The Nigerian music industry is jam-packed with variety of talents. Some are at their peak of their quest for stardom, and others are tirelessly coordinating the strings of nature in earnest anticipation of their big break.
Jim Donnett has broken that threshold, having started an as entertainment writer and later delved into music. He already has a debut single entitled Him with a trending video that was just released. In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, Jim opened up on his music ambition while sharing on other prospects in and outside music…
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Jim Donnett, born in Lagos but from South Eastern region of Nigeria. I’m an engineer, vocalist and writer. I’m super stoked about anything creative arts especially in the audio and visual division of the entertainment industry. I’m a junk foodie and I really don’t like going out because I’m very shy. Although most times people think that’s a lie.
Engineer? How do we say you went from that to this?
I graduated from college in 2012, with a B.Eng in Civil Engineering. But you know, passion will always trump profession. And I’m happy I didn’t have to waste years behind a desk, clad in white collar shirts or on some construction site decked in overall before realizing that living my dream was above every other thing.
How would you describe your style of music?
It’s majorly RnB with a little bit of soul, and of course, the elemental influences from afro, pop and reggae.
What inspired the transition from writing music to doing music?
I wouldn’t exactly call it a transition. I’d prefer to say that I opened myself up to a new and fun challenge as it came. I mean, I’ve always been in music. I started at the children’s choir and have been at it for roughly 15 years. My stint with writing was actually inspired by my dad. He’s an engineer too, practicing one, and he could write for the world. He wrote a lot. So, while growing up, l had to do much of typesetting jobs for him and whenever I read these texts he wrote, I just found myself in total awe of his pen skill; how he used certain words, juxtaposing words in sentences and applied literary devices to them. So, I tasked myself by trying my hands at it too.
Speaking of your dad, how did your parents react to your resolve to do music?
I have the kind of parents who are a little too interested in the well-being and growth of their children, even down to things like personal skill and talents, which were perceived as incoherent in the days of old. My mom who helped me with wisdom tactics to sell the idea to my dad. His principled nature made me quite unsure how he would welcome my decision. But they have been incredulously supportive.
What has the reception of your debut single been?
Overwhelmingly massive! Like a debut single and the kind of love I’ve gotten from the media and fans, I almost cannot comprehend. There are people from Calabar, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Abuja, Lagos and Benin talking to me about the uniqueness of the song. And it’s even spreading to Ghana, Kenya, Cameroun, Turkey and Leeds. I literally can’t express in words what it feels like to have trickles of fans in such places but what I know is that I’m plenty stoked by it, and it’s kept me going on. I’ve already shot the video, and my team just released BTS footage from the shoot. So everyone should expect the official video premiere in a couple days.
Which musicians inspire you?
There are so many of them really. But I’ll just leave it at the very basic like Lucky Dube and Kim Burrell.
Do you plan to leave writing for music at one point?
Would the fact that you are doing music yourself have any impact on the way you criticize other people’s music now?
I’m becoming a part of the same industry where I’ve axed down the propaganda of some musicians. Not that I’m now apologetic over my relayed thoughts, no, they remain valid, but I’m smart enough to know that I going to act Roman if I live in Rome. It’s basically about applying wisdom now.
Are you signed to any label?
What are your thoughts about the present artiste-label structure in Nigeria?
Truth be told, it is a hot mess right now. Most of these guys have signed their productive years into deals that hardly offer any self-development in career benefits. And this is because some of them only aspire to be famous. That’s all they want. They do not care about wanting to make a difference. It is their misplaced priority for stardom that often lands them in creative slavery.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’m not omniscient, right? What I can tell you is that I’ll definitely be more steps closer to my destiny fulfillment. I might have been signed to Sony Music or perhaps still exuding my rights as a self-established artiste. I also hope the EP and debut album should have been out by then, possibly, with a feature from Tiwa Savage or Seyi Shay (both of whom I’m crazily in love with by the way). I most definitely will be living a better life and my team will be way up and feeling blessed!