TECHNOLOGY 'WHIZ KID'
Long before he became a music producer, many people learned about Makonnen when he was appointed Youth Technology Consultant to the Jamaican Government in 1998 aged 13 years, making world news in Time and Newsweek magazines, as well as BBC-TV,The Jay Leno Show, National Geographic and the Los Angeles Times. Makonnen performed this assignment for 4 years, promoting the use of computers in education and training youths in computer use, especially website and graphic design, as well as digital audio-visual music and video production.
His pioneering work in the development of technology in Jamaica included the creation in 1998 of TechSchool Jamaica, an annual technology summer school for youths aged 10-18. Makonnen has spoken twice at the United Nations in New York on technology in education and entertainment, and was also the only non-American among 5 top tech teens in the world invited as special guests to the 2000 opening of the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Convention Hall in Orlando Florida.
He participated with 100 teens from around the world in the M.I.T. Media Lab Junior Summit (1998); and visited Universal Studios, Los Angeles as member of a Silver Award-winning team in the ThinkQuest International Youth Website competition (1999). Makonnen toured Guyana schools, sponsored by the (Jimmy) Carter Center, and addressed the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Commerce. He also taught a summer music technology course in Boston, USA at the invitation of the Harvard Law School Berkman Center with whom he worked to introduce a digital music programme in Jamaican prisons.
Makonnen’s musical career began at age 7 when he composed the theme song for "Kids Paradise", a movie with reggae star Freddie McGregor about 4 children who find a treasure map on a Jamaican resort holiday. From the age of 10 he ‘apprenticed’ in the studios of such famous Jamaican producers as "Computer Paul" Henton, 'Clevie' Browning, Don Corleone, Daniel 'Blacks' Lewis and Cordell ‘Scatta” Burrell, and sat in on recording sessions with Sean Paul, Capelton, Beenie Man and Sizzla Kalonji, to name a few.
Makonnen's musical career took a back seat to his development as an IT whiz-kid, but when his contracted ended in 2001, he was able to give his musical talent more attention. In 2001 he started his music production company MULTICAST ENTERTAINMENT, building computer-based rhythms to provide recording opportunities for a long list of upcoming young artists to start their careers.
|With Sizzla Kalonji, Lil Wayne, Streetz|
MAKONNEN produced and directed the first two songs and videos by dancehall artist Aidonia ("March Out" and "All and Everything") that brought him to public attention and a recording contract with Cordel 'Scatta' Burell. MAKONNEN also produced and launched the first compilation album of Jamaican dub poets that promoted the leading members of the genre at stage shows including Reggae Sumfest and Heiniken Startime. In 2005 his production company Multicast Entertainment was given a Gold Award by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) as one of 60 Youth Entrepreneurs in Latin America.
MAKONNEN continues to produce, record and promote music for a select roster of artists including Erup, Teflon, Andrew & Wadda Blood, Turbalance, Michael 'Ice' Lewis, Chozenn, Donahue Jarrett, Jabalance and ‘Best New Artist’ Konshens on the remix of the hit ’This Means Money – Hand-Middle A Scratch Mi’ .
Recent Makonnen production successes include “Pain” by Capelton, ft. Bobo Zaro and Contractor; “Jailhouse Rock’ by Teflon, and ‘Money Print’ by Junior Reid's sons Andrew and Wada Blood. Most importantly, Makonnen has been producer and composer on songs by leading artists such as Sizzla Kalonji, Sean Paul, Jr. Reid, including international work with Lil Wayne, Jamaican sensation Shifta, up and coming rap star ‘Kempo’ and Third World's Cat Coore and Bunny Rugs. Makonnen has also presented shows in Jamaica and Cayman Islands starring Beres Hammond and Sean Kingston.
Makonnen's catalogue of music ranges from the Roots Reggae of his Rasta upbringing, the dancehall riddims of contemporary Jamaica and the hip hop beats of Black US culture. Not forgetting his IT skills, Makonnen Joined in the forming of Evolvinx LLC With US partner Reza Kahn to advise private sector and government clients on technology development, communication and security soloutions for the next generation. Their clients include: CitiCorp, Viacom, HBO and other high end clients.
Ever striving for higher heights, Makonnen credits Reggae Psalmist Bob Marley as his chief inspiration and life guide.