Dublin singer Jazzy says getting free violin lessons in school started music career

Jazzy credits her local St Agnes’ Primary School on Armagh Road, Crumlin with giving her the skills to climb the ladder

Jazzy’s vocals featured on Belters Only hit Make Me Feel Good

Jazzy’s vocals featured on Belters Only hit Make Me Feel Good

Eddie RowleySunday World

Ireland’s new singing sensation Jazzy tells how free music tuition at primary school set her on the road to stardom.

The 26-year-old musician shot to fame last year as the vocalist on the dance duo Belters Only smash hit, Make Me Feel Good, which was number one in Ireland and reached No 4 in the UK charts alongside artists such as Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles.

It has led to the rising star landing her own record deal with Polydor records in Britain and the chance to have a major career.

But Jazzy, one of two daughters raised single-handedly by their mum in Crumlin, Dublin, credits her local St Agnes’ Primary School on Armagh Road with giving her the skills to climb the ladder, thanks to their initiative called The Music Project.

In 2006, Sister Bernadette Sweeney, former principal at St Agnes’ Primary School, and Dr Joanna Crooks, former director of the National Youth Orchestra, established The Music Project to give the children of St Agnes’ and Scoil Colm primary schools an opportunity to gain access to the world of classical music via the violin.

Jazzy’s vocals featured on Belters Only hit Make Me Feel Good

They raised funds to purchase 30 violins and this eventually led to the formation of the St Agnes’ and Scoil Colm School Orchestra.

The project began with each class being given a weekly violin lesson by volunteer music teachers.

Now flying high in the world of music, Jazzy tells the Sunday World: “I have to thank that music programme. I honestly don’t know if I’d be doing music today if it wasn’t for that programme, it’s amazing.

“I loved it and I stuck with it.

"Everybody knew me around the area and they called me ‘the girl with the violin.’ They’d always see me walking up and down the road with the violin case.

"I did all my grades and then I actually went back to that school to be an assistant violin teacher with the teacher that taught me.”

Jazzy says she has already achieved more than she imagined. “When I was young the neighbours used to be saying, ‘oh, you’re going to be famous!’ and I never actually thought anything of it.

“But those people are definitely after manifesting it for me. I’m really after topping what I thought I was going to be doing.”

The success of Make Me Feel Good put Jazzy in the spotlight last year and she appeared on the RTE show, The Main Stage, presented by Danny O’Reilly of The Coronas and singer Erica Cody.

“I’m kind of famous in my area now,” Jazzy laughs. “They come up to me and ask me for pictures, it’s really nice.”

Looking back on her childhood, Jazzy remembers that being half-Jamaican caused some issues for her among the other kids.

“There were a lot of times when I was the only person of colour in the classroom,” she says.

“Most of the time I didn’t have any trouble, but kids will be kids.

"I did have trouble at some stages in my life, but I was always proud of my heritage, so I didn’t let it get me down.

"I’m glad I didn’t because as I got older some of them wanted to be like me, they wanted their hair curly. I was prouder in the end.”

Her Jamaican father has never been in her life, but Jazzy says she’s proud of her paternal roots. “I’m not in contact with that side of my family, but I would never say I’m only Irish,” she reveals.

“I’ve never been to Jamaica and it’s completely foreign to me, but I’m going to go some day. I can’t do it for now because my life is very busy and full of everything I’ve wanted to do since I was small, so I’m very lucky.”

Jazzy pays tribute to her Dublin mother for ensuring that she and her sister had a happy childhood.

“She raised two of us on her own. I was always grateful to her because she did everything for us. She was always working and we didn’t want for anything.

“I had a strong woman in my life and now she is delighted for me. She is so excited for everything that is going on right now.”

Jazzy met the Belters Only duo, DJs Bisset and Robbie G, on the Dublin scene.

“Bisset and my partner are good friends and they grew up together,” Jazzy explains.

“Bisset had seen that I was singing and he invited me to do a recording session with him. The first one we made was Make Me Feel Good.

“I thought it was a great song, but never did I think that it was going to blow up the way it did…that was just insane and it still feels so surreal.”

  • Jazzy has just released her debut solo single, Giving Me, which is now available to stream.

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