Interview With Blaze BYOB 2017 Mentor: Jibril Blessing (J-Blessing)

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Jibril Blessing is a TV producer, Music Video Director, and a Cinematographer. He is a well-known sort after video director and has worked with top artists in Kenya such as Eko Dydda, Christina Shusho, Jaguar, King Kaka, Rabbit, Wyre and many others. He has also dabbled in a bit of Television and Film and has directed one season of The Churchill Show. He has won various awards among them being the Best Video Director, Groove Awards in 2012 and Video Director of the year in Mwafaka Awards in 2012 and 2013. He established the Link Video Global whose main goal was to mentor and groom young people who have interest in Artistic expression. His efforts have brought about the success of musician Willy Paul and Music Video Producer Young Wallace.

This year, he was among the mentors selected to guide the young mind in the Blaze BYOB Season Two. He was selected to give insight into the Music category.

Please tell us a little about yourself

Well, I started out as a dancer, then I become an artist then a producer and now I am a director. I took a small course in Music in the United States. I have been in this music industry for about 13 years now and counting.  I got born again in the year 2000. I loved dancing thus it got me close to the church and that is how my journey to Christianity began.

 

J Blessing. Image from https://www.instagram.com/p/BWqO_pfhI97/?taken-by=jibrilblessing

What inspired you to get into Music?

As I stated earlier, I began as a dancer. When I was dancing, I wondered why I could not direct my own videos. I had so many ideas which I wanted to implement. I was pushed further by frustration when someone I had paid to direct a video failed to deliver. I first jumped into producing but since I was such a perfectionist, I found myself in directing. I realized that I was capable of shooting and editing a video in one day or even a span a couple of hours if things ran smoothly. I have been directing ever since.

What are some of the challenges you faced?

I have always had a baby face and while that may not seem like a big problem people always seemed to respect me a little less because of it. It is actually one of the reasons I started growing my dreadlocks. I felt like they made me look older (laughs).

Second, my desire has always been to help people and that becomes a little hard when they are not willing to listen to guidance.

I have also had issues because of my Christianity. I work with a lot of different people in this industry and that can sometimes strain me especially when it comes to sticking to my beliefs.

What was your reaction when you were selected to be a Blaze BYOB mentor?

I was extremely excited. I have always been very passionate about mentoring and helping the youth hence Link Video Global. This has given me another opportunity to help young people with great ideas and assist them to grow into viable business ventures and careers. The future of the music industry is in the hands of these young people and it is our responsibility to help them get there since we have gone through the path they want to embark on.

What advice would you give to the youth who want to become entrepreneurs in the music industry?

Music can be a very confusing industry. I say this because it is very huge. You have to find your ‘office’ in music. Find what you are good at. Many young people think the only lucrative or well-paying work in the music industry is only in performing. So many rush there in the name of fame and recognition. As they do this they ignore what they could actually be good at. You may not be a good performer but maybe you can are good at song-writing, dancing, producing or directing. Take your time and get to know where you thrive. Also, learn from those who have come ahead of you. Especially in such a forum. Take advantage of the prior experience of these mentors.

 

J Blessings. Image from https://www.instagram.com/p/BaqODIvhPy8/?taken-by=jibrilblessing

 

If there is something that you would change in this industry, what would it be?

I would make people listen more. If you hire people to direct you, you have to be willing to take direction. Upcoming musicians are easier to work with. It is some of the established ones that prove to be stubborn. I have worked with the likes of Koffi Olomide, he is over 60 years old but when you talk to him he listens. So if a man like that can listen, why can’t the younger generation?

Any upcoming projects or future plans?

I launched the Pace Headphones recently. That there is my baby. It has been over two months and reception has been great. Customers have pushed up sales and things are going really well. I have also partnered with a friend and we are selling custom-made t-shirts. You can find us at www.instagram.com/home_254/.

If you would like to interact with J Blessing you can find him on twitter at @jibrilblessing.

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