Childhood & Early Life
JME was born Jamie Adenuga, in Hackney, London, on May 4, 1985, to Nigerian immigrant parents with Ethiopian roots. Soon after he was born, the family moved to Tottenham in North London and lived in a council house due to lack of options. The family was not too rich and could not afford a house in a city as expensive as London.
Jamie grew up with three siblings: brothers Joseph and Jason, and a sister, Julie. Julie made a career in music and became a popular DJ and radio presenter in London.
One of Jamie’s brothers, Joseph, aspired to become a musician since a tender age. Jamie was close to him, and both the brothers listened to music a lot.
Jamie attended ‘St. Paul’s School’ and then ‘Winchmore School.’ He was academically brilliant. During his teenage years, he loved listening to music. However, he had never thought of pursuing music as a career option. After graduating high school, he attended the ‘University of Greenwich.’ He studied 3D and digital design in college, while Joseph had already begun his stint as a rapper.
While Jamie was in college, the grime music genre was just starting to gain its influence in the UK. It had already become extremely popular in the US. After graduating with a first-class honors degree, Jamie was influenced by the developing grime scene in the UK. Several new grime artists were becoming famous and rich, and the brothers decided to try their hand at it.
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In 2003, they joined the newly formed grime group ‘Meridian,’ which already had a few successful grime artists such as Big H and Paper Pablo. The crew made songs but did not have any record label supporting them. They took the route of pirate radio and became famous in the London underground music scene. They set up their base in Tottenham.
However, the group could not hold itself together and disbanded around 2005. This was because a few affiliates of the group were charged with murder and were convicted. Jamie and Joseph thought it was better to distance themselves from the group.
Several members from the group made a separate group known as the ‘Bloodline Family’ and started their own record label. Meanwhile, Jamie and Joseph formed their own group, ‘Boy Better Know.’ The group was founded in late 2005. Initially, they had other business plans before they ventured into making music full-time.
With the growth of the group, they needed money to run it. They continued to work with many members of their former group, ‘Meridian,’ and collaborated with them on several projects. ‘Boy Better Know’ initially made money by selling printed T-shirts that became highly popular with the youth of London. The crew also managed to get a regular spot on ‘Rinse FM’ and started promoting themselves.
Around 2006, Jamie started making music of his own. He made ringtones for mobile phones, which was a fast-growing industry back in those days. He slowly began using better software such as ‘Fruity Loops’ and ‘Logic Studio.’ Meanwhile, he also continued to earn through his 3D designs as a freelancer.
By 2008, he had started making music full-time. Prior to that, he and his brother had worked on several mixtapes and had released them. Most of their mixtapes were played in a north London nightclub named ‘Straight Outta Bethnal.’ They became famous and Jamie began working on his own debut album.
In July 2008, Jamie released his debut album, ‘Famous?,’ and made it available for download around the world. The album consisted of 15 songs and was an instant success. It was clear that JME was heavily influenced by American rapper Eminem, as one of his songs, ‘Serious,’ clearly borrowed some elements from Eminem’s song ‘Who Knew.’
Of the 15 tracks from the album, JME produced six. The album was released on ‘iTunes’ and soon introduced JME to the mainstream world of grime music. Its success helped ‘Boy Better Know’ become a successful label.
’Boy Better Know’ started hiring several more rappers, and the crew increased. His older brother, Joseph, had also released a few successful albums under the same label by then.
Inspired by its success, JME started working on his next album soon. In September 2009, he teased his fans by releasing a single from his next album, ‘Over Me.’ In the months that followed, he built anticipation for his second album by releasing more singles. He also recorded a single called ‘CD is Dead,’ which took a jibe at the digitalization of music via the internet.
In October 2010, the album ‘Blam!’ was officially released. Its cover design was made by his younger brother, Jason, and JME flaunted it on his ‘Twitter’ account. The album was a bigger hit than JME’s previous album and became his first album to be featured on the ‘UK Albums Chart.’ It reached the 66th spot. The album consisted of 16 singles, of which only two were produced by JME.
In 2011, JME released a compilation album titled ‘History,’ which reached the 162nd spot on the ‘UK Albums Chart.’ There were some tracks that were fresh, while many were lifted from previous JME mixtapes and albums.
In early 2012, JME released his most successful single so far. The single, titled ’96 Fuckries,’ reached the third spot on the ‘UK Indie Chart.’ He took five years to release his third studio album, ‘Integrity>.’ It became his most critically acclaimed album to date and received a nomination for the ‘IMPALA Album of the Year’ award.
JME dated Sarah Cavanagh for a long time, before the couple tied the knot in August 2016. In May 2018, Sarah gave birth to their daughter, Rose.
Unlike other rappers, JME stays away from drugs, alcohol, and unnecessary clashes with other rappers.