Jiggy Forever - Letter to my Younger Self

by TurnTable Charts

Jun 28, 2024, 3:17:36 PM

Dear Younger John,

As I sit down to pen this letter, I find myself reflecting on the journey that has brought me from the confines of our home in Ibadan and Oyo to the bustling heart of Lagos and now the world. I want to share with you the story of our life, the experiences that shaped us, and the lessons we learned along the way.

The first thing you should know is how proud of you I am. You should know that despite your shyness, music became your outlet, a way to express yourself that words couldn't. You just dropped your debut album, the reception has been massive. Who would have thought that the stay-inside kid could be on tour?

Though your roots are in Akwa Ibom through your Dad, you grew up in Ibadan and shuffled between Ibadan (Oyo) and Osogbo (Osun) because Dad was a pastor and mum had a school in Ibadan. You won’t really notice the difference between both states as they were 2/3 hours apart and you were always indoors, playing video games, music, and the drums. Little did we know that these mundane activities would nurture a passion.

Daddy is a pastor, which means you will attend church every day, sometimes you will have to go to church straight from school. I know it sounds like stress, but trust me it is far from it, you will love it, this is where your production talent was forged. The church allowed you to play the drums before church service and the keyboards after service.

You’ve always loved music. Dad said you were barely two or three when you were beating the drums to make all manner of sounds. By the time you turned five, you were with the keyboardist and drummer at church watching them play, in awe of them. In your heart, you knew this was your calling. This exposure to music at church not only nurtured your talent but also sparked the idea for a music group called Avanger, consisting of you, your brothers, and your cousin, and yes, you didn’t come up with the name, your brother did. He's an Efiko (brilliant with books), he will end up studying statistics.

Avangar was a rap group. We rapped over other artists' beats, but you and your brothers will get tired of rapping over covers and would search for original beats. This will make you challenge yourself to open your laptop, download fruity loops and start figuring it out.

Growing up close with your brothers means constant adventures, music, video games and rough play. One time, you almost poked out your brother's eye ****with a pole. 

He's fine, don't worry. We just finished watching a kung fu movie and we wanted to recreate it. The whole time eyes were bleeding, we were panicking, you will never forget that day.

Though you were shy, you found ways to shine in secondary school, participating as a drummer during school assembly, playing basketball, football during breaks, school match fixtures and competitions and you were also in a music dance group.

You tell the family about your desire to be a footballer. Our Dad is very proactive, and supportive in every step. Though your heart belonged to football initially, you find your way back to music, Dad being a pastor will make pursuing music a complex matter. Everyone will remind you that “Dad is a pastor…remember where you are coming from”, Dad’s friends will whisper to his ears saying “No, your children cannot be doing music..” but our dad accepts my decision and gives his support.

You and your brothers will spend time at the studio in Ibadan, and will become friends with Unique. Everyone calls him Unique, the owner of the clothing store next to the studio. He loves you and your brothers.

You and your brothers will gain admission into the University of Ibadan, your cousin will move to Ghana for his education but for some reason you will miss your clearance date and will be unable to resume classes with your brother.

Unique will reach out to you about going to Lagos, he has a brother who you'll find was just a friend, has a studio in Lagos called Heat Factory and is in need of a producer. Unique believes you will be a good fit.

Leaving your family for Lagos was a daunting decision, you are very close to mum but with Unique's invitation, you took a chance and told mum you are coming back. Days later, you and Unique leave for Lagos, he will introduce you to the studio owner, who will grow fond of you. You will work, sleep and eat at Factory Studio.

You'll work with several artists, but collaborating with Olamide becomes a turning point. Olamide comes to Factory Studio to  record his YBNL album. You will watch, learn from them and develop a rapport with him.

As the months turned into years, pressure mounted from home to return and finish school. You'd assure everyone, “I will be back, I’m coming back” but you can’t go back, you do not want to go back home empty handed.

You will work harder than you’ve ever had, you will reach out to everyone via social media, get artists, managers and send beats to them waiting for something but not a single response.

The turning point finally arrived with Olamide coming to the studio to record and he invites you to his house the following day to finish the production. You visit his place and upon finishing the record, he asks you if you have any other beats for him. You remind him you sent him a beat some days ago, you play the beat for him. He will say “Oh nice” and record the hook right there.

He tells you to stay over so you two can finish the song, he drops the song the same week, “Story for the Gods” is an instant hit.

Things will start to look up,  you are happy. One day you and your friends will be at the studio bonding and one of your friends, Bokwala will hear one of your beats and say to you “by now, dem suppose call you Young John the Wicked Producer… this is Wicked.”

Bokwala is very playful, he will always hype you up, he will tease the production tag and as luck will have it, a friend who used to work at Cool FM will stop by the studio and oblige to do a voice over. The reaction from everyone in the studio will make you consider using it as your production tag.

Now, everyone knows your name, from beating the drums at church in Ibadan to hearing your name on the biggest record, you are making the family proud.

While you are behind the production for some of the biggest records in the country, you will still nurture your love for music, you keep recording and compiling a catalogue on your laptop but they don’t see the light of the day till 2017.

You will get the news. 'Mum is gone,' we lost her to breast cancer. The news of Mom's passing will hit you hard. Music, your lifelong companion, will become your refuge. Your friends will encourage you to make music and release it for yourself. You will release a record and do not think much of it.

By 2020, you will slowly introduce the artistry part to your personality with the single “In Case”, you will keep making music because you love music, you are not searching for a hit record, you enjoy making music, you will call it “Jiggy” because it is cool and it describes you.

Embracing your artistry fully, you sign with Chocolate City and release your first single, “Dada”, which will take a lot of effort and planning. Niphkeys will help co-produce the record, you are going to be curious, you do not know what the reaction will be, but do not overthink it, the song will climb the chart, you will smile, this will make you more confident.

You will release two EPs in one year, Jonn; the second EP has a Davido feature. From producing and recording his vocals to featuring him on your song. The song climbs higher on the chart and you are motivated. 

You are no longer “Young John, the wicked producer”, you are “Young Jonn” and your tag? “Jiggy!”

You are booked and busy; always on the road, you travel with your studio gear and keep recording, you will be inspired by different cities, situations and emotions.

One of the emotions will make you record a song you are not keen on sharing, you will title it “Stronger”. This song is for our mummy, we miss her. You will record some more records and put finishing touches on them. Eventually, they will end up on your debut album “Jiggy Forever”.

Congratulations Jonn, We have an album and people love it. You will get a long call from Daddy, he is going to see the "Big Big Things" video. I will let you find out what he said lol.

You are currently on tour promoting “Jiggy Forever”, the work doesn’t stop.

Listen John, I have two pieces of advice for you.

One, follow your path, follow your dreams, if your heart tells you, it's right to do, do it. If your mind tells you, ‘don't’ do not do it. Listen to your inner voice, that's the advice you should pay attention to.

The second thing, Don't stop working, you have to keep working, regardless of anything, or how it feels, or what is weighing you down, whatever it is. Keep working because that's the only thing that can save you, the work of your hands.

With Love

You (From the Future)

Want updates straight into your Inbox?

Enter your name and email to get the latest news from the TurnTable team, and in-depth knowledge into music and the numbers behind them.