John Crawford, better known as JonFX, is a multi-platinum music producer who lives and breathes music.
As he told his story to Caribbean America Web, Crawford, at times, broke into song, beatboxed and mimicked musical instruments. Crawford is a walking band. He plays the piano, guitar, drums and bass guitar and has used his musical expertise to create hits for some of the most popular dancehall, reggae, hip-hop and pop artists.
Although Crawford was born in Jamaica in the 1980s, his love affair with music goes as far back as the 19th century. Crawford, who describes himself as a student of life, was taught about music’s history by his father, a scholar, professional and preacher.
“[My father] studied the time of music and the impact of that it had on people,” Crawford said.
Crawford’s scholastic journey into music went way back to the days of the gramophone. His father used to play him recordings made with the device, not knowing that it was also a foreshadow into his son’s later life. Crawford was a governor on the Grammy’s Florida chapter, solidifying his position in the music industry.
“He introduced me to something called Spanish classic, Portuguese, because it’s really Black people classical music,” Crawford said. “So he started me there for me to understand, especially what the music was, and this was music they used to play for kings.”
Crawford also studied the work of Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, Josephine Baker and Scott Joplin. Predictably, Crawford was a student of reggae, which became popular during the era of his birth.
As a teen, Crawford started hanging out at Caveman Studios, where he formed a profound Rastafarism influence in his music. In the late 90s, Crawford produced “My Donna” by reggae artist Half Pint, “Gun Session” by Vybz Kartel and “Pum Pum” by Spragga Benz. He later made several tracks for Sizzla, Bounty Killa, Wayne Wonder, Gyptian and many more dancehall and reggae artists.
Crawford also helped create a new market in Caribbean music with crossover, cover songs of popular music from other genres. It started with the Kartel remix of Akon and Jeezy’s “Soul Survivor.” The song curated by DJ Obsession featured Sizzla and Shabba Ranks. It also featured a shoutout to JonFX. Crawford said it was a moment that propelled his career.
Crawford has also worked closely with the late rapper XXXTentacion, which again morphed Caribbean music with another world of melodic art. This year, Crawford reunited with the dancehall boss, Kartel for “Stay with Me” and “Cute Rider Reggaeton” on Kartel’s latest album, “Of Dons and Divas.”
Still, Crawford’s definition of success is “service to humanity at the highest level.” He recently awarded a college scholarship through his company, Fx Music Group, which he sees as music’s future.