Mz J4zzie : I am inspired by Nicki Minaj

Jasmine Remi – Ilori is known with the sobriquet Mz J4zzie with her fans. The Lawyer turned Afro rapper and entrepreneur is based in the United Kingdom. In this interview with Atanda Sheriff, she opens up on her inspiration, memorable moments, journey into the music industry and more.

mz-j4zzie-i-am-inspired-by-nicki-minaj

Tell us about your experience as a rapper? And how did you got into music

I started rapping a long time ago, that was as soon as I completed my LLB (Hons) Law Degree. I must say that I have had the passion for music since I was a child. I used to perform in front of my mum and write music with my mum as a child. But, I never really knew when I would go into music, I just knew I had to accomplish one of my goals which was to get a  degree in Law.

I actually started my career in music with a group called No Limit in Manchester. This was a group of four members and I was proud to be part of the group. The aim of the group was to release a single and we recorded songs and made a few connections that were memorable. However, because of disagreements in the group I decided to go solo and that was how I started a career with rap.

Mz J4zzie
Mz J4zzie

I dropped a remix on the Jhus friendly song and from then I was able to get paid for shows. In addition, I was able to work for and support major artists including Not3s, Ms Banks, Tiwa Savage and Naira Marley. I also received an award of excellence for rap and was able to perform in different shows in different cities across the world including London, Cardiff and Liverpool.

What were the initial challenges?

One of the main challenges was finding my sound but I knew I wanted to rap and stand out but I was not a hundred percent sure about the genre.  The challenge was not being accepted as a female rapper. Then another challenge was having to juggle my music career and my work at the beginning.

Tell us about your record label and your talent hunt initiative?

My record label R-I Records was named after my late Dad Akin Remi – Ilori. He was a lover of music and I dedicated my record label after him when he passed away. The aim of the label was to highlight talent in Nigeria and I became aware of a number of talented artists in Nigeria during my rap career.

I must say that the talent hunt project is geared towards showcasing talents in Nigeria as well as giving opportunities to talented artists in Nigeria by giving them hope. There are cash prizes for the top 3 winners and an opportunity for talented artists to excel in their careers. This is our own way of encouraging them not give up on their dreams.

What are some of the memorable experiences in the entertainment sector?

One of the most memorable experiences is being supported by major celebrities in Nigeria. Another memorable experience for me is being able to build a fan base in Nigeria and know that people have accepted me and my music without being in Nigeria. All this reminds me about my award of excellence for rap. This was given to me at an early stage of my career.

Tell us about what inspired your charity Foundation?

My charity Foundation Mz J4zzie Foundation is a charity centred on empowering the youths in Nigeria and giving them hope for a better future.

The main inspiration for my charity foundation was the challenges I saw especially with the way our youths live in Nigeria. It was sad seeing the way our youths lived; many had had no food, nowhere to sleep and no guidance. I was confused especially each time I remember that Nigeria is a country with a number of billionaires and millionaires, yet there is little or no support for the younger generation. Nigeria is my root and I am passionate about the development of our youths. That inspired me to   do something to change the situation and help empower the youth.

You are a Law graduate, what inspired you to study Law?

I have always wanted to study law. I remember that when I was young, I was a very argumentative person and I love reading cases and setting the records straight. I had all the traits to become a lawyer and that inspired me.

Tell us about life as an entrepreneur, what are some of the changes that you will like to see in the sector?

Life as an entrepreneur is not easy. I am a Law graduate, an author, a charity foundation owner, a property owner, a record label owner and an artist. This is so many things rolled together and it actually inspires my personality. As an entrepreneur I have had sleepless nights, that explains an addiction to red bull, just to keep me awake. I work hard to achieve stressful conversations with my employees, the process of hiring and firing my employees. I have cried myself to sleep sometimes especially when I’m unable to achieve a target.

Everything I am doing are things I’ve always wanted to do and I find joy in being able to do them. I am proud that I have laid a foundation and I am on my way to creating a legacy for others and leaving a mark in Nigeria.

Tell us about your role models and mentors?

My mother is my main role model as I watched her struggle and still make sure that I had everything I needed. My mum is the main person who encouraged me to continue with my music career and with my businesses. My mum is also the main person who supports me when writing my songs. It helps me pick the best beats for my singles as she also has a passion for music.

I am inspired by legends like Tupac, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce and Micheal Jackson because they all made an impact with their music and not just created music for the sake of it.

If you had to change something in the entertainment industry, what would it be?

For the entertainment industry in Nigeria I would want them remove a price on talent and give talented youths the opportunity to excel and be heard. The industry in Nigeria does not give opportunities to the less privileged and this need to change.

If you had to advise young people who want to come into the sector, what would it be?

I would advise young people never give up and to find their voice and stick to it. The aim is to stand out in the industry, not blend in. It may take time but if you have the talent and you are persistent then you will be accepted.

How do you relax?

Currently, I don’t have the time to relax because I have a number of targets that I need to achieve before a certain time frame. I have had to sacrifice outings, friendships and chilling in order to achieve my goals. I know that it will all be worth it.

What is your favourite travel destination?

I don’t have a favourite travel destination but I will like to travel to Bali one day.

Tell us about your book, the Tricks of a player?

My book Tricks of a player was written to help females to be aware of the tricks of players. I wrote the book after I had experienced a player myself and I decided it was a time a female spoke about the issues and help others  to learn from my experience.

What won’t you do in the name of fashion?

As long as I am not naked,, there’s nothing  I won’t do in the name of fashion. I love fashion and trying on new outfits.

How have you been keeping safe?

I have been staying in my apartment and hardly go out unless it is necessary.

What advice do you have for Nigerian youths at this time?

I would advise Nigerian youths to stay focused and have hope for a better tomorrow. I would also advise the youths to have a goal and work hard at achieving it no matter the circumstance.

What lessons have life taught you?

Life has taught me not to depend on human beings and to stay close to God. Life has also taught me that God and hard work are the only means of survival.

Let’s talk about your new single with Mr Real?

The single with Mr Real is called Nana Ayy Remix which was released about two weeks ago. The song is available on Apple music, Itunes and audio mack. The music video will be out soon. You can find updates about this through my instagram handle mzj4zzie.