Author: Joycelynn Okezie
For those out there who aren’t familiar can you tell them who Jahaan Sweet is?
Ayeeee, Ahhh…I’m just a Music Director, Producer, Pianist, Songwriter, Creative. What ever you wanna call me. Dealing with music making. You can probably just say that. Composer. I don’t know. I don’t really have too many titles, I guess.
How long have you been creating music and producing?
Well I started playing piano when I was like 6 and I hated it originally. My parents made me stay in it because my piano teacher told my parents, She said “You have to keep him in, he’s really good.” She was putting me in all these state-wide and regional-wide competitions, and I was winning 1st place, but I hated piano It wasn’t until I got like 11 and introduced to Jazz. When I really learned, what it meant to be a creative individual and have creative freedom because in jazz you get to take an idea and develop it however you want to, as long as you understand the rules of development. You feel me? So its like I was playing this classical music all my life, like playing these Beethoven pieces, and these small Chopin pieces and I hated it because I couldn’t express it the way I wanted to express it. My teacher always said, you have to play what’s on the page. Finally I got to Jazz and my teacher told me, “Man you don’t have to play exactly what’s on the page, you kind of have to feel for what it’s already supposed to be.” …because I was playing at church at the time. So he was like “You already have a feel for what it’s supposed to be man, just kind of like “play around with the idea of it” and I was like whoaaa! and that blew my mind and from that point on that’s when I fell in love with music.
There are a lot of up and coming producers out here, who are really creating their own style and standing out in order to be innovative. So what would you describe your production style as?
I’m not sure yet. I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out myself. I rather somebody else tell you that answer because I’m not really too sure. I’m really hard on myself on trying to figure out; Ok, what do I make best? What sounds the best? I feel like I’ve figured it out sometimes but other times I’m like you know that’s not really what I’m hearing or that’s not where I think I create the best music. This is not how I create the best music or this sound is not the best sound, but you know I’m still trying to figure it out. So you would have to ask somebody else that.
I first discovered your production last summer when I was listening to Marc E. Bassy and the Kehlani joint called “Lock It Up” and then I heard you again bro on “Get Away” on the “Cloud 19″ mixtape. How did you start working with those two artists?
Well I started working with Kehlani because at the time when she was working with Nick Cannon, he sent her over to a studio I was working at in New York and so that’s how we initially linked. Truthfully, “Lock it Up” we were gonna put it on “Cloud 19″ but at the time, Kehlani’s management team was like nah, nah you can’t put it out. So she just gave it to Marc and Marc put it on his project and we released it that way because you know, “Lock It Up’ came out before “Get Away” and really “Lock It Up” was the second thing we ever did together, Get Away was the first thing we ever did.
Not a lot of musicians right now in the game, actually like producers, who have studied and graduated from a school like Julliard, so that’s pretty dope, First of all I just want to say Congratulations about that.
Thanks, I appreciate it, it’s crazy I’m not going back to school this Fall.
Right? I just graduated too in May and it’s just like damn…I’m really done?
Yeah, right. it’s crazy like it’s starting to hit me because now I normally would be getting ready to go back to New York to start school and now I’m just like chilling in LA, making music. Doing what I’m supposed to do.
Doing what you were destined to do, huh?
Aw man, Thanks!
What was your major at Julliard?
My major was Jazz studies. I was a Jazz studies major. Studying the great American songbook writers and the great great Jazz Musicians at the time ranging from Jelly Roll to Gerald Clayton, all these different people like you know. Wide wide range of music history and people.
Do you feel like your music education gives you more of an edge as a producer verses self-taught producers?
Um, yeah and no because sometimes like I have too many musical ideas and I try to take things too many different directions or I’ll try to do too many things because I’m hearing so much different stuff and sometimes that’s not always great…but what I’m trying to learn now is to get all my ideas down and then learn how to subtract the un-important things. i think it helps in certain aspects and in other aspects it hurts.
It’s like too much knowledge for one thing, huh?
So you were recently on theYou Should Be Here Tour, how was that experience for you?
It was amazing like to be there and see how the records that we created affect all of her fans and people in the audience. It’s amazing, some of the records that weren’t necessarily my favorite, are some of the fan favorites, and some of the records that might’ve been like ”Oh I really really like this one” didn’t translate as well as some of the ones I didn’t like. But you know it’s a learning process. It was great for me to go and see on the road because I’m like “okay cool” I see what people like for me specifically because I made a lot of the tracks. Ok, I see which ones cause everyone to react crazy, and it’s like “okay cool” I need to focus on this sound for the next album. or try to develop this more for the next album.
Which songs did you produce off the new album?
On You Should Be Here I did “How That Taste”, “Jealous”, The Way, Runnin, Down For You, and “N*ggas”
Jahaan Sweet and David Camarena.
So for those out there who don’t know. Who is all apart of the TSUMANI MOB?
Ranges of people. We’re really like the tsunami mob troop lead, where as now it’s the fans. What Kehlanilikes to call the people behind the scenes and the people that work its just “TSUNAMI MOB” and so people that’s in the brand are you know people that perform with her, people behind the scenes, the stylist, Danny and Debbie. Her manager David. Her creative director Stix, our video director.
It’s like a big family.
Yeah it’s like a whole family, all of us behind the scenes try to work together to make stuff grow and glow like that’s really who Tsunami is.
So who are some artists you look forward to working with soon?
Truthfully Ty Dolla $ign, me and him been going back and forth about sharing some ideas about some stuff and we gonna get in soon as he gets done on the road and gets back to L.A. Im really looking forward to that right now. I still work with the producer Vinylz, me and him have some great stuff. he’s really great producer, if you haven’t heard of him, check him out. He work’s a lot with Drake. I’m excited to work with anybody who’s excited to work with us or me. of course all the big names if we ever get there. but Everybody.
Jahaan’s work space.
I seen by following you on social media that you’re really influenced by Kanye West. Is he one of your major influences?
My top 5 would probably have to be Quincy Jones, Kanye West, Pharrell, Timbaland and 40. Kanye West right after Quincy Jones is one of the most influential producers to me, for me. I draw a lot of inspiration from things that he’s done. Definitely.
Quincy Jones is really influential in industry.
For sure, knowing that he kind of came from the same background as me, being a Jazz Musician. learning how to do that, then taking what he learned from Jazz to do other genres of music is everything I aspire to do. That’s what I want to do for music, is literally what he did. Just in this millennium.
I feel like for the young people like us, like I think we’re about the same age 22-23, the hip-hop we grew up on and what it’s transitioning to now, I think people like Kendrick Lamar and Chance The Rapper are bringing Jazz back into hip-hop. I really thing it’s dope that producers like you who specialize in Jazz have that chance to really play with it and actually with that music knowledge bring it back into the game in different ways.
Right, I think it’s cool to integrate the two. I don’t really integrate Jazz with R&B or Jazz with hip-hop. I feel like Jazz has it’s place.You know? And I do believe Jazz has an influence on Hip-Hop for sure. In this day and age, I don’t focus on integrating the two, I just try to use tactics, I learned from being a Jazz musician, I try to use somewhat of a strategy. Like the way I maybe like move a couple cords, or the voices I might use for a couple tracks or maybe some of the originals I used, I might draw inspiration from that but I try not to fuse the two. I feel like they both have their own place. Now saying any disrespect to anyone that does do it, it’s great if you do it. I just don’t do it myself.
Have you worked with Terrace Martin?
Nah, I never worked with him. He’s a great producer as well. Really got a lot of respect for him. He’s been in the game for a minute too.
Tell the people what’s next for Jahaan Sweet?
Right now just focusing on this next album for Kehlani and just trying to create the best music I could possibly make for everybody out there listening.
That’s real and where can the people connect with you online?
Instagram: jahaansweet Twitter: @jahaansweet
Jahaan Sweet, Kehlani Parrish, and David Ali at 58th Grammy Awards.
Jahaan Sweet and mother at 58th Grammy Awards.