Listen for the sound of an R&B / hip-hop flow floating over an electronic bed, bouncing with an Afro / Caribbean rhythm, and you’ll find Jāmin (pronounced jaymin) at the fader. A DJ who produces, writes, and sings, Jāmin has made a career making music without borders, working independently, connecting musicians, and collaborating with artists across genres and cultures. Now, he is releasing songs that bring artists and styles together from the U.S., U.K., Jamaica, India, Sri Lanka, and Mexico. His tracks simultaneously move the body and speak to issues plaguing our souls and our times, calling for light, leadership, community, unity and beauty. A strong current of personal responsibility while he creates sonic space to contemplate vulnerability, sacrifice, loss, and pain, and to honor human dynamics. The pulse is rooted in his perspective as a DJ – move the body. Engineered to his own eclectic beat, it’s a debut years in the making, but inevitable in its coming.
Raised on a Pennsylvania farm where music mingled with activism and lessons of nature, Jāmin made the connection between art and community from his youth. His father, an artist, drummed in Rock and Jazz bands. His sisters, vocal about environmental policy and criminal justice reform, sang and danced around the house. His mother, a passionate women’s rights volunteer leader for Planned Parenthood and other influential organizations, played piano and introduced Jāmin to the kalimba thumb piano, djembe drum, and other instruments from Burkina Faso, where she served in the Peace Corps. The turntables became Jāmin’s mode of expression.
At 12, what started with a tutorial by the DJ for the ‘90s band Luscious Jackson (Capitol Records/Grand Royal), grew into an obsession as he honed his skills deejaying local parties and making songs using three turntables to loop pieces of records. At 18, Jāmin released his first song “Fuck Giuliani,” a social justice record in response to then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s police-state approach to reducing crime. The track was co-produced by Johnny Temple, the bassist for Girls Against Boys (Geffen Records). Temple, who became a mentor, invited him on tour.
After more than a year crisscrossing the U.S. and Europe, Jāmin went on to build his professional profile. He gained acceptance at NYU’s Steinhardt School—a first for a DJ who couldn’t read or write music. He opened Brooklyn music studio Ishlab so artists like A$AP Rocky, Skrillex, Roberta Flack, Marc E. Bassy, French Montana, Jet, Jadakiss, 9th Wonder, and M.I.A. could record with a deep vibe while gentrification was making cost- effective studios obsolete. Through the studio, he offered licensing services, placing music on television shows for networks including CBS, Oxygen, and MTV. He also deejayed parties for celebs including Tom Cruise, Anna Wintour, and Daniel Craig, and kept well-heeled guests dancing at fêtes for Chanel and other brands.
In 2008, Jāmin founded Project Rhythm, a non-profit that trains educators to help underserved youth to develop valuable life skills through the production of their own original songs. Project Rhythm changes young lives, one beat at a time, The organization works with schools, community centers, juvenile detention centers, drug rehabilitation centers, summer camps and other community based organizations.Over 2,000 kids have benefited from the program in NYC, Los Angeles, Connecticut, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Peru. ProjectRhythm.org.
Jāmin has spoken on panels at Harvard, NYU and the Global Nexus. He was a student mentor at the NY General Assembly technology school and startup incubator. He is an advisor for studentdream.org, a nonprofit that helps students of color build businesses. He holds a pending patent for music curation technology.
With his music, Jāmin aims to get people moving—whether to shake off the day or their troubles—creating bonds, sparking light, and spreading love without bounds.