Meet the guy who should be the next mayor of Austin Texas. It's his city after all, and in this interview with artist, producer, club-owner, and all around guru of following your dreams Jim-E-O gives our crew a walking tour of the state capital, while enlightening us on the triumphs and tragedies of his life. Captivated by hip hop while growing up in New Haven CT, Jim-E-O's embrace of his heroes is obvious enough. The art, the music, the business; the emcee takes inspiration from all realms of the culture, and his album Toast To Life is the culmination of all his efforts to date.
JIM-E-O, born Enyinna Kalu Ogbaa on July 26, 1984 in Imo State, Nigeria,is the son of Kalu Ogbaa, and Clara Ogbaa. The name Enyinna means, " father's friend" in the Igbo (a Nigerian language). JIM-E-O embraced his father's best friends' name Jimmy. The E-O in his stage name represents his intials.
At age 6 JIM-E-O and family moved to America from Nigeria in 1991. JIM-E-O spent most of his childhood in New Haven, Connecticut. Recognizing his musical talent in his teenage years, JIM-E-O began songwriting and music prodution. Life was not easy growing up in a household with 5 siblings and being raised by a single mother after a divorce. Music was his mental Escape.
WIth New York so close, JIM-E-O began to journey into the Hip-Hop culture. "I remember school shopping in mid-town Manhattan and Harlem, going back and forth on the train. I would spend hours gazing at storefronts, artist promos,graffiti and buying new music."
Straying away from school and education caused JIM-E-O to face a lot of adversities in the streets. JIM-E-O knew, he could not let down his family and fall victim to the "slum psychology" as his mother would say. If he didn't obtain a PHD or MD, he better have redeemed himself with great accolades.
JIM-E-O achieved recognition from the East Coast Underground music scene. He released 3 successful mix-tapes in which he expressed the harsh realities of life, and his goals. JIM-E-O then began interning at mom and pop records shops all over the east coast where he met and cyphered with famous artists, Dj's and music executives. JIM-E-O's exposure came from the F.I.R.M (The Family of Independent Record Merchants) which helped placed his freestyles on popular underground mix cd's from Connecticut to New York.
After a few ups and downs in the streets, he decided to change his ways and move down to Austin,Texas. JIM-E-O vowed to utilize his ambition to obtain every goal he had. First, he had to educate himself at home through reading a lot of self-help books in his mother's library. He then landed a job at a franchise car dealership. He quickly rose through the ranks from a salesman, to a finance director and to a sales manager.
During his transition from New Haven to Austin Texas, JIM-E-O was able to network with live musicians and amazing vocalists in Austin. Taking advantage of the industries SXSW music conference, he was able to meet musicians from all over the world. JIM-E-O delivered his lyrical craft with an overdose of street tales and sly narrative. Possessing a slight raspy tone, with a touch of east coast vernacular, he has gained a respectable following throughout the music scene.
JIM-E-O's goal in the game is to inspire and give solution through music. "I want to stay influential and creative, while captivating my audience with my strong content." JIM-E-O's new release, "TOAST TO LIFE" is highly anticipated and is sure to take JIM-E-O to the pinnacle of the game.