Jaedon Daniel Has The Keys To His Future

Jaedon Daniel is a creative force who is steadily taking over Durban from behind his keyboard. Bob Perfect chats to the young maestro about his musical upbringing, collaboration and so much more.

 

Photo by Prince Ndleleni

 

If you’re a young, talented musician in Durban, and you need someone to add a deft touch of keys to your live show or album, then Jaedon Daniel is the first guy you call. He’s an unassuming cat but he’s steadily taking over Durban from behind his keyboard by collaborating with artists as promising as he is.

 

It’s a rarity amongst musicians to be both good on their own and playing with others. Many think they’re good at both but most aren’t good at either. Statistically, I’m right. There are countless people who think they’re great (you just don’t recognise because you’re a hater) because they managed to write a song and record it. Very few actually put in the real work that could actually make them great. Jaedon is one of the few.

 

Photo by Black Stag Creative

 

When you watch Jaedon play, it looks like making music is as natural as breathing to him, which is how you know he’s put in years of practice. “I wouldn’t say music comes easy to me,” he tells me when I ask about it. “There’s a lot of hard work that you have to put in to fully access what’s available, you know? Like, to develop your own voice you need have a deep relationship with your instrument and know it and your capabilities.” While many people have some talent, without putting in the hard work, you’ll never know just how good you can be. For Jaedon, learning about music is a lifelong journey, “There’s still so much work and practice that I need to put in. Actually, I’ll never need to stop practicing. Once you start learning about music, you’ll always be learning.” While Jaedon is incredibly humble, he also recognises that maybe he has some innate ability, “But yeah, I guess can say there’s a bit of a natural flare.”

 

Jaedon is a Durban boy, “As Durban as you get,” he tells me, “I was born in Westville. Now I stay in Reservoir Hills.”  He’s 1 of 4 boys and comes from a musical family. That’s an understatement. Both of his parents are musicians, all his brothers are musicians, and his uncles and a few of his cousins are musicians. So yeah, odds were that Jaedon would grow up to be a musician. “There was always music around growing up. My family was very involved in the church, part of many church bands. I haven’t gotten to play at church yet though.”

 

“Music itself was a culture from a young age for me,” he continues as we dig into how he got into making music. “I pretty much grew up on hip-hop. I listened to a whole lot of rap music as a kid, and yeah, I developed a real love for hip-hop and the culture.” Although the young maestro had an affinity for hip-hop, it was classical instruments that drew his attention. “I started playing on the violin when I was 8. Then when I was 10, I started going to piano lessons. I fell in love with the piano. I had a good couple of opportunities to play. I played violin in the orchestra. I played many school concerts and shows during primary school.” He didn’t play as much during high school, but he always knew that he wanted to study music after school and he and his friends used to “bug out” to mixes Jaedon would make for them in high school. “But yeah, I only kinda got into Composition and making music once I started studying.”

 

Photo by Sabelo Mngoma

 

Jaedon is a music student at UKZN. I asked him how valuable studying music has been for his music career, were there things that he learned at UKZN he couldn’t learn on his own? “Studying at UKZN was everything,” he replied, “that’s where I kinda started seeing what’s going on. I always wanted to study jazz from an early age, but I didn’t know how crazy it was gonna be.” Thanks to the rigors of studying his craft, Jaedon has become more comfortable with his instrument and is figuring out how to put his own touch on things. “It allowed me to really dig into my instrument. I developed a sound, you could say.”

 

The student life is currently on hold for the young musician as he’s taking the year to get some real-world experience. “I haven’t even completed my degree,” he explains, “I actually took the year off just to put some more time into my career and process the knowledge that I’ve gained in the last four years. I find it’s been very practical to get on the scene and work with a whole bunch of people who have the common goal of just making beautiful sounds. That’s what it’s all about man.”

 

UKZN is where Jaedon met his bandmates in the Blvck Crystals. A modern hip-hop and jazz fusion band he put together with some of Durban’s musical prodigies back in 2016 with just 4 original tunes. Jaedon considers writing music for and touring with the band being some of the highlights of his life. “Traveling to Mozambique and touring to Cape Town with the Blvck Crystals were definitely some of the best experiences.” Blvck Crystals follow in the Durban tradition of blending jazz, blues, and hip-hop whilst weaving in touches of the 031 like the forerunners before them, Big Idea and T.H.O.T.S, but they do it in their own way with modern influences which keeps things fresh. The Blvck Crystals are currently taking a break due to everyone being busy and pushing their own careers, but Jaedon says they’ll end up together playing some gigs in the future. In terms of other highlights, Jaedon really loves playing keys for Kyle Deutsch and looks back on recording at Red Bull Studios Cape Town with Red Robyn and releasing “People Talk” fondly. 

 

Photo by Prettipiktures

 

“I’m in the studio quite often, working with a bunch of different people,” Jaedon explains when I ask what he’s working on now, “so, I’ve been working on some new music. Not much of my own stuff. But that can change very quickly.” For now, Jaedon is collaborating with as many like-minded people as he possibly can and continues to push himself and his sound forward. “I love collaborating with a bunch of different artists and musicians from Durban and around the country. It’s good to know what other people are up to musically and the way they think about music. Working with others is refreshing and keeps the creative juices flowing. I don’t like to stick to one sound, I like to keep moving forward sonically.”

 

If you want to hear Jaedon live, you’ll probably get a chance soon. He seems to always be gigging. I’ve seen him play at a plethora of gigs with a variety of people. That being said, he’s cognisant of where he spends his time and energy. “I do think you have to be gigging as much as you can as long as they’re the right gigs.” Jaedon is grateful he gets to do what he does and considers his busy schedule a byproduct of serendipity, “That’s not the main reason why I try and stay busy. I’ve just been really blessed to have met the right people at the right times. I’ve worked hard to get where I am so far, and I’ll continue to work hard. I just love playing! That’s my motivation.”

 

I’m excited to see what lies ahead for Jaedon Daniel. He has the talent and the drive to do great things and make great music, and I know I’m not the only one who thinks he’s an integral part of the current crop of musicians making waves in Durban.

 

 

Jaedon recently finished a paper on trap music appropriately titled ‘SKRRRRT’ which breaks down why hi-hats and 808s are such an infectious combo. You can read it here.

Comments
2 Responses to “Jaedon Daniel Has The Keys To His Future”
  1. rajen pillay says:

    Cool stuff. Keep it up

  2. Ann Isaacs says:

    Music is in your blood and has been handed over by your genes. I can, only imagine your bright future and beautiful destiny 🌟 Enjoy ❤️

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