Mr Jaz’s message of hope

Roeshdien Jaz, left, with EJ Von Lyrik.

Athlone musician Roeshdien Jaz, more popularly known as Mr Jaz, has remixed his latest single, Want What You Can’t Have, and it’s being released online this month.

Mr Jaz says the song is meant to give hope to those who are struggling. Originally released in 2018, the lyrics have been tweaked to capture the mood of lockdown.

The song speaks about wanting things we can’t have right now, such as visiting family, being outdoors, and wishing that things go back to normal.

“It’s for all those struggling, all those experiencing domestic violence, all those who have given up and lost hope,” he says. “I want to challenge and inspire other creatives to create music with both self and social awareness, not just for fun, in light of the pandemic that we are going through. I wanted to create a fun, up-beat song but with a purpose attached to it.”

The song is also dedicated to those struggling in their relationships but wanting to make them work.

The 42-year-old is a colon cancer survivor who celebrates eight years of being cancer free this year. He underwent three major surgeries and eight rounds of chemotherapy.

Once he recovered, he completed writing the single The Calling – a tribute to the late great Johnny Clegg, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. Released in May 2017, two years before Clegg succumbed to his illness in July 2019, it combined both English and indigenous languages.

It was while he was still in music school in 2003 that Mr Jaz started writing Want What You Can’t Have.

He recorded the original version in 2018.

The remix features Netherlands-based EJ Von Lyrik. The song will be released in support of the Ihata Shelter for abused Women and Children, in Heideveld.

Mr Jaz’s debut album Legends Never Die is 10 years in the making and will be released later this year.

There are several music genres on the 10-track album and each is for a different mood, he says, calling the compilation a tribute to some of his biggest inspirations, including Prophets of Da City, Godessa, MoodPhase5ive, Lucky Dube, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Johnny Clegg, Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur, Lauryn Hill, The Rat Pack, Arrested Development, Bobby McFerrin, Jason Mraz and Pharrell Williams.

“Having the privilege of being a creative, inherently comes with social responsibility. Mindfulness not perfection. Balance not perfection. Progress not perfection. Act from awareness.”

Nuraan Osman, the managing director of the Ihata Shelter, says 60 to 70% of proceeds from the sale of the new single will be donated to the shelter.

“Our message,” she says, “is to support local artists who are advocating for the protection of women and children and we are calling on the community to do the same.”