"When I was a kid the only music I heard playing on my estate was reggae and hip-hop. It used to bounce of the concrete and resonate all around, I guess that's why my sound has such deep roots in both genres...".
Jimmy looks and acts like an artist in total control of his talent and you only have to listen to his music to confirm that statement.
Growing up in south east london, a young child heard artists like Tippa Irie and Poppa Levi in the open air sound systems of the 80's. He was also exposed to American imports like RUN DMC and LL cool J, marvelling at their brash style and creative fashion sense.
"I knew they were on to something big and I just wanted to be a part of it", he says smiling broadly with both arms folded.
His opportunity came in with Grinnin Records, an independent label ran by Sony A&R executive Andrew Asamoah and they released two singles in. The first was a track called "City where I'm from" (an ode to London and all it's vibrance) and the second, a self entitled song called "Jimmy" a hard hitting street anthem that pulled no punches. Both received considerable specialist radio play from KISS 100 and Choice FM...
He also lent his vocal skills to a Ray Keith remixed drum and base smash "Rain Check" along with voicing a remix for soul artist Genuwine for his track "I'm in love" Jimmy then worked on a project with three former school/college friends called Urban Gemz. The foursome released two mixtapes on the underground entitled" Off the Block" vol 1 and 2, receiving airplay on ITCH FM and Powerjam radio stations.
"I knew my music was different from everyone else but I didn't really know what to do with it"....
The underground knew who Jim Screech was by now but he wanted more. His big break came through a mutual friend when he was introduced to Mercury prize nominee Roots Manuva.
Roots' was impressed by Jim's effortless movement from reggae to hip-hop within his songs and agreed to release some 7 inches on his Banana Klan record label. The first song was "Let's get moving" a funky reggae summer jam that got four and five star reviews in Mix Mag and IDJ publications selling 2000 copies. This was soon followed by independent album "In this life" which recieved critical acclaim, so much so that Roots allowed Jim to support him on his "Awfully Deep" U.K tour and play alongside him at Glastonbury 2005.... "I felt like I had arrived but I still wanted more".
This could very well be the beginning in the resurgence of British reggae music and the start of a whole new chapter for Mr Screech....Hats off to you sir...