement deals. He rather does partnership with companies. At the time he said this, he just finalised and announced his partnership with a company Flobyte, a free wifi service company. Flobyte he believed with increase the access of Nigerians to local internet content. The inspiration for Flobyte according to Jazzy was because most people who stream and buy their music are mainly people in US, UK and other African countries and not Nigerians. Flobyte was to make it easy and cheap for Nigerians to have access to the internet and invariably stream and buy songs of their artists.
Don Jazzy, Mavin record boss had made name for himself in Nigerian and African music industry, with his over hundred produced songs, over three albums with the Mohit records, and many with the Mavin records. He has engaged in collaborations with almost all A-list Nigerian hip hop artists, like Psquare, Duncan Mighty, Olamide and so on.
His social media handles have many followers in their millions: Instagram – @donjazzy (5.1m) and @mavinrecords (1.6m), Twitter – @DONJAZZY (3.1m), Facebook – @MavinRecords(1.2m) and @OFFICIALDONJAZZY (1.2m), and his website: www.mavinrecords.com.
Don Jazzy no doubt is very successful in his craft hence he was considered by Forbes among the top three richest Nigerian musicians. With about thirty five million dollars ($35M) net worth, he has a lot of houses and expensive cars; Porsche 911, Bentley Continental, flying Spur, Cadillac Escalade, Range Rover sports among others. As a good, selfless and free minded man, he has signed many talents from grass to grace, raised many stars from nothing to something and is still doing more.
Aeroberry is one of the main authors and administrators of the this website. He is a young and intelligent man.