Nigerian-born artiste JONANis based in Abuja, he is a reggae artist who started off as a rapper back in the University of Benin as a member of the renowned underground hip hop / rap group Knighthood. He was taught how to play the piano by his father when he was seven, he gradually cultivated the habit of writing songs and raps as he grew older. Today as a solo artists, he unleashes his new track called ‘My Bonnie’. We had the opportunity to interview him and find out more about him and this is what he had to say.
ADM: Can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Jonan and that’s my stage name too; no pseudonyms.
I’m the first in my family; four boys and two girls.
I’m from Edo state, born and raised in Kaduna state.
ADM: Why did you go for reggae music in particular and where do you get your inspiration from?
I went for reggae music because it was what I grew up listening to.
Reggae music is a genre of music that can never fade away.
It is diversified, broad and it is an African “thing” for me.
My inspirations come from circumstances surrounding me and my personal experiences too.
ADM: When you and your band parted ways, how long did it take you to get back into music and why?
It didn’t take me so much time before I jumped into the studio to start recording my own songs. I’d say it was just about 3 months.
I was always working and composing songs for myself before then and so when we parted ways, I just felt this was the right time for me to do my own stuff because music for me, is my passion.
ADM: Can you define your style to a new fan and what sort of fans are you attracted to?
My style is a form of conscious reggae.
And I’d say I’m attracted to a mature audience who have ears for real good tunes. I love melodies and I bring the vibes in.
ADM: You were taught how to play the piano by your father, do you still play and what other instruments do you play?
Yes, sure I still play the piano. I’m not so good on the bass guitar and the drums. But at least, I know the rules.
ADM: Which legendary artist do you enjoy listening to and which are your 3 favourites?
I love listening to the legendary Bob Nesta Marley.
I love good music and I can listen to any great song from anyone no matter the genre.
But my 3 favourites would be: Don Carlos and Gold, Coldplay and finally, The Cranberries.
ADM: Which artists have you worked with in the past and who would you like to work with in the future?
Whoa! Great question (smiles)
I have worked with a couple of artists in the past even though they weren’t ‘A-list’ or major.
Most of those songs we did together never saw the limelight. I was also in Mode9’s (This is Hip hop) video far back as 2008.
But moving on, I’d like to work with a lot of great artists out there.
I’d love to work with Tuface Idibia, Bez and Asa.
I’d love to work with The Cranberries too from Ireland and I’d love to work with Carol Jiani too.
I’d love to tour Africa on the road with Dj Ray Bee Brown .The first Dj that believed and playlisted my song on Igroove Radio.He is an amazing Dj
ADM: What do you think about tђe African reggae music industry and what is great about it at the moment?
Firstly, Reggae music is an African thing that has eventually cut across other parts of the world. Carribean inclusive.
Right now, I feel the African reggae music industry is growing rapidly.
There are a whole lot of great artists out here in Nigeria who have a fusion of reggae in their sounds.
These days, there’s a blend of “Riddim” on the beats and loads of dancehall too.
Ironically, most young lads don’t know they are reggae artists. *laughs*
ADM: Tell us more about your new single ‘Bonnie’ and how you came about the song.
Yeɑh, Bonnie was just a piece of song I wrote out of the blues.
You know those feelings you have when you close your eyes and just imagine a beautiful damsel next to you right? Yeah that’s what led to Bonnie. *laughs*
I recorded it here in Nigeria but this present mix was done by Marco Zappala from Brazil.
There’s the Reggaeton slow mix for this part of the world (Nigeria, Africa)
There’s the Drum and Bass Mix for the Western world (Europe and environs) both produced by Marco Zappala in Brazil.
Then there’s the Club Mix by Dj Christian from Chicago too.
ADM: What is the best thing about being a solo artist?
The best thing about being a solo artist for me is the fact that it helps one master his or her craft perfectly well with time.
Also, it helps build your self confidence on stage and it makes you solely responsible for all of your actions in the music business.
Remember, in as much as we all need one another to stand together, one must be able to stand for his or herself because we are all on our own in this life.
The single will be officially released in November, however Raymond Bee Brown was the first to paly the track “My Bonnie“on Igroove Radio in Nigeria, the track is still on rotation in the country. Jonan says Thank you to his fans and those who beleive in him.
Interviewd by: Noellin Imoh