Today is International Music Day and I could not be more thrilled to be bringing my passion for music & JAM together again to share my heart with all of you!
For those of you who do not know my story, it is time to get nostalgic! When I was 12 years old, I met Peter & Ann Pretorius, the founders of JAM, in a board room. I went to ‘Take Your Child to Work Day’ with my mother in 2007. JAM was using the board room in the office that my mother worked at for a meeting. My mother asked if I wanted to meet South African people! I had never encountered anyone from a place so foreign to me, so I excitedly let her know that I was keen!
When I met Peter and Ann Pretorius, I knew my life was going to change. Though I did not understand or discern the feeling I had on that day until later in my life, it was the Holy Spirit moving in me when I heard their story.
I quickly fell in love with the work that JAM does and acquired the JAM heartbeat! I began fundraising with a tin can and aimed to raise $60 so that I could feed a child for a year. I spoke about JAM in my classes at school, at halftime during my basketball games, at my church youth group, and with anyone else I would encounter.
In high school, I became very involved in the local music scene. I was running merch for friends in local bands, carrying gear in and out of venues on the weekends, and hanging out in studios as I was completely infatuated with the business side of the music industry.
I began marketing and promoting bands locally and regionally. A band from Minnesota, who later became known as Owl City, came through Michigan on their first tour and I was able to secure a gig for them. We made an agreement that the ticket proceeds would benefit JAM’s feeding programmes if I provided orange soda and pizza for them.
A line formed outside of The Pike Room in Pontiac, Michigan the night of the show. By the time the first band went on, we were told we had to close the doors because the gig had sold out! This was the birth of Bands that JAM for Africa.
For 7 years, I ran Bands that JAM for Africa in Detroit and later Nashville to pursue my passion for music and JAM. This year, I graduated from Belmont University in music city USA with the honor of accepting the Lumos Travel Scholarship! This scholarship has enabled me to work as the Global Social Media Intern at JAM International in South Africa for 6 months, travel across this beautiful country, and meet wonderful people.
I know that music will always be a essential in my life. Music is the language of the world. Music...makes the people...come together...yeah! Music has connected and led me to meet friends across the world. I believe music can be used as a mechanism for social change. It has throughout history and it still can today.
So, here’s the story of my new friend Majozi. He is using music for good in South Africa!