JahLion: A roaring force ripping at turn-tables and spreading culture in the process
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OUR AMBASSADOR5™ SERIES SHOWCASES 5 QUESTIONS WITH A CULTURAL AMBASSADOR WHO IS ACTIVELY PROMOTING CARIBBEAN CULTURE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
By Marissa Williams
You feel his presence long before he actually enters the room. It’s like a static energy warning you that something big is about to happen and you sit impatiently waiting for it. His unassuming style makes you think you were wrong. As he quietly surveys the room, it’s easy to think he is as quiet as lamb and your anticipation was in vain. And then, just like that, ROAAARRRR, he starts ripping at the turn tables and it’s like nothing you have ever experienced before. That in essence is JahLion (his real name) of JahLion Sound Movement, a quiet storm determined to take over the air waves and bring Caribbean music to the forefront, one main stream radio station at a time. At our meeting at the Radio One station, I was able to witness first- hand the camaraderie between himself and the rest of the Authentic Caribbean (107.5 /97.5) crew. As he joked with one of his mentors, Chubb Rock, the rest of the team consisting of ‘The Commissioner’ Redd Dread, Dee Dee Parker and Lady Jae all jumped in, creating a light and fun-filled atmosphere. In the midst of the laughter, I saw a young and passionate disc jockey with the humility of a lamb but the heart of lion. In his eyes was that of a man on a mission, determined to spread Caribbean culture not only within the United States , but, throughout the world.
About how he started his career as a disc jockey
Music has been his obsession for as long as he can remember. He reminisces on one of his defining moments at age thirteen, being at the Fish Market in his home town of St Croix in the Virgin Islands. He saw the power of the disc jockeys controlling the vibe and the crowd and he wanted to get a taste. He started learning on a program called Virtual Turntable, but knew that was just a stepping stone to his goal of playing on a real turn table. He worked odd jobs, painting houses, washing cars, hustling CDs at school and anything he could think of so he could save the money to purchase his own. From there it was no turning back.
About what he did differently to make this a sustainable career:
He always knew that music was something he loved and wanted to do but in his early career he was being led down an Engineering path. So he did the necessary, he went to Georgia Institute of Technology to study Civil Engineering so that he could have a solid foundation. But, music was and has always been his passion. In his senior year in college he was offered the opportunity to intern at 107.9 and that fueled his drive to turn his music into his career. He acknowledges that very few people are able to do what they love for their living and it makes him even more grateful for the opportunity.
His drive propels him constantly. He works 25 hours, 8 days a week, 366 days a year and sleeps only on specials occasions.
About learning moments in his early career:
He was invited to perform at a club in Hinesville Ga by Crunk Master. At that time in his career, he didn’t yet understand the nuances of Southern music. When he started to spin the whole club started to get thin. But, this was a learning opportunity for him. From that day on he made a conscious effort to study his market, learn about the people he is going to play for and deliver on what they want to hear.
About using his role as a disc jockey to be a cultural ambassador:
His access to different radio stations throughout the world has given him the leverage needed to spread Caribbean music. He is currently a DJ on 103.5 in Virgin Islands/Vibe 103 Bermuda/ Starz FM Jamaica/ Sirius XM and most recently the Authentic Caribbean Show on 107.5 and 97.5. He applauds the Radio One staff for taking a chance on a Caribbean music in an industry that does not necessarily welcome risks. For him the Authentic Caribbean show gives him the opportunity to introduce Caribbean music to the over 6.7 million people that listen to the radio.
About how his role as cultural ambassador will evolve in 5 years:
Five years ago, JahLion did not know that many of the doors that are currently opened to him would have been around so he is hesitant to predict what comes next. However, he does hope that the Authentic Caribbean show will be syndicated all over the US by then. He also hopes to take Caribbean music to places like the United Kingdom and Asia to name a few. For this determined and focused disc jockey-the sky is the limit.
Find out more about the Authentic Caribbean show at www.majicatl.com . Follow JahLion on Instagram @JahLionSound
Listen here for our detailed Ambassador 5 interview with JahLion:
Video Credits: Bronson Blair