In any business, family is important. Jon J, video director for Maybach Music Group, can tell you that first hand. If you’re familiar with MMG’s impeccable visual roster, then you’ve seen Jon’s name flash more than enough times across your computer screen. I recently spoke with the visual mastermind about his gig with Rick Ross (MMG), how he got his start, his educational background, the trials and tribulations of directing videos and how one opportunity from a family member changed his life.
LowKey: What is your exact job title?
Jon J: Video Director for Dre Films / Maybach Films
What is your educational background?
Jon J: I graduated high school and thats it. No college or classes for any of this. I learned on sight. My cousin Dre Films brought the opportunity to me and from there I watched and studied his moves. Who better than to learn from every day? Pretty much learned the hustle and ran with it.
LowKey: What prior experiences did you go through to get to where you are today?
Jon J: I’ve always worked or hustled my whole life. So the working long hours & not sleeping much doesn’t bother me, it’s nothing new. Aside from that I’ve been around music since an early age. A lot of people I grew up with are well known dj’s , producers, rappers etc. Plenty of people in the music industry. Anyone that knows me, knows that music is a major part of my life. So I pretty much knew I would be doing something in the industry just didn’t know what. Until the opportunity came and it all made perfect sense.
LowKey: Talk about some of the trials and tribulations you endure?
Jon J: I think really just learning something that I had never worked with before. Gaining the confidence to go out and do my own videos and editing them without ever having any educational background. A lot of people have gone to school for years and have worked many jobs behind the scenes to try and make a name for themselves and haven’t been as lucky. I’m learning more and more everyday and just trying to perfect my craft with time.
LowKey: What’s your favorite part of your career?
Jon J: I think it would be just being around what I love the most everyday, which is music. I get to bring life to the songs that some of the biggest artists in the game right now are making. I get to watch, listen and bring ideas to the table when let’s say Wale or Meek Mill are recording their albums or mixtapes. Its an amazing feeling everyday. Aside from that the traveling and all the other perks aren’t too bad either. ha.
LowKey: What’s the least favorite part of your career?
Jon J: I can’t really complain at all. Nothing. But I think if you ask anyone that’s involved with this kind of lifestyle they would probably say the least favorite part is being away from your family and loved one’s all the time. You sacrifice a regular life to do what you love. But I’ve been a lot less busy before and I’d rather be doing this any day. No question.
LowKey: At what point did this become a career to you and not just a day job?
Jon J: I think the moment that Ross reached out and wanted us to work with him on a daily basis. I think that’s the moment I knew that a lot of doors would open and it was serious. This was right when he was coming off Teflon Don and working on Ashes to Ashes. So me and Dre have been fortunate enough to be here since then and when the Maybach Music Group deal was done with Warner Bros. Which then brought Wale & Meek into the situation and we’ve done classic videos for everyone on the team.
LowKey: Describe the feeling your career gives you in ONE word
Jon J: Motivation
LowKey: What are 3 tips you have for folks following in your footsteps.
Jon J: 1. Build Relationships: Don’t be so quick to ask for favors or tell artists to work with you. You gotta build relationships with people so that they can want to break bread with you. Everyone over here at Maybach is like family. We all get along and work well with each other. Thats why the work we do comes out so good.
2. Quality over Quantity: The way the game is set up now people put out videos every single day. We put out plenty of content every week. It’s fast pace. But at the same token we make sure the quality is there, thats why the fans always check for that official MMG logo when the any vlog or music video starts. They know its gonna be worth watching and have the best quality possible.
3. Be Patient and Stay Loyal: Your not gonna get to the top of the world over night. It takes time and lots of patience. If you work hard and focus that time will come. We still have a long way to go regardless of what we’ve accomplished in a short amount of time. With that being said you have to stay loyal to your team and the people that put you on. When your hot everyone will try and bring something to the table. All money isn’t good money. This game is crazy and people will try and use you if you let them. Make smart decisions.