Don Jazzy (Michael Collins Ajereh), CEO, founder and resident producer of Mavin records is an enigmatic personality, was born on 26 November 1982, although not a solo recording artist himself, has quickly become one of the most gifted, futuristic and prominent showbiz celebrities in Africa. In less than three years of establishing Mavin records, the genius hit music producer who has been dubbed the undisputed king of beats has changed the way Nigerians listen to music with timeless hit tunes of various genres without replicating beats and has revolutionized the industry. He has been called Africa’s answer to Timbaland, another producer with flamboyant beats and a distinctive style. Forbes magazine listed him as the 36th most powerful celebrity in Africa.
Born 1982 in Umuahia, Abia state where his mother comes from and his father from Delta state Nigeria. The young Michael Collins’ family relocated to Lagos where he went through primary, secondary and high school. It was in secondary school that he first acquired the moniker, Don Jazzy. His dad had a background in music business entrepreneurship and was at the fore front of veterans who worked untiringly for the establishment of professional artiste management and corporate music business structures in Nigeria. Although Don Jazzy followed a conventional educational path, he very quickly developed a passion for music and started playing the drums before the age of 4. He went on to start experimenting with various instruments at a tender age, a trait that was to become the hallmark of his later career.
After his high school in 2000 with a business degree, Michael moved to the UK at the invitation of an uncle who wanted him to play the drums for his local church. Various odd jobs followed including working at McDonalds and as a security guard. Already imbued with an intimate knowledge of traditional and percussion instruments, Don Jazzy further built on his musical knowledge during his UK stint. Finding fellow kindred spirits in the likes of Solek, , Kaz, JJC and The 419 squad and D’Banj who was also a member of the group. The group would spend unrelenting hours practicing, recording and performing different types of music.
Jazzy’s appetite for a full time career in music could no longer be satiated when, in 2004, he partnered with D’Banj to set up the Mo’Hits label. Within two years, the prolific producer had wrapped up two albums (No Long Thing and Rundown/Funk You Up) with his former Mo’Hits partner and was working on a third, Curriculum Vitae. By this time, he had already started becoming a household name with the trademark intro – It’s Don Jazzy again!
In 2008 there were further production credits for the best selling album of that year, The Entertainer. Don Jazzy repeated the feat with Wande Coal’s Mushin 2 MoHits, an album that was described as one of the best albums to ever come out of Nigeria.
In 2011 his talents got him noticed by Kanye West who signed him up as a producer on his G.O.O.D music label. He did collaboration with Jay Z and Kanye West on the production of the song Lift Off featuring Beyonce on the album, Watch the Throne which was released on the 8th of August, 2011.
The producer also bagged multi-million naira endorsement deals from Multinationals such as MTN, Samsung and Loya Milk.
On the 15th of December, 2013, Don Jazzy was recognized and presented with the Flytime Entertainment Legend Award at the annual Rhythm unplugged Concert. Other awards include Nigerian Music Awards (NMA) 2006 Producer of the Year, Nigerian Entertainment Awards 2007 Music Producer of the Year, The HEADIES (2011) – Producer of the year, with a host of nominations for the World Music Award for World’s Best Video, World Music Award for World’s Best Song.
With over a 100 production tracks to his name, the understated genius has worked with a host of local and international celebrities. In spite of his whirlwind superstardom, Don Jazzy has never forgotten his humble beginnings and is very passionate about charitable causes.
By founding Mavin records in May 2012, the multiple award winning producer is looking to further raise the bar both domestically and internationally. With his aim of making Mavin records a production “power house of African music,” he has set up a highly professional structure of business hotshots as well as musical mavericks. Buoyed by his army of Twitter followers and fans all over the globe who hinge on his every word, the prodigious 32-year-old has carved a niche for himself in the pantheon of musical greats.
Michael Collins Ajereh Biography and Profile (Don Jazzy)