Where has the Music Gone
By Geoff Hammond
In a candid interview with Jim Jonsin, Grammy Award winner and the founder and driving force behind Rebel Rock Entertainment, the question of today’s music was discussed. Jonsin is a very successful, self-made entrepreneur with interests in both the music world and the world of auto racing. In his own earthy charismatic way, Jonsin describes his passion to create what he calls a return to “great organic music” … well-written lyrics, quality sound production, instrumentals and solid fundamentals of good vocals without all the auto sounds or pitch mikes that other producers commonly use to enhance the end product. He talks about finding young talent and mentoring them to improve all their musical skills, carefully crafting their individual sound and style.
South Florida Opulence: What drives you other than your race cars?
JONSIN: Really, what makes me tick is hearing great music delivered by a true artist … someone whose voice and musical talent reaches out and touches folks. I’m not talking about the big production effect but the pure and unfiltered ability to deliver a song whether live or recorded that stays with you … something you can’t get out of your head.
SFO: Where do you find that kind of talent?
JONSIN: I literally search all over the world. Fortunately, because I’ve had success in this business after my experiences with Beyoncé and Usher among others, I get leads from everywhere … young people wanting a chance … a chance to showcase their talents.
SFO: Who are you currently working with?
JONSIN: I’m in the process of finishing up an album with a young talent from Spain who has a phenomenal voice and is a cross between Ricky Martin and a modern-day Lionel Ritchie. His name is Leroy Sanchez and he’s already been receiving rave reviews. I’ve been working with him in the studio for the past three years and it’s very satisfying to see his maturity and his talent develop. It’s one of the things I require from my artists … to be respectful and serious about the process of making good music. Not just the ability to stage a performance but the confidence that comes from hard work and dedication to the craft. I’m also currently working with a young woman from Australia who is into folk, new country and soft rock. She has an unusually full voice and is certain to become a star.
SFO: You seem to have a wide interest in the type of music you produce … from rap to folk, country and soft rock. Any favorites?
JONSIN: I’m fortunate that I have an ear for almost all music and have been successful in creating cutting-edge sounds in several different genres. As I’ve gotten a bit older, however, I most enjoy listening to the tunes of the ‘70s … absolutely great vocals and strong memorable lyrics. It’s fun and exciting when I find young folks who have that similar passion for that type of sound.
SFO: Where does the passion to help young talent come from?
JONSIN: When I was trying to find my way in the business, someone reached out to me and lended a helping hand … I never forgot that, and now that I’m in a position to do the same, it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to provide a similar platform for others. Over the years, I started an apprenticeship program to introduce young people both in school and from various backgrounds into the world of music … whether it is engineering, editing, audio-mixing, writing, instrumentals or vocals; the opportunity is there for someone to step up, work hard and find a potential job in the music industry. I have the capability to make that happen with my contacts and it’s a great way for me to pay-it-forward.
SFO: Any new projects on the horizon?
JONSIN: I’m working with a new associate and we intend to extend my platform more actively into the Nashville market. I’ve always wanted an entrance there and I’m looking forward to broadening the outreach program for my new artists to collaborate with other studios. It’s actually a small world … the music industry, and there is a network of people who really can make things happen … I want to remain at the center of that activity.
One of Jonsin’s rising-star protégés, Leroy Sanchez, performed at the 4th Annual Opulence Yacht Gala on Fisher Island in
April. Guests raved. To read more about Jim Jonsin and Rebel Rock Entertainment, go to www.Rebelrock.com.