It is not every day that you see a 10-year-old Standard Six primary school student lays bare his dream and wish to become a musician.
While most of his peers were busy trying out new football skills on the dusty and rugged pitches as most youths do in their formative years, local dancehall artist Jay Jay Cee, real name James Juma Chitsonga, was already picturing himself as a musician.
The strides that local dancehall bigshots Vic Marley and Anne Matumbi made at the time caught the admiration of the young Jay Jay Cee inspired him to be like them one day.
He was so daring that at 12, Jay Jay Cee recorded his first single Sister Jessie in 2008 in Karonga where he grew up and did his primary school. That formed part of his first steps into a music career which according to the artist, is still growing.
“When I was at Nkhata Bay Secondary School, I got exposed to more kinds of music. But, still, dancehall music remained the genre close to my heart,” he says.
As determined as he was with his dreams, Jay Jay Cee joined up with renowned local dancehall group Mabilinganya Empire in 2013. He said the move exposed him to a greater audience. He then dropped his first solo compilation Kupanga Dzina which had hits such as Iwe Maliro.
Buoyed by the success of his initial compilation, Jay Jay Cee dropped his first album Dzina Langa in 2016 which firmly introduced him to the local music world with hits such as Mama and Jangiriya scaling up the local radio and TV charts.
Later that year, his musical efforts were rewarded when he won the Urban Music People (UMP) artist of the year award. The same year he also received a nomination for best dancehall artist and best dancehall collaboration for his song Jangiriya.
In 2018, the artist was nominated for best dancehall artist in the Nyasa Music awards and best collaboration for the song Friends which he did with Saint.
The Blantyre-based singer says: “It has been a long journey. However, there is a long way to go. I want to represent Malawi at a bigger stage. Beyond Africa”
The artist has revealed that he is country working on his second album which is likely to come out in July and currently in the refinery going through the hands of a number of producers such as Gafar, B.O.G, Dpecial D, Taff Beats and DJ Sley.
“My music remains dancehall but I am trying to fuse it with other types of music to make it more acceptable locally,” he says.
Locally, the artist says he admires fellow dancehall artist, Chidodo hit maker Nesnes: “He is a complete artist who inspires me every time I listen to his work.”
One of the producers who has worked with Jay Jay Cee for a while, B.O.G, says the artist’s relentless pursuit to make it big one day is something that a lot of local musicians need to learn from if they have to succeed in the music industry.
“The zeal he shows every day, his dedication towards his projects and his belief in his ideas is amazing.
“It is in him, everything he does shows he was meant to be an artist. Despite his rising prominence he has remained humble with his eyes fixed on his ultimate goal,” he says. n