A decision to quit singing in 2016 has ensured that fans get less Don Jazzy than they deserve. Does Nigerian music miss him?

Last year Don Jazzy promised Nigerians that he would effectively stop singing. The Mavin boss had spent a huge part 2015 being drawn away from his first calling as a producer and record label executive to the mic. His voice littered numerous songs with A-list acts, as he progressed from taking hooks and adlibs to executing verses.

Songs such as ‘Gift’ by Iyanya, ‘I concur’, ‘Jantamanta’, ‘Bestie’ and more, had the Don sprinkle stardust all over the singles, exceptionally converting them into hit songs. Those singles, were nothing without the talent of Don Jazzy and the influence that he wields throughout the industry.

But he has chosen to step away from the mic, and that decision, which was personal, was influenced by a desire to rest, step back from the active scene in front of the camera, and retreat to pulling the strings from behind, and social media.

This ended a long list of cameos, which historically speaking has been the source of joy for many music enthusiasts. From the era of Mo’Hits’ dominance to the transition of Mavin Records, Don Jazzy has appeared in the music vocally. Adlibs and supporting vocals had earlier been his limited role, but each year has brought more boldness and a willingness to step forward to the plate.

2013, 2014 and 2015 marked the trifecta of years where he began to be accepted and widely celebrated for his musical ability. To be objective, Don Jazzy lacks a ‘good’ voice. He doesn’t possess what conventional knowledge will call ‘a voice that the heavens can be proud of.’ What he however has, is a signature vocal texture that no one can lay claim to or imitate. It is commercial, appealing, and has the uncanny ability to blend with every, and any voice. That’s why it is special.

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Nigeria no longer has that voice gracing new music. All of the projects coming from the Mavin house have failed to feature any line that bears Jazzy’s voice. Only the songs recorded prior to his decision to quit singing have been released.

What have been the result of this decision?

Many observers and critics will argue that a man of Don Jazzy’s level and respect does not need to throw himself actively into singing as it demystifies his brand and cheapens his value. But that argument is flawed.

Look at the age we live in; we are embracing abundance, and multi-tasking by celebrities and public figures is a very important part of the hustle. The more anyone is engaged in, the better the chances of relevance. Staying in the shadows gives you aura and respect, but those two qualities have never brought business to anyone in this age where social media has left fans clamoring for more. Everything is knowledge, and that can be commoditized, regulated, structured and monetized for profit.

Look at Don Jazzy’s social media activities. The most important thing Don Jazzy has done for himself to direct his focus to micro-content. We’re talking about digital strategies driven by shareable, authentic content. That’s how you Don Jazzy has grown his audience online. He has directed the dialogue surrounding himself, but without sacrificing authenticity. From photos of the studio, to him eulogizing a fictitious love interest called ‘Onome’ , while also batting his lashes in the direction of Rihanna , he has kept the conversations around himself fresh and personal.

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Why do that and make gains in the PR department, but limit the artistic contribution? It doesn’t add up. Don Jazzy gained the MTN and Johnny Walker deal as his celebrity reached its engagement peak in 2015. That’s good business. He became celebrated for his vocal contribution, that’s good business.

But a decision to quit singing in 2016 has ensured that fans get less Don Jazzy than they deserve. Does Nigerian music miss him? Yes. He needs to come back to the mic, and get that voice across to his adoring fans.