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Makonnen
Makonnen
Biography

MAKONNEN A.K.A Maki-B

People first learned about Makonnen when he was appointed Youth Technology Consultant to the Jamaican Government aged 13 years, and as a homeschooled child, making him the youngest government official ever.
The announcement made world news in Time and Newsweek magazines, as well as BBC-TV, CNN, Reuters, The Jay Leno Show, National Geographic Magazine and the Los Angeles Times.

Makonnen’s style of music comes from the base of roots reggae of his Rasta upbringing. He bridges the gap with hard lyrics and innovate style whether as a reggae/dancehall artist in the vein of the Ky’mani Marley or Jr. Gong, with a blend of vintage Jamaican artsists like U-Roy, Brigader Jerry, Supercat & Buju Banton, or even as a rapper/singer who is completey at home in the North American urban music market. His impact will be felt for sure.

His style of production ranges from the reggae and dancehall riddims of contemporary Jamaica and the hip hop beats of urban US culture, to the clubs of Europe, with his own unique sound and vision.

PERFORMING ARTIST

As a performing artist Makonnen, a.k.a Maki-B, started work on his first official album “Rockers Revolution” in 2015 after receiving local and international airplay and much praise on his songs. It is highly anticipated.

Since 2013 he has been performing and hosting shows in Jamaica, Canada, USA and the Caribbean, even opening for Ky-Mani Marley in the Cayman Islands and hosting his own weekly dub music event in Jamaica called “Rockers Saturdays”. He also released his first video for his very popular song “Red Eye” on International Reggae Day 2015 which had thousands of views in a matter of weeks. He even has mainstream celebrity fans such as Justin Bieber, Diplo & Major Lazer and Lil-B The BasedGod who all have cult followings of their own, who support Makonnen by tweeting and following him on social media.

MUSIC PRODUCER

Makonnen refers to himself as the “SpaceAgeRasta”, a name he coined because he is representing the growth of Rastafari in the 21st century. He also is known as “The Prodigy” a name given to him by his musical brethren Keznamdi and Chronixx for his skills in technology and music working in tandem with them both.

As a Producer, Songwriter, Studio & Live Sound Engineer, Makonnen has worked with almost every reggae/dancehall artist in the biz such as Buju Banton, Sizzla, Capleton and Beenie Man, and including such legends as Beres Hammond, Bob Andy, the late Gregory Issacs and Sugar Minott. He has toured and done international shows as an engineer with Jr. Reid, Beres Hammond and Turbulance. His production skills are highly praised and sought after in the industry.

Since 2008, recent hit production successes by Makonnen include chart topping songs  “Pain” by Capelton, ft. Bobo Zaro & Contractor; “Jailhouse Rock” by Teflon, “Jah Love” By Zamunda ‘Money Print’ by Andrew & Wada Blood “10th Stage” By Vybz Kartel “Baddest Man” By Sizzla “Always On My Mind” By Turbulence “Like It” By Erup and “Damn” By Konshens. Most importantly, Makonnen has been producer and composer on songs by Reggae music legends like Third World, JR. Reid, The Viceroys and leading Jamaican artists such as Sizzla Kalonji, Capleton, Beenie Man, Vybez Kartel, Mavado, Aidonia, Gyptian, Erup, Munga Honorebel, Chi Ching Ching, Khago and many more. including international work with Lil Wayne, Jamerican sensation Sean Kingston, Akon, Iyaz, SD & Gino Marley from Chief Keef’s Glory Boys and Magazeen from Rick Ross’s Maybach Music.

He has done collaboration work with music tastemakers Diplo, M.I.A, 77Klash, DJ Dana Danes and Scion AV including work on music for international reggae acts such as Alborosie, Midnite, Gentleman and also solo reggae albums for the legendary Third World’s Cat Coore and Bunny Rugs, including work on tracks for reggae royalty Stephen and Damian Marley making him one of the most versatile producers around.

Makonnen has done work on productions and riddim compilations that have made the names of many leading record labels in Jamaican music such as: Gargamel Records, Kings Of Kings Records, Tad’s Records, Hungry Town Records, CutStone Productions, Green Lion Productions, JarCat Records and Sugashak Records. The list goes on.

Makonnen continues to develop, produce, record and promote music for a select roster of artists including Mikey General, Chezidek, Jahvinci, Khago, Turbalance and Teflon. Latey he has developed and helped to launch the careers of Droop Lion, Masicka, Contractor, and Bobo Zaro. He also works closely with the artsists like Jesse Royal, Dre Island, Kabaka Pyramid, Keznamdi & Kelissa who are part of the new “Reggae Revival” Movement working to ensure that the future of Jamaican music is in good hands.

EARLY MUSIC CAREER

Makonnen’s musical career actually began at age 7 when he composed the theme song for “Kids Paradise”, a movie written and directed by his mother about 4 children who find a treasure map on a Jamaican resort holiday. The song was produced by Tyrone Downie of the Bob Marley’s Wailers band and sung by famed jamaican songstress Suzanne Couch.

From the early age of 15 he ‘apprenticed’ in the studios of such famous Jamaican producers as “Computer Paul” Henton, Don Corleone, the late Great Daniel ‘Blaxx’ Lewis and Cordell ‘Skatta” Burrell, worked with Billboard producer/writer Rohan “Snocone” Fuller on hits for Sean Paul alongside his friend Adrian “Izes” Marshal, and sat in on recording sessions with Toots & The Matayls, Stephen Marley, Julian Marley, Buju Banton, Capelton, Beenie Man and Sizzla, to name a few.

Makonnen Is a 2nd generation musican as his uncles Winston & Monte Blake are the founders of the legendary “Merritone Music” which is one of Jamaicas oldest and most famous sound systems, while his father and uncle used to manage and oversee their own studio complex with PA, stage lights and sound rental along with a sound system that was popular in the 90’s.

TECHNOLOGY WHIZ KID

His pioneering work in the development of technology in Jamaica included the creation of an annual technology summer school for youths aged 10-18. He participated with 100 teens from around the world in the M.I.T. Media Lab Junior Summit (1998); and visited Universal Studios, Los Angeles as member of an Award-winning team in the ThinkQuest International Youth Website competition (1999). Makonnen toured Guyana schools, sponsored by the US President (Jimmy) Carter Center, and addressed the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Commerce. He also taught a summer music/technology course while doing some classes at Harvard Law School at the invitation of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society in Boston, MA, USA.

Makonnen has spoken twice at the United Nations in New York on technology in education and entertainment/music and technology, and was also the only non-American among 5 top tech teens in the world invited as special guests to the 2000 opening of the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Convention Hall in Orlando Florida. In 2004, Makonnen joined in the forming of Evolvinx LLC With US partner Reza Kahn to advise private sector and government clients on technology development, communication and security solutions for the next generation. Their clients include: CitiCorp, Viacom, HBO and others.

MUSIC DEVELOPMENT
Makonnen’s musical career took a back seat to his development as an IT whiz-kid, but when his contract ended in 2001, he was able to give his musical talent more attention. In 2001 he started MULTICAST ENTERTAINMENT and was one of 20 talented young Caribbean musicians and performers selected by leading entertainment lawyer Lloyd Stanbury to participate in the 2001 UNESCO Artists In Development program. After he was discovered by the legendary duo of Steely and Clevie (Dancehall/Reggae Pioneers) for having a talent for making rhythms, Makonnen was given complete use of their state-of-the-art studio and went on to provide recording opportunities for a long list of upcoming young artists to start their careers, such as: Erup, Wasp, Aidonia, Fanton Mojah and many more.

Makonnen produced and directed the first two songs and videos by Aidonia (“March Out” and “All and Everything”) that brought Aidonia to public attention and a recording contract with Cordel ‘Skatta’ Burell. Makonnen also produced and launched the first compilation album of young Jamaican dub poets such as Steppa, Ras Takura, Neto Meeks, Ginsu, DYCR, working with the great Mutabaruka and others that promoted the leading members and rebirth of the genre at events including Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest and Heineken Startime.

AWARDS
in 2004 Makonnen was the first recipient of the silver Youth Musgrave Medal for Information Technology presented by the Institute of Jamaica. In 2005 Makonnen/Multicast Entertainment was given a Gold Award as a Youth Entrepreneur in Latin America by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) & MasterCard at their annual meeting in Peru.

Makonnen also did an internship with the highly successful Jamaican record company Geejam/Forward Records, where he was mentored by multi-platinum record producer/mogul Clifton “Specialist” Dillon who discovered, produced and managed 2-time Grammy winner Shabba Ranks, Patra, Damion “Jr Gong” Marley, Italian reggae superstar/producer/engineer Alborosie and the newest international sensation from Jamaica OMI. He also worked under music mogul Jon Baker of Island/DefJam Records. This helped Makonnen to hone his skills as a music maker and a businessman, as he learned the standards and how to operate at the highest level of the music biz. Makonnen/Multicast Entertainment has also worked with MusicMogul Entertainment/Empire Promotions to present shows/concerts in Jamaica and Cayman Islands starring Sizzla, Beres Hammond and Sean Kingston.

Makonnen has been featured in such magazines/online: Time, Newsweek, the LA Times, National Geographic for Kids, Teen Magazine, Wired, RIDDIM Magazine Germany/Japan, United Reggae Magazine, Natty Dread and many others around the world in different languages.

Ever striving for higher heights, Ras Makonnen credits Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I and Reggae singer Bob Marley as his inspirations and life guides.

 

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