Young Jonn tells us why he switched to singing, dishes on his relationship with Olamide and provides all the details about his debut project Love Is Not Enough.
For years, Young Jonn crafted several of the ear-gripping tracks that dominated music-consuming hubs across Nigeria. His potent beats, manufactured and readymade for Olamide, saw the Nigerian star rapper unleash neck craning flows over them, painting real life scenes. The two became an errorless combo, making tracks certain to transform into monster hits. Young Jonn’s production handiwork includes the snappy drums and twinkling synths of Lil Kesh’s “Gbese,” the booming percussion of Olamide’s “Science Student” and the blend of muffled drums and keyboard drones on Olamide’s behemoth hit, “Wo.”
But in the last two years, Young Jonn’s production credits slowed as he focused on honing a different part of his artistry: singing. The evolution was complete this year as the sonic polymath unveiled his debut project, Love Is Not Enough. At just five tracks and less than 15 minutes in length, the record is skinny, but it provides Young Jonn ample time to brood about his own delicate feelings. All five tracks share the same sonic fingerprint of chilly vocals, sticky hooks and melodic, gummy beats. “Dada” shines as a favorite, with Young Jonn lacing the track with calmly measured verses, and the chanting hook, the highlight of the song.
Love Is Not Enough in all its dimension is filled and padded with layers of expressions about how doubtful love can be, how much we want to relive those blissful memories and about how attached we can be to someone. Young Jonn seems to have gone round those stages and becomes vulnerable in his songs, his creations revolving around these relatable experiences.
Image courtesy of Young Jonn.
How did your journey into the music industry begin?
My music journey started way way back as a kid. The typical story is I grew up in a church environment. My dad, a pastor. My mum, also a pastor. So I basically grew up in a church playing both the drums and the keyboard in church. That was my entry into music. I formed a group with my brothers, we used to rap, sing and I used to want to make beats for them and record them. That was the major reason why I started using Fruity Loopsso I could make my own beats. Then somehow somehow I started it and it made sense and then I ended up in Lagos.
Many people's first point of contact with you was through Olamide. Those beats then were very crazy, easily turning into viral hits. How did that relationship even begin?
When I got to Lagos, I started working at Hit Factory studios, where Olamide was recording his album then, the YBNL album that had the song, "First Of All." Pheelz always used to work in that studio. I always used to be around when they were recording, just in the corner somewhere, observing. Gradually overtime, Baddo got to hear some of my beats and we started working. Songs we worked on never really made it to any of his projects until one day he invited me over to his place. He just called me out of the blue, saying I should come over to the house with my laptop and all of that. Then we recorded some songs, but still it didn’t really strike any of us like that. I reminded him I had sent him the beat for "Story for the Gods" some weeks before and we recorded it. Then some days after that, he informed me he was about to drop the song and that was it. From there, we started working closely.
Let’s go deep into your new EP. One question people will like to know is how did you make that change to singing?
It was a gradual process, it wasn’t like it was a decision per se. I just found myself spending more time in the studio recording songs and I think I was at that point where I was ready to show that side of me. So I started putting out music and you know, here we are.
The title is Love Is Not Enough. Was it that someone broke your heart?
Basically at the time, I never knew that would be the title of the EP, I just kept recording and recording. And unexpectedly all the songs fit in that description. But to be honest, nobody broke my heart. That was where I was mentally in my head. And when I say love, it's not just like romantic love. Love in all sense of love.
I also noticed some of the songs on the EP were not even produced by you. How did the creation of the EP start?
Funny enough I never knew I was in project mode. Then I signed with Chocolate City and just kept recording. Then we decided, okay we’re going to put out an EP. Because initially I thought it was going to be a single ("Dada").
What exactly is "Dada" about?
"Dada" is a love story. But If you listen deeper, It’s a love story with a sad ending. It’s not like all of those songs with happy endings. It’s you craving for something that’s out of your reach, that’s what "Dada" is. It’s you crazing for love that’s out of reach but at the same time knowing that’s the only person that can satisfy you, but she’s nowhere to be found.
Image courtesy of Young Jonn.
You had other producers on this project. How was it working with Magicsticks and Niphkeys?
Funny enough, I enjoy working with other producers, contrary to what people think. Speaking for myself, I enjoy working with other creatives. I enjoy seeing other directions, seeing other perspectives. That’s just it. It was enlightening working with extra hands on the project. And they all went hard on it.
The "Dada" remix with Davido was quite surprising, listeners were not anticipating that at all. How did you pull it off?
It just happened. When we dropped "Dada," we never had the mind that there was going to be a remix for the song. But the song kept doing what it was doing, climbing charts and all of that. And, somehow, Davido loved the song, we got talking and then a remix came into the conversation and then it happened.
On a typical day when you wake up, what’s the first thing you do?
The first thing I do is I thank God for life and for blessings. Then I go to the studio. I try to vibe. If I have some work to do in the studio, I do it. Hang with the gang, hang with the guys. My life is basically just the studio and vibes.
You don’t have a girlfriend?
Nah I don’t have a girlfriend.
Why? Love is enough na.
You no dey hear say love is not enough. I mean I’m single, I’m single. Nobody knows what tomorrow holds. But right now, I’m not in that mental space to be able to commit to someone.
First CD you bought?
I don’t know but I know back in the day I used to listen to a lot of music. When I was in primary school, one of my uncles used to stay with us. He loved music. I always used to follow him to the store to buy all these vinyl. Nas dropped a new album. We had his new album, Omarion, Chris Brown, Michael Jackson. Everything basically, everything.
What’s your dream collaboration?
Honestly I have a lot of dream collaborations, that’s my problem. I mean I would love to have a song with Kanye West, Eminem, Jay Z, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles and Rihanna.
What song do you have on repeat right now?
What’s your favorite song ever?
Michael Jackson, "You Are Not Alone."
What’s one bad habit that you feel like you need to stop?
Nah I can’t tell you that one. Basically though, thinking about something I want to start doing, I’m trying to like to spend more time with my family these days. That’s what I’m trying to work on.