Jimmy Amu (a.k.a. DJ Jimmy Jatt) spoke to Punch newspapers recently about his work, family and life generally. Amongst other issues, he spoke at length about sickle cell anemia and why couples should consider their compatibility medically before going ahead to have children. Read the interview below;
My work and my family
I try to run my office from home. I stopped having my office outside my home a long time ago. That way I can always go inside to greet my family and come back or they could come and check on me. When I am not working, I try to balance things up. As for my wife, she is doing very well. She does not even know me as Jimmy Jatt. She knew me long before I became a disc jockey. What she keeps seeing is that man she has always known.
The death of my siblings
I am from a polygamous home. My parents had 10 children. My dad and his second wife were not compatible. I always tell people to look carefully before going into marriage. Love is not enough reason to get entangled in a marriage. You have to be sure that the two of you are medically compatible. You have to be sure you are not going to produce children who suffer from sickle cell anemia. Unfortunately, that is what happened between my dad and his second wife. All the children from that marriage did not survive. I have seen how much the three of them struggled stay alive, but in vain. For me, it is a lesson and I always speak out just to let people know that you don’t take things for granted. Many people still think they will get lucky. People around here are fond of saying, ‘God will do it.’ Sometimes you need to face reality. For people like us that have experienced the trauma, we know what we are talking about.
Why I haven’t set up a sickle-cell anemia foundation
I would rather support numerous foundations than concentrate on one. Somebody donated some bags of rice to an orphanage and it was news on the television. We do this regularly, but we do not talk about it. We don’t want to be loud about it.
Keeping late nights
Unfortunately for me, I deal completely with insomnia right now. I don’t sleep at night, even when I am not working. I am more active at night. I’d rather do a lot of things, documents, music matters, at night because I would be more alert and effective. I only go to bed because I don’t want my wife to leave me. Every day I tell myself, once it is 3 am or 4 am, you have to go home.
I didn’t sign a deal with Spinlet. I don’t know the source of that story. I am not signed on to Spinlet Records. At the initial stage, they said they wanted to market some of my works and we signed a distribution deal for some of the stuff I had recorded in the past. I do not know where that came out from. I read it in a reputable magazine. In the same way, somebody said I dropped disc jockey work to become a club bouncer. It was published and I was shocked. That is really outrageous. If I am going to change my profession it won’t be to work as a bouncer. I am not even built like one. I would be the easiest bouncer to get by; you would just have to push me. I saw it and laughed. If anybody can believe that, they can believe anything.
Why I’m not signed to a records label
I think I have passed that stage. I have never signed with any label, but I had had a working relationship with Storm Records in the past. I recorded the album and was about to give it out but based on my relationship with Storm Records. At the time, I had a lot on my plate. I felt I was not ready to go back and forth with marketers. I am not even looking forward to signing up with a label.
Why it took so long to start my own label
If I don’t get to give a project all my attention and get involved 100 per cent, I do not get into it. If I am very busy doing other things, I won’t sign on an artiste. I can’t sign on a guy and keep him waiting for a long time because I do not have the time to push him out. I am hoping that when I slow down as a DJ, we will get that running effectively soon. We have a label registered, and everything is in place. It will happen very soon.
Collaboration with international artistes
I am not keen on collaborating with international artistes. I am not saying I don’t want to do that, but I am not keen on it. What I do is to use my own platform for young people to leverage on and move on. Why should I want to have that platform and give it out to someone else abroad when we have loads of talents here? I would rather have a Jimmy Jatt album featuring young people around here than a Jimmy Jatt album featuring Jay-Z. What is it going to do for me anyway? Some people look at it and say it’s profiling, but that is where it ends. It is not a plus for me or the artiste. The plus comes if I put an unknown artiste on my album and people are asking questions. When we recorded Defination, about 75 per cent of the artistes involved were unknown at the time. If you go through the list again, you will discover that they are all big names now. People like MI, Naeto C, 9ice, Kel and W4 were on the album in 2007. I remember when we were recording the song in the studio, nobody knew 9ice. But the boys are up there right now and you feel good with yourself. At least you can say you were part of their story. It sounds good that way. I collaborate with DJs worldwide generally. I shall be off to New York in mid November. There is the Global Spin Awards happening. It is like the Grammys for DJs. I’m nominated in the African category and that is a big deal. We have all the big names there. Every DJ worth something in the world would be there. That is collaboration. You go to that and discuss how I can come to your city and rock the show. I work in that area.
How I met my wife
I just got lucky, as ladies always love me. I don’t have to do much, except be a nice guy. I am actually a nice guy. Before we started dating we were friends for a few years. I have been with my wife for about 20 years now, as friends and lovers.
My children and my work
My children love music. I think a lot of young people love music. Music is part of life now. They have unlimited access to music. In actual fact, they help me with the music. They would come meet me and ask if I have heard a particular song, or a new single from an artiste. It is a plus for me. If they want to take up music as their career, it is up to them. It is not mandatory. My father was not a DJ. So I am not going to say my kids must go in that direction. If they choose to embrace music or disc jockeying, I would support them and encourage them. That is the essence of what I am doing right now. Let the profession be appreciated and recognised and as such young people can get into it and be proud. It is the same way that football became accepted and popular in this part of the world. It is the same way I look at disc jockeying in the country. In other parts of the world, DJs are rock stars. They are very popular. In Japan some DJs own private jets. It is going to get to that level in this country.
Source – Punch