Don Jazzy's Dad
A QMarkMag Exclusive. It is no news that the romance between Collins Ifeanyi Onwuneme Ajereh Enebeli And Patience Enebeli produced Micheal Enebeli (popularly known as Don Jazzy), James Enebeli, Joy Solano (married to Solano), and D’Prince (oh, sorry I never asked for his real name). Little did Collins know that the foundation of today’s success has been carefully crafted and executed by him when he gave birth to these kids turned stars.
Collins Enebeli was involved in everything from the production and presentation of the artists he managed, promoted, marketed, and publicly defended. Collins is a trustee, and founding executive member of AMAN (Artist Managers Association in Nigeria). This association brought together artist managers from all corners of Nigeria. A diverse organization which heralded new talented, business savvy, and intellectually creative minds of those years. The organization harmonized all existing forms of music in the industry from the mid 1980′s to the late 1990′s. Beside his commitment to managing, producing, promoting, and marketing artists, Collins was also at the front-line of war against piracy. His contributions, although unnoticed by many, energized Nigerian artists to vigorously defend their professional rights. He was one of the patrons of Vanguard For Musicians Rights (VFMR).
Check Out Excerpts of the interview he had with Jimmy:
Sonde Jimmy: Tell me how your sons; Don Jazzy and D’Prince started their music career?
Their career was not a chance thing. What they are doing today did not start overnight. They grew up in the industry. I literarily took them along in my professional life. Once I identified their interest in music, and where I wanted to pitch my tent. I started grooming them to take over from me. I made sure they were exposed to the rudiments and challenges of the industry early in life. I encouraged their creative skills and vigor. They followed me to studios, events, rallies, workshops, concerts, TV stations, and I got them musical instruments and private trainers. I suggested that they join musical clubs and church choirs. I enrolled them in computer schools in both Nigeria and Europe because I recognized very early the future impact of technology, or the digital world. I made sure they read books from my showbiz library. I have books on
everything from artist management to biographies of successful artists-past or present. I made both
technological and intellectual resources available to my children. Whenever there was a family event like
a party, or any celebration; for example my wedding anniversary, I allowed my children to perform live
with a band to the delight of guests. They kept getting better and better, and I knew they would do
well with that kind of background. Besides, there were always showbiz stars around me and my home
at all times. At the slightest opportunity we had, they jammed with us just for fun. I had people like Nkono
Teles, Lemmy Jackson,Mosco Egbe, Toks Shotade and Paul Tao around me at the time. The bottom line was
for them to understand the biz behind the biz and to have the courage to keep taking the stakes higher
and higher because to whom much was given much is expected, and here we are..
Don Jazzy, & D'Prince
Jimmy: Were you in support of Don Jazzy’s music career at first?
I, myself and my wife are in total support of Don Jazzy’s music career from the on set and gave all the support we believed that as parents we are expected to provide.
Jimmy: Can you trace Don Jazzy’s achievements to any childhood trait or happening?
We knew from the time Don was born that he was going to be a music loving person and he had always
had access to good music from various world music genre considering that he was born into a music
loving family that have a long history of active paticipation in music business ventures and activism
from both my family side and my wife’s family side as well. My late dad was a bandleader in his youth
days when empire days used to be celebrated and he also played the grand organ in the cathedral of Holy
trinity church Onitsha in those days. My mum was a very good singer and was instrumental to making
me have collection of songs as she always had latest editions of record song books and knew all the songs
that were hits in both America and Uk and sang them all with ease as if she participated in the production. I grew up loving music with a strong passion. My wife on her own part is a good and very passionate singer with very strong interest in choral activities particularly in the church choir where we met and got married with Don as our first son. My wife’s father was also a well known choirmaster who was very famous in the eastern part of Nigeria for his exceptional choirmaster’s skills. At Don’s birth, there was so much music played around him that in his subconsciousness, he may have seen life as all about music and great beats. He started participating in the church choir at a very tender age and showed great interest in playing all musical instruments. I followed that up by providing all sorts of musical instruments at home and got music teachers intermittently to help sharpen their skills as it was more of a family fun thing but with a great expectation that the future will be definitely positive.
Jimmy: Tell me one thing you admire about Don Jazzy from childhood.
Don showed great sense of commitment to his interest in music and was and is still very creative, futuristic in his concepts and imagination. Once I noticed those attributes in him, I made sure I granted him access to meet with great musicians who I was working with then so that he could experience the studio culture and mingle with stars even before he was six years old. That was a source of additional inspiration for him to see those whom he appreciated working live in studio and he even participated in a production where he provided chorus and featured alongside other cast like Lemmy Jackson, NKono Teles, Paul Tao, ToKs Shotade, Basil Barap, Mosco Egbe, Enebeli Elebuwa e.t.c and many. other greats of that era who visited the studio while we were on call and appreciated his talent. People like Geraldo Pino,Tera Kota,Eric Kol Akaeze,Kim Lawani, Eddie Jay Omodiaogbe, Feladey, Hakeem Ikandu, Amadi Ogbonnaya of Vanguard News paper to mention but a few who at that time all saw him to be of a very promising future and hailed his talent.I admire Donjazzy’s cool headedness and humility coupled with his ever enthusiasm to move
on to the next level at all times. He is always coming up with something refreshingly different at
all times and not afraid to aim higher.
Jimmy: What was it like raising Don Jazzy? Has anything changed about him, I mean before and after he entered limelight?
Don Jazzy is not different from who he had always been. He is still the same person but stardom have made him less visible in public of which he was not really an outdoor person in the first place. Now that he have his own stable of artistes and his quest to make each of them unique in their own individual
right, he have become more busy considering the challenges of ensuring that he comes up with indisputably good beats and make his artistes successful.
Jimmy: Things Don Jazzy was fond of while growing up?
Don Jazzy’s main interest is his music. His first instrument was the harmonica mouth organ which he plays well . His mum bought him an acoustic guitar for his 9th birthday and he was always twanging it to relax and also plays the domestic grand casio beat bank piano we had at home. He plays the jazz drum well and is a champion percussionist. He also loves to sing in parts with his mum and have a rare vibrato voice. He also loves his mother’s cookery so much and always look forward to home food.
Jimmy: Let’s talk nature versus nurture. Is it that they just chose to be musicians, like what nature gave them, or you nurtured them since you were into music too?
I did not just nurture them into showbiz ’cause I was involved. I found out that they had passion for it and
were interested in following in my footsteps so I supported them as best as I could. I, on my part
did not just love music for music sake. My deep interest in music was more of the activism aspect to
ensure that music biz was not seen as just a biz for dregs of the society but should be seen as a real
responsible biz that must be engaged in by biz minded people and that was why, I threw my
weight behind efforts to ensure that there is proper structure and that rights of artistes are protected
against the backdrop of the infringement of their intellectual property rights.I am a patron of
Vanguard for musicians Rights. I consequently embarked on ensuring with other like minded
practitioners that proper professional artiste management culture thrives in Nigeria to better the
lot of Nigerian artistes who before now did not fully understand how commercially exploitable their work
can guarranttee food on their table. Most artistes who did not engage the services of competent artiste
managers unfortunately did not transform the wealth of their creativity or fame to wealth. I saw the need
for the biz behind the biz in the career of any artiste and that was why I am one of the trustees of artiste
managers association in Nigeria (AMAN) and had always been interested in the business of music and
related intermediary services. I know that my boys may have been influenced in one way or the other
by my activities and are well knowledgeable in these aspects and are not doing badly in engaging
the services of professionals in all they do in their career.
Jimmy: You had thought your Son, Don Jazzy could have gone this far?
As for my son coming this far as most people think, I thank God for the progress made but like Oliver
Twist wanting more, success have no limits. As far as there is life, We believe that by God’s grace that
there is still so much that could be achieved. With the kind of background that my boys have and their
know how in the biz, I am not surprised at their achievements and I keep praying like most parents
would do, for them to keep doing better and better. May God help them and other artistes too because it
is not easy to come this far and we do know that Rome was not built in a day.