Interviews

Our Stories- My Life Changed When I was 12 Years Old- Jahlani Muziq

In this installment of Our Stories, Jamaican artiste, Jahlani Muziq explained how his life changed when he was 12 years old….For many people, Jamaica is pictured as an island paradise – white sandy beaches, a beautiful and vivacious culture, rich and wholesome food, and attractive people. And while that image is not far from the truth, if the lens is focused on the inspirational stories of ordinary Jamaicans, you’d find a sharper, richer and truer image of the Jamaican experience…this is Our Stories!

Meet Rashaine “Jahlani Muziq” Foster

He said his last goodbye to his mother, Nadesha Hyatt at the tender age of 12. The artiste, who grew up in Hannah Town, said the death of his mother swindled all his youthful exuberance. Jahlani Muziq remembered being depressed and feeling hopeless for months because he struggled with the reality that he would never enjoy the living presence of his mother again. His depression also took the form of violent and deviant behaviour displayed at school and in his community.
However, when I sat down with the Jamaican artiste, he gives credit to his father, Jeffery Foster for never giving up on him.

1.How did your mother die?
She died from lung cancer.

2.How long was she battling with lung cancer?
It all happened so quickly. Honestly, she just got sick, went in to the hospital, come out back, like a couple weeks after she went back and a couple days after she died.

3. When you said the death of your mother shook you to the core, what do you mean?
Words cannot explain that feeling…A Mommy dat enuh! Mi never ever feel that feeling again in my life. No matter how much mi might love a girl and mi and har stop talk, dat can’t affect mi like how di fact seh mi can’t see mi mother again. It’s one of the worst feelings ever.
I was depressed for months, months, months. I started acting out, started misbehaving and one bagga things but Daddy did strong. Daddy understood the situation and Daddy never gave up on me and he always said, ‘things will be better, things will get better’.

4. How did you act out?
Yuh know the boy ting already (laughs). Yuh dun know, in a school more while, you start skull some classes. I use to go Campion (College) so more while mi miss a class. It started when I was in Grade 7, a little fight here and there, hitch up ‘round some bad man.
Like most ghetto youths, mi coulda go dat way but eventually something clicked fi mek mi know dat way is not the right way.

5. What clicked?
When you a see youth weh nuh have no youth (child) as yet and police a kill dem, you know seh the badness road is a road where either you go dead or like some of my other friends, you a go end up in jail.
Mi nuh want dat life for myself plus Daddy a try so hard, mi jus tell myself seh mi go do it for Daddy.
I’m the eldest of five so it clicked in my head seh, you little bredda dem and three little sisters a look up to you, so mi affi change.
Once you as the person say you want to change, that is when the change happens and Daddy never give up on me.

6. How do you know your Daddy never gave up on you?
Because it showed…in his actions…How him treat mi, never changed. Him always a reason wid me same way. Him never mek up him face. Yuh know him show tough love but him never give up on me. As a big man now, mi glad and that made me the person who I am today.

7. Who is Jahlani Muziq?
On the stage I am somebody who you can expect to deliver good music…when you listen to (my music) sometimes goose bumps come on your skin. I love to tell the ghetto story.
The story that most people tell, “oh a bere gun man come from down dere’.
Dem nah tell the story that nuff ghetto youths down dere seh dem want a work but even though dem have dem subjects people a look pan dem and seh
‘no mi nuh wa employ you’.
That is the kind of story mi wa tell, the hidden story. It nah tell and people always want to focus on the negative. Negatives are there but some things happen for a reason; if more youths have work, less crime.

8. You signed to StrengthUp Record in 2016, why?
I have been an independent producer, recording artiste for years but the singularity thing can’t work; you need a team. You need people who can make you comfortable as an artiste, the only thing you do is sit down and write the song. You don’t have to worry about getting the rhythm, writing the song, getting studio time.

9. What is your greatest achievement in your music career to date?
Signing with StrengthUp Record Label…Honestly, having somebody recognise the talent that I have and taking the risk of investing in my musical talent. They have put out a lot of work for me. Right now that song, Straight Highway, it a gwaan a way in England, Bahamas and St. Lucia, even down a Scandinavia. And that’s all the ground work of the team. I’ve made strides in the music as an independent person but I’ve never made this much stride before.

10. Finally, what is your message to young persons who complain that life is hard?
Keep holding on…no matter how life hard, from you have life, you have a way. You can’t sit down every day and seh, ‘oh God mi a suffer’. If you have to go out there and hustle, you have to hustle.

Great message and thanks for sharing your story Jahlani Muziq!

Listen to Jahlani Muziq- Straight Highway

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Our Stories is a feature which shares the other side of Jamaican entertainers: their innermost thoughts, inspirations and personal stories. Are you a Jamaican entertainer with a story to share? Contact us i[email protected].

About the author

Ashleigh-Ann Mowatt

Ashleigh-Ann Mowatt is a journalist who practises her craft everyday. Ashleigh-Ann loves to tell stories, human interest stories or stories of the heart. She hopes that by sharing these stories, she is ultimately helping persons to lead better lives. Check out her other stories on her blog, http://livewellja.com/