WHY HE ROCKS
He's not afraid to go for it.
Please remember us when you're rich and famous.
My Turn by Lil Baby. Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial by Roddy Ricch. Astroworld by Travis Scott. These are some of Jonah Little’s favourite rap albums. These are also the albums that helped him get started in the world of loops and beats.
It started just over a year ago, during the summer of 2020. Jonah and a friend decided to start creating and selling beats under a shared name: Little Beatz. Jonah was the musician/creator and his friend took care of the business side of things. Jonah would make the beats and his friends would market and sell them to producers world-wide. Jonah’s tracks were being purchased by artists in Asia, Europe, Australia and South America. As a duo, they were making good money. They were having fun. But today Little Beatz is no longer active. Why? “Because we had to go back to school and wanted to spend more time hanging out with our friends versus putting all our time into growing a business!” says Jonah, laughing. Right. Based on the scale of what he’s doing, it’s easy for us to forget that Jonah is 16 years-old and still has a high school diploma to pursue.
LIFE AS A SOLO ARTIST & ENTREPRENEUR
Despite Little Beatz being on an indefinite hiatus, Jonah continues to charge full speed ahead, but now on his own. Since the fall, he’s personally assumed the roles of marketing, business development and sales on top of creating and recording his music. Jonah started by using Wikipedia to research his favourite rap albums and, more specifically, who produced them. He then reached out to these producers via social media and looked to capture their contact info in his growing database of rap producers. “I’m constantly networking, even during school,” admits Jonah, “I use Instagram to connect with producers and share my work.”
What exactly is Jonah’s work? He’s working to create and record myriad loops which he then sends to producers. These producers use his loops to create beats, which in this context refers to the instrumental track that a rapper uses to accompany their lyrics. And what exactly is a loop? It’s effectively a short melody that’s under a minute long. When Jonah’s creating a loop, he’s typically recording a track of him playing guitar, keys or other software instruments. He was recently feeling a bit stuck with one of his loops, so he brought it up in his private guitar lesson with Dan: “we worked on [the loop] in my lesson and by the end of it, we had it figured out, which was helpful.”
Now that Jonah has his foot in the door, it’s starting to pay off. He recently co-produced a song with an upcoming artist who’s signed to the label of well-known rapper, Polo-G. This led to another producer, who’s based in Sweden, being turned on to Jonah’s work and now Jonah regularly sends him a bunch of loops for him to consider for his upcoming projects. Jonah has served as a co-producer on a few different projects, including a couple tracks that have been picked up by the up and coming rapper, Scorey. Jonah shows no signs of slowing down as his work continues to pick up traction across borders.
LIFE OUTSIDE OF LOOPS...AND SOME HONEST ADVICE
Amidst all the loops and beats, Jonah’s still clear on his priorities: “the first thing I do when I get home from school is my homework.” We asked him if he’s in any sort of academic placement programs or what drives his focus on academics. “I just really hate homework so I want to get it over as soon as possible.” There’s nothing we like better than a good honest answer.
Jonah’s not entirely sure where his music is going to take him. When we asked about his plans post-high school, he said he’s currently thinking either music or aviation. The one catch with aviation? He gets motion sickness every time he’s up in the air. Shoot.
Avoid trying to fit within an existing niche when it comes to developing your own sound.
If you’re looking to start producing your own loops, Jonah has some honest advice: “before you jump into working with other producers and sending stuff, get actually good at what you’re doing. I jumped into things without having a clear understanding of what the industry standards were.” He also encourages artists to avoid trying to fit within an existing niche when it comes to developing their own sound. “Everyone says that my style today is unique and different. And that this is what separates me from the rest.”
JONAH, HIS GUITAR & HIS FAM
When it comes to the musical side of things, Jonah has put in his time. He grew up in a home that had open-tuned guitars lying around and a family who encouraged all things music. When Jonah was about 10 years old, his parents heard about Backbeat and we’ve been lucky to rock out with him ever since. Jonah's taken private lessons and played in a few different rock bands over the years. "My first paid gig was with Backbeat!" Jonah laughs, "it was when we performed at that Rec Room show!" Why has Jonah stuck around? Because "Backbeat's awesome. You get to collaborate with great people who love music. I really liked being put in a band and being exposed to other people like me with different ideas."
“Backbeat's awesome. You get to collaborate with great people who love music."
Jonah’s parents, John and Kyla, have similar thoughts: “Jonah has grown so much as a musician since he's been at Backbeat. He's become talented on guitar and developed his technical skills along with a good understanding of music theory.” Jonah started on guitar, but has picked up a few other instruments over the years, including drums, keys and a bit of bass. John and Kyla feel that “seeing all the Backbeat instructors playing multiple instruments has [had] such a great influence on him.”
As a family, the Little’s have been one of those families who have been with us ‘through it all.’ On an average Friday afternoon, John could often be found sitting on our black leather couch, waiting for Jonah to finish his music lessons, engaging in some easy-flowing conversation with whoever was around. It’s always been clear that a true love of music and learning runs deep in their family and, for those of you who know the Little’s personally, we’re sure you’ll agree that they’re one of those families that’s hard not to love.
Thanks Jonah, Kyla and John for continuing to inspire us with your love of music and your approach to life. You all totally rock.
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