Multi-talented Musician & Burgeoning Business Mogul Builds His Brand
Jah Bami, born Marvin Walters in Trinidad and Tobago, learned to play instruments at a young age-including the guitar, piano, drums and steel pan. His mastery of instruments earned him a musical scholarship to the University of the West Indies, which provided him a plethora of opportunities to take his career to the next level. Now he tours the world solo and as part of his deejay group, Suns of Dub. Furthermore, Jah Bami owns a record label, clothing line and brand of smoke wrapping papers. We spoke to Jah Bami about his many hats in the entertainment business. Interview After The Jump…
Angel Love: Hail Up King Jah Bami. Tell me about your moniker.
JahBami: Hail Empress. First it was “Bami Deli”–Nigerian for “Take Me Home.” I dropped the Deli part and then I added Jah because of my belief in Rastafari. All together it means, “Jah Take Me.”
Angel Love: How did you find your way to music Jah Bami?
Jah Bami: I was born to teenage parents, my mom was fifteen and my dad was seventeen. The way my dad made his money was as a deejay and I used to play under his set at gigs. I would listen to the music lyrics and sounds. My family also had a “Steel Pan” band and I always played with them but when I was 14, I began playing tenor pan competitively. After winning the Junior Panorama as the Team Captain at St. Augustine Comprehensive, I was awarded a scholarship to study music at the University of the West Indies. From there I played as part of a music pan group for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, before migrating to Queens, New York with my dad. My first collaboration was with soca artist Kurt Allen, a ragga soca tune called “Peppaseed” in 1991.
Angel Love: How was the transition for you when you migrated to the U.S. ?
Jah Bami: It was not too bad because I had traveled back and forth as a child. My first job was as a messenger at Rolling Stone magazine and then I landed a job with Viacom and Tempo Television. I started writing music for other artists and then I began to focus on my own songs.
Angel Love: Your sound is very unique in that your voice can go from a soft and sultry tone on “Unconditional Love” and “Life With A Purpose” to deep and raspy sounds on “Don’t Watch Me.” How do you do that?
Jah Bami: I actually see myself as an instrument kinda like an organ and so when I am thinking of a song. I am thinking of it from various notes and tones. It’s like an art form and I focus so much on musical integrity. I want to own this art in terms of originality, while at the same time keeping my lyrics and sound true to my experiences.
Angel Love: That’s respectable! Let’s talk about some of your music in detail. You have a huge musical catalog. Tell me about some of the works you are most proud of.
Jah Bami: I am really proud of “Soca on Dub” produced by WuDub, I really do my thing as a musician on that one.
Proud of Suns of Dub of course, my deejay group with Ras Jammy and Addis Pablo because we tour using music we produced ourselves.
I like the lyrics of “Unconditional Love” because they are relevant to the time – We need to focus less on differences in this world of hatred, racism and see one another as equal.
Angel Love: Let’s talk about your mixtapes
JahBami: My first mixtape is “Toppa Tings” and I just released my second one, “Suave.” That one is hardcore dubstep with lyrical fire. I was wilding on the vocals!
We took two weeks to make that, Bramma Shanti and I. Bramma Shanti is a dj and my manager, we have known and worked with each other for awhile.
Angel Love: Ok you’re an artist, member of the deejay group, Suns of Dub, a creator of mixtapes then you have a clothing line (Bami Gear and Gman Snapbacks) and marijuana paraphnilia products..did I miss anything?
Jah Bami: Well yeah – I also have a record label called Sebat Records and I am also into television production and hosting. I am working with Carib Vision on hosting the show called “Tropical Riddims,” a show with a weekly top 10 song countdown and 5-10 million viewers. Let’s just say “Jah Bami Papers” are doing really well.
Angel Love: The most wanted wrapping papers. What’s next for Jah Bami?
Jah Bami: In April going to the Bahamas, my best friend Joy Mendoza and I have a section called “Hysteria” for the “Euphoria” Band and then this summer I am on a European tour.
Angel Love: The multi-talented Jah Bami, I don’t know how you do it all but we salute you!
Jah Bami: Give tanks Angel, respect to Rob Kenner and the rest of the Boomshots family.
In 2017, Jah Bami continues to set himself apart as musician and vocalist by an exceptional understanding of various musical instruments from a technical stand point. Concurrently, he is embarking on brand expansion with Sebat Records, Bami Gear, Gman Snapbacks, Jah Bami Papers and television production, mixtapes, solo tours, tours with Suns of Dub and international collaborations.
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