Industry veteran Sid “Uncle Jamz” Johnson has withstood through the soul, funk, disco, funk-rock, jazz-fusion and hip hop eras as an artist manger, music producer, songwriter, publisher and entertainment consultant- to name a few.
An Indianapolis native, Sid was first bitten by the music bug after seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. From there he went on become the lead singer in numerous rock and R&B bands.
These days Sid is no longer interested in performing, and even scowls at the memories of himself as a singer. He decided to focus his efforts on producing and songwriting; the creative process of making a record. His writing efforts have earned him several industry accolades; 2 Grammy participation awards for Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together”, a Grammy nomination for “I Still Love You” by Next, 3 Billboard Music Awards, 6 BMI Awards, 8 gold albums, 6 platinum albums, 4 multi-platinum albums, 2 gold singles, 1 platinum single and several Top 100 charting singles.
He credits his long-time friendship with Babyface for bearing much of the fruit. “Kenny and I first met in band in the Seventies, along with his older brother Melvin (whom eventually became a member of After 7)”, he reflects, “When Kenny joined Manchild in 1976, we clicked, we both liked movies and roller coasters”. Together they co-wrote the Midnight Star ballad “Slow Jam”. A few years later, the two would then collaborate again on “Two Occasions” (along with Dee Bristol) and that tune became a Top 10 pop hit for The Deele.
In the Nineties the music business made a substantial left turn in the eyes of Uncle Jamz, R&B was fading out and the new kid on the block was rap music and the hip-hop culture. “Unlike a lot of my peers that hated on rap, I accepted it and recognized it was here to stay”, he says. He used his business acumen to be an entertainment consultant, and his musical ability as a producer to oversee several rap projects. He worked with several indie labels and ended up doing work with a few southern hip-hop acts, with the most notable being Field Mob (of whom he helped to land them a major label deal with The Universal Music Group). The association brought about the highly successful single “Sick Of Being Lonely”.
His favorite things in life are: baseball (specifically The Los Angeles Dodgers), making chili, drinking Pepsi, watching good suspense movies, listening to his favorite musical artists: guitarist Jeff Beck, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Midnight Star, Babyface, Gladys Knight, The O’Jays, Anthony Hamilton and Chante` Moore.
“Life is a challenge, and it sometimes challenges you”, he says with a pondering expression, “They say it is what you make it, but sometimes it is what it makes you”.