Jay Q: A Musical Legend Not Honored Sufficiently. Before you start asking questions because you don’t know who Jay Q is, strap your seatbelts because we’re going to take a trip down memory lane, and for those who already know him, a nice journey back to the good old days won’t be all that bad.
Jeff Tennyson Quaye who was born on December 24th in the year 1977 in Osu which is a town of the Ghanain capital city Accra is a Ghanaian musician, record producer, record executive, sound engineer, composer, and keyboardist better known by his stage name Jay Q.
He is the current CEO and creator of Q-Lex Entertainment and Jay-Qlex Recording Studio. Several artists, including Buk Bak, VIP, Castro, Mzbel, Obrafour, Daddy Lumba, Nana Acheampong, Ofori Amponsah, Akosua Agyapong, Obuoba J. A. Adofo, Wulomei, and others, have had albums produced and their careers managed by him.
Jay Q is acknowledged as a pivotal player in the popularization of Hiplife, Highlife, and Gospel as a producer. He brought Jama (kpanlogo) into Hiplife, which became popular in Ghana, Africa, and the rest of the world. Because of his flexibility, Jay Q was named Best Sound Engineer at the 5th edition of the Ghana Music Awards in 2003. Although competing against famous luminaries like as Appietus, Zapp Mallet, and Hammer of the last two, he was in a league of his own. We all felt that urge every time Jay Q flooded the music world with his songs, and his accomplishments with his songs centred on molding an artist’s musical identity as well. Instead of only providing a rhythm for a singer to sing, he also assists with the vocal material, which has helped musicians such as Castro, Shilo, and Buk Bak attain varied degrees of success.
Jay Q’s childhood was typical of any other underdog who battled his way to the top. Jeff Tennyson Quaye (snr) and Miss Comfort Adjin-Tettey reared him in Accra, Ghana. His church, Emmanuel Assemblies Of God, supported his piano training at the Oriental School Of Music (Adabraka, Accra). Afterwards, he joined Resurrection Power and Living Bread Ministries, where he met Fred Kyei Mensah (Fredyma Studio), who taught him music programming and got him started in recording.
After deciding to pursue music production as a career, he worked relentlessly to near perfection, but it wasn’t until the mid-to-late 1990s that his creations began receiving radio airplay. In the late 1990s, he collaborated with a wide range of musicians of different genres of music, including Paapa Yaw Johnson, Alhaji K. Frimpong, George Jahraa, Obuoba J. A. Adofo, Sibo Brothers, Kaakieku, Pat Thomas, and other renowned highlife performers.
In the gospel genre, he has produced songs for Suzzy and Matt, Jane and Dan, Osuani Afrifa, Andy Frimpong, Mr/Mrs Collins Nyantakyi, choirs, and many other renowned gospel performers, as well as cultural bands and live bands such as Wulomei, Saneko, Adams family, and others. His most recognized genre of skill was hiplife, where he produced songs for Bukbak, Vip, Ex-doe, Oman Hene Pozo, and almost every hiplife performer from the 2000s hiplife period.
Jay Q’s works in the 1990s were all analogue, recorded and produced in Accra’s Combined House Of Music (CHM). In the year 2000, technology was changing so quickly that digital recordings were displacing analogue recordings, so Jay Q transitioned from CHM (an analog studio) where he used Cubase and Notator on the Atari computer to Virtual Sound Lab (a fully digital recording studio) and fell in love with Pro Tools on Apple Mac (which he still uses today).
It was at Virtual Studio that Jay Q experimented with what has made him a global success, the Jama/Kpanlogo he brought to hiplife with Bukbak‘s single “I’m going to come,” which received a lot of criticism at the time since hiplife was largely hip-hop and undefined. The trend grew so popular and uncontrolled as other producers and engineers joined in that music publicists and journalists began to see it as the genuine meaning of hilife. The Jama/Kpanlogo beat is based on the fusion of indigenous instruments such as congas, bells, maracas, claps, whistle, brass and guitars, jembe, gome, and so on.
Jay Q went from Virtual to Hush Hush Studio in 2002 and in 2003 he won the best recording engineer of the year at the Ghana music awards in Ghana and the following year in the UK for the single “Ahomka Wo Mu” by VIP. Jay Q established Q-Lex Entertainment, a musical label through which he discovered and executive produced artists. He usually assisted these musicians with lyrics and composition. Castro, 4×4, Dr. Doh, and many more artists were found and supported for their initial records by him.
Jay Q’s relationships with artists were always great, and he maintained a consistent presence on their records, which helped to build not just the engineer’s personality, but that of an entire genre; from old to new school. In other words, Jay Q has created sounds that everyone from the Daddy Lumbas to the Ofori Amponsahs, as well as our neighboring Nigerian singer, 9nice on his remix of ‘Gongo Aso,’ like.
He collaborated with BukBak at a global music event in Gothenburg (Sweden) in 2003, where they recorded several tunes. Soon after, Ghanaian musicians in other countries began requesting his services, and from 2006 to 2007, he made several trips to the United Kingdom, where he recorded many Ghanaian artists, including Yoggi Doggi, Deeba Mama B, Howls of Lords, and others. Ghanaians in the United States became aware of his excursions to the United Kingdom, and in the summer of 2007, he made his first journey to the United States to record artists.
He later worked as a resident engineer at Kingdom Studios (Chicago), which was owned by Dan Boadi, president of the Ghana Music Association of Chicago. Artists came from all over the country to record with Jay Q in Chicago. Jay Q has been named an honorary member of the Ghana musicians association of Chicago (Ghamachi). In 2011, he and a friend, Kay Rockks, founded Jay Q Entertainment in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), with the goal of nurturing artists and promoting events.
Jay Q returned home in January 2012 after spending some time in America and purchasing Hush Hush Studio, where he currently runs his Q-Lex studio in Accra, having worked there for almost a decade and producing some of his greatest songs.
Oluman Boogie – FBS ft. Tinny
Ahomka Womu – VIP
Sikletele – 4×4
Odo Fitaa – 4×4
Nshornaa – 4×4
Odo Electric – VIP
Toffee – Castro
Boneshaker – Castro ft. Shilo & Skrewface
Sradinam (Remix) – Castro Ft. Triple M
African Woman – Kokoveli Ft. Skrewface
16 Years – Mzbel ft. Castro
Yopoo – Mzbel
I’m in Love – Mzbel ft. Castro
Obaano – Okumfour Kwaadee ft. Pope Skinny
Juliana – K2 ft. Bright
Monkey Chop Banana – Nkasei ft. Bright
Sanbra – Madfishh Ft. K.K Fosu
Klublofo (I’m Going to Come) – Buk Bak
Kakatsofa – Buk Bak
Bonwire Kente – Ofori Amponsah
Kwame Ko – Ofori Amponsah
Agenda – Daddy Lumba
Angel – Daddy Lumba
P.O.P – Daddy Lumba
Okukuseku Nipa Hu Yehu – Daddy Lumba
Akukor Perming – FBS
Shine Your Eyes – Obour Ft. Papa Shanti
Jacket – Praye
Adwoa – Obour ft. A.B. Crentsil
Esi – Kontihene Ft. Kwabena Kwabena
African Woman – Kokoveli Ft. Skrewface
Jama Oo Jama – Castro, Dr. Poh, Chakua, Kwaku Abebrebe
Koti – Triple M
Osei Yei (Ghana 08 Africa Cup Of Nation Theme Song) – Ft Ofori Amponsah, Obrafuor & Samini & Tinny & Obour & Chicago
Gonja Barracks – Bukbak
You 4 know – Bukbak
Komi Ke Kena – Bukba
Broni – Bukbak
Yaa Asantewa – Bukbak
Agyeii – Bukbak Ft. Nkasei
Na Who Cause Am – Dr. Poh Ft. 2Tee
Mini – Bukbak
Wone Me Baby (Remix) – Madfish Ft. Kofi Nti