JON MORENO — Arts & Entertainment Editor
Jahkeem Ohizep, a senior music theory major, says he is influenced by everything around him. He’s turned his passion for music into a hobby and he says he hopes to one day turn into a living. His creates what he calls “video game music” and aspires to one day travel to Japan to meet his idols in the music business.
Q. Tell us real quick where you come from, how you chose Southern and why, your major, tell us what makes you, you?
A. I’m originally from New Rochelle, NY. I toured EastConn, WestConn and Southern. I know I liked Southern, the campus stood out to me. I had a good day that day. I would say that my imagination makes up a big part of my personality. It’s what inspires my music and style, as well as how I communicate with others.
Q. What is it exactly that you do? I know you produce, write and record?
A. So far I produce, it’s a process of recording multiple melodies and composing them in the way I see fit. This is all done on a music program called Reason. It has a huge library of instruments and sounds that I play with. I do enjoy hip-hop but it’s not my main genre. I see my music more as “video game music.” I’m always imagining visuals and certain emotions to go along with my music. “Video game music” actually imitates many different genres, every environment tells a different story, every story is told from a different perspective, like music.
Q. How did it all start for you? What was the first moment that you realized hip-hop is a passion for you and what made you peruse it to this point?
A. One summer night approaching my junior year I realized that my father makes music and that I’ve always been drawn to it. Sort of addicted to it. I said to myself, if I’m my father’s son, music must be in my genes. So I declared music theory as my major.
Q. Who are some of your favorite artists and how have they influenced you musically or personally?
A. My favorite music artists span from various video games to old school and modern music. Koji Kondo, Nobuo Uematsu, Yuzo Koshiro to name a few video game composers. Prince, Daft Punk, Jamiroquai, Breakbot, Doc Illingsworth. The list could go on for a while but those artists stick out because their music reminds me of pivotal points of my life. I’m even friends with Doc Illingsworth on Facebook
Q. Where would you like to take the music you do? On a mainstream level or is this just a hobby?
A. I want to make music for people to sing to. I want to work with singers, dancers, visual artists, video game producers. I want my music to reach multiple media outlets. I would really like to go overseas to Japan, walk into multiple video game companies and get my music to the source of my inspirations. Baby steps of course.
Q. Who has influenced you most in life (not musically) and how so?
A. God, my mother and sister Naimaah have been the two who have always supported my decisions and been my moral influences. God makes everything possible and gave me all of the opportunties that stand before me.
My mother always told me to see the good in people, sometimes I abuse that and try to make friends with enemies, but no longer. My sister told me to always use my imagination, which is what fuels my music. My cousin Rodney, he gave me the computer I work with and he took me on the tour at Southern.
Professor Kuss is a music teacher at SCSU. He always encourages my music and is a great person. He asked me to speak at the reception of the school’s recording studio, which then opened multiple opportunites for me. He also makes electronic music so he really appreciates the music I produce. He also gave me the music program and the midi keyboard I use to make music.
Prof. Waite is also a teacher here at SCSU. She approached me after the studio’s reception and offered me a summer job working with ConnCAS. I worked with incoming freshman and understood the responsibility I have to be a good influence on others.
My friend and 2011 SCSU graduate Akintunde Sogunrois is an influence too. He was my roomate last year and really talked a lot of sense into me. I knew that I wanted to make music, but I wasn’t making music. I was reading too much and goofing off. He saw that and just questioned my motives, which then made me questions my actions and act upon what was necessary. My family, friends and even my foes inspire my music.
Q. What would you like to these influences?
A. I would like to thank God for giving me the life I live. I would like to tell my mother and sister that I love them very much and that I will always help them, they are my immediate family and they are everything to me, despite how much I may give them a hard time at times. I would like to tell my cousin Rodney thank you for all of his support and advice. Professor Kuss is a good friend of mine, I would like to thank him for teaching me how to make electronic music. I would like to thank Professor Waite for seeing the potential in me for being a helpful person. I love my family and friends.
Q. What is your advice to local artists trying to get their music heard or just feel discouraged sometimes? What do you do to get yourself out of a rut if you are ever in one, musically?
A. If you want your music to be heard then let people know you make music. Soundcloud.com is a great website, Myspace is another. Network through Facebook. All of the tools are in front of you. Never feel discouraged, even when people try to knock your music, they have no knowledge of music, their opinion is irrelevant. Music comes from you, for them to disrespect your music is to disrespect the very creation of you entirely. Music has been a remedy during times of hardship. I’ve made music when I was mad, sad and depressed. And through the process I’ve completely understood what my problem was, finishing a song was usually how I came to the solutions of my problems. Whether I was right or wrong in the situation, I grew from the endeavour.
Q. What are you plans once you graduate?
A. I plan to travel for a while after graduating. My friend told me about a cruise ship he worked on for six months and they docked in many different countries and cities. Free food, a small room and travel with a pinch of hard work on a ship doesn’t sound too bad. I also plan to take a summer session abroad with CCSU to Japan. After the fun, I plan to come back to SCSU and earn a masters in marketing.
Q. It’s your last year at Southern. What is your most fondest memory and what would you like to tell the Southern body as you head to graduation?
A. I have too many memories to just pick one. Every year here has been great. But the year that I lived in Neff was pretty cool. I needed to get away from a lot that was clouding my mind, I spent a lot of time exploring West Rock and that cleared up everything. Go to West Rock.