The JonFX formula
AS a producer and musician, JonFX has worked with dancehall and hip hop's elite. But he wants to do more than just make hit songs — his goal is to re-establish Jamaican music internationally.
"My aim is to return reggae to its rightful position in the world music industry, not just as some amateur genre of music, but by properly grooming artistes, proper arranging and mixing of tracks and industry standards mastering," he said in an interview with Splash.
Born John Crawford in Kingston, the Florida-based JonFX is in his late-20s. He migrated to the United States 10 years ago and is best known for producing Gyptian's smash hit Hold You and the singer's album of the same name. He is back home for the first time since moving to the US, working on tracks for his latest projects, which include Sade Serena, a singer signed to Def Jam, and blues guitarist/singer Joe Bonamassa.
"I experiment with different genres of music. I do everything from pop, rock, dance, hip hop, reggae, dancehall, trance and house music," he explained. It is in the dancehall and hip hop field that JonFX has made his reputation. He is behind the remix of Akon and Young Jeezy's Soul Survivor (featuring Vybz Kartel, Shabba Ranks and Sizzla); Twerk It by Busta Rhymes, Nicki Minaj and Lady Saw, Gyptian's I Can Feel Your Pain and Nah Let Go, I Wayne's Book of Life, Sean Paul's Baby, She Love by Vybz Kartel, Cost of Living (Sizzla) and David's Psalm by Mavado. Released three years ago, Hold You is the last big US hit by a homegrown Jamaican artiste. JonFX believes it will take similar radio-friendly tunes to make Jamaica's popular music competitive again.
"We have to get more into a singles-driven market, with proper strategies and well-written songs," he said. "There has to be professional mixing and mastering."
JonFX says it was that combination that made the collaboration with Gyptian successful. They met four years ago in New York City and he produced the catchy Hold You, which did well on the Billboard pop and rhythm and blues/hip hop charts. JonFX ended up producing the subsequent album, which was released by VP Records.
Bitten by the music bug at an early age, he says he shelved plans to become a paralegal and ended up doing music. So far, that decision has paid off. Though he has worked with several big names in hip hop and contemporary soul, JonFX hopes to make a mark in the near future with his Jamaican productions.