Jimmy Amu, popularly known as, DJ Jimmy Jatt is a celebrated disc jockey. He has twice been crowned Africa’s Best deejay. In this chat with KAZEEM POPOOLA he spoke about his life, career and sundry matters. Excerpts:
What is the secret behind your success?
There is no secret; I think it is God’s grace and self determination. You understand the fact that people appreciate you for what you are doing and you always want to live up to the expectation.
If you have to look back, is there any moment you have cause to thank God?
I thank God for everything. I just look back at my mistakes and I move on but I would not want to pick on any particular time. Gone were the days when parents used to discourage their children or relations from identifying with deejays because they believe they are never-dowells.
Are you satisfied with your achievement as a DJ?
No. I still see myself as a rookie, trying to make things happen. I am trying to make disc jockey business as something that young people can look up to as a career and give hope to the up-coming deejays. I am just using myself as a sacrifice to open doors for lots of other deejays.
You started as a rapper and you created a platform for other rap acts with your debut album. When are you going to release your own songs?
I am not into music as an artiste any more. I would rather groom some other people to do that, I don’t want be mounting stage to perform. You need to find where your strength lies and stay there. I don’t want to be jack of all trades, I am a deejay and when I do album, I host artistes on the album. I don’t want to prove to anybody whether I can rap or not.
How would you compare the current style of disc jockeying to the old?
It is pretty much the same; it is just that music is evolving. The turn-table has always been there and still there it is just that technology has done much. You don’t have to carry crates of albums as we used to do in the olden days but right now I could just come with my Cerato box and my laptop, and do the show. It is now more convenient with the latest technology. The same technology has also affected the business negatively because right now a whole lot of people feel, it is so simple and they don’t even train themselves anymore, and they have been going around calling themselves deejays because they have access to the technology.
What makes a good DJ?
I can simply put a good DJ as someone that can actually read people that he is dealing with and has the skill to mix. It is annoying when they call radio presenters DJs and it is now so common. As a DJ, you have to acquire the skill of mixing; you need to know how to work on turn-tables and mixers and you should be able to satisfy at least 90 percent of your crowd.
As a frontline deejay when are you going to have proper industry?
I think what you mean is probably when we are going to have association of deejays. That to me is not a necessity, you can actually have a coalition of deejays, there are so many of them. But the problem right now is that we cannot even define who is a DJ in Nigeria, because everybody would like to have a party and always want the cheapest DJ to play for them, even if he is not a deejay, so far he can put two CD players in front of him. Until we are able to understand that, we can move on.
Most of the yet to be released songs of some artistes are being sold as compilation on CDs, and deejays have been fingered as the brain behind this fraud. What is your take?
I know nothing about it, I don’t mix songs on CD for people and like I said that technology has influenced lots of things and there are whole lots of people who are not deejays but they have access to software that can put music together. Most of the street mixes on sales are not DJs mixes, it is even done with software and merge together, but poorly done. Professional deejays are not guilty of that because more deejays are involved in promoting artistes music via air-plays, parties, clubs, and shows.
What makes a good music?
Good music is relative. It’s depends on what you need at a particular time. Good music at this time might sound like a bad song if it is played at a wrong time.
You’ve once told me several years ago that you have a dream of having your own radio station. Are you still living up to that dream?
Yes. That’s my dream anyway. I am hoping that if Nigeria would continue the way it is right now where government is more sensitive to people and understanding the need to give the right people opportunity to do things. I am planning to set-up a radio station where you can play music 24 hours. I just want to keep playing music on a large scale, probably clubs, and concert and radio stations. And I don’t want to be a radio station’s in-house DJ like others. The truth is that sometimes I looked at myself and I think I am bigger than most radio stations, because some of the stations are only huge around their neighbourhood, and the cities where they operate, nobody knows them beyond their states or cities. I am not a stranger in Kano, Sokoto, Yola, Calabar, and other states of the federation. So I can’t just limit myself to being a radio DJ.
Apart from acquiring the latest and most expensive turn-tables, it’s obvious that you are also a car freak, going by the numbers of expensive wonder-on-wheels in your garage?
I won’t say that I am a car freak I buy what is useful to me and I always look out for what I think suits my need at that particular time. Sometimes I don’t really like stuffs that are all over the place, which always kept me to select what I want.
Lastly is there any plan to pass these amazing skills, on the wheelof- steel to your children?
Why? Is it by force? My dad did not leave it for me. I will keep on deejaying until I can’t go on. If my children want to be DJ’s, it’s well. It is not by force because I am a DJ. My daddy was an importer of electronics and now I am not importing.