You may know the names of singers Jah Reddis and Mongrel, but the man behind their magic in music is none other than Khaj “Don Writa” Thompson.
The producer and businessman is goal oriented and for the near future, he plans to market his production company better and use capital to invest in more equipment.
Though operating from a home-based studio in 3rd Avenue, Peterkins, St Michael, Don Writa has been pulling out all the stops to produce A-grade music. The 2018 hit Talk Ya Talk by Jah Reddis on the Bang Dibby Dibby Riddim was the art of Don Writa; it has amassed over 70, 000 views on YouTube. Mongrel’s songs of Flexible, Looser Di Goose and Slim Thick were produced by Don Writa as well.
The 28-year-old was not exempt from COVID-19’s impact, but he said he used the time to prepare himself mentally for being on a bigger platform and operating from a much larger studio space.
Don Writa took Bajan Vibes on a journey back in time by explaining how it all started for him.
In 2008, while at Christ Church Foundation School, he started putting music together as a shy 16-year-old.
“Around that time, I used to sing and from being in the studio at Emce’s Production, I started to take a bigger interest in music because I always wondered how it is done and I just went from there.”
Since his start more than a decade ago Khaj lamented that Barbadian artistes still need access to bigger platforms to see success in their music.
“Even in our online world everything is too local based. We need more programmes developed here that have a foothold in other places. I do not think we have enough platforms here that take us further. It just gives us success in catering to the local market.”
Khaj knows that he has his work cut out for him, and he explained that he is prepared to weather any storm that comes his way.
“Every day is a new challenge in music. It is a difficult industry. It is one of the industries with the lowest success rates, so that is one of the challenges.
“Sometimes you have a good song and people love the song but then there are cases where the song doesn’t get enough rotation and road play. Sometimes you have so many songs in the market that the song gets lost in the market.”
However, despite the problems which may pop up, Khaj boasts of some of his proudest moments to date which include working with Jah Reddis and MarzVille.
“It was not my production, but I did the vocal recording for the song Sit Down Pun It. I also worked with Amanda Ogese now Azura and Saddis.”
The name Don Writa speaks to someone who is a genius when it comes to scripting lines, and this is who Khaj is.
“The name all started with writing songs. From an early age, I just started writing. When there was the clash with Vybz Kartel and Mavado I took interest in playing with the word Writa; this was when Mavado told Kartel that he is a songwriter.
“I started calling myself Writa and my friend at school told me that my name needed something more. We had a music group called the 246 Mafia, and he said you know the Mafia always has the Don and he said you do so much writing we can call you Don Writa and that is how Don Writa was born,” he said with a hint of laughter in his voice.
Khaj wants to leave a legacy behind, but most importantly he wants to be a music personality.
“In a lot of cases, people hear about a name but when they meet the person they are turned off by an awful personality. I would like people to know my personality as well. I would like to leave behind a legacy for the younger generations in my family. I want them to carry on the name.
“Also, for young people who might be interested in music if they don’t know where and how to start, I would like to leave a legacy that inspires people who love music.”
His mother who is now one of his biggest supporters was not discouraging when he started out in production, but Khaj said that her reaction was unsure to how profitable his career would be.
“One of the biggest problems was her and an old person in the neighbourhood hearing a lot of loud music constantly. That was the main thing there, and seeing so many different faces coming [to the house] to record. But now that she has seen some progress, she is proud of what I have done and she’s always encouraging my clients and she’s always excited to meet them. The support has evolved.”
Outside of music, Khaj is a big foodie, and he is hoping to officially launch a fast food business and any other investment that comes to mind.
Times are often tough but Khaj said that he tries to keep his energy up and he also had some advice for younger artistes.
“My main thing is to keep clean, positive vibes within my energy. I would also advise younger artistes to learn as much as possible about the business side of things because that is where it could get really complicated. As you are into the music, don’t ever leave out your other forms of employment because entertainment is a big industry and sometimes you may need other forms of income to take your music to the next level,” the producer told Bajan Vibes.