Skandik Afrik had the opportunity to interview Jason Diakité, known under his stage name Timbuktu. He is born and raised in Lund in Sweden, on 11th January 1975. Since the release of his first single, Lifestress in 1996, he has released 9 albums on which he had won five Grammies between 2002-2005 in Sweden and has sold gold on Alla vill till himmelen men ingen vill dö album both in Sweden and Norway. Alongside this, he has had several radio programs and been a host on TV. Adding to his fleet of achievement he recently won a Grammy award as the best Hip-hop and soul for the year 2012 in Sweden.
Where did the idea of using Timbuktu as an artist name came from?
I got the idea from reading an article about African kings that ruled in Timbuktu (Mali) during the 1300 century, this was towards the end of the 80: s. Since I had such a great interest for African history I became very inspired and impressed by how highly developed the civilization was at the time not to mention I thought the name was kind of cool. Also some years later my father showed me a family tree that he had drawn in 1974. At the top of the family tree there was a woman that apparently liked to be referred to as Timbuktu. I find this kind of funny not to mention cool since this was an artist name I choose before ever seeing the family tree.
When and why did you start with music?
I started writing lyrics at age of 14 because I felt very inspired by hip hop and could identify myself with it.
Where did you find inspiration when composing music?
Right now I find my inspiration from traveling, reading news, books and many other things.
Which artist/artists has/have been an inspirational source to you?
There so many but among these is an old hip hop group, A tribe called Quest, James brown, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, D’Angelo, Prince etc.
D’Angelo came to Sweden to perform did you go to see him?
Yes I did and it was absolutely amazing seeing him perform live.
Are there any artist that you wish to collaborate with, that would be a dream come true?
A collaboration with Prince would be a dream come true. He is one of the artists I admire.
Where in the world have you toured so far?
We have toured all over the world but haven’t been to Australia yet. But most of the touring is in Scandinavia countries.
Where in African have you toured with your music?
The most recent was in Senegal. Besides from that we have performed in Malawi, Congo, South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique etc. One of the goals we have is to perform in all African countries.
You were part of musikhjälpen (music help) that took place in Gothenburg 2011, how was that experience and would you do it again?
I have been part of it for three years in a row now and I have to say it is very challenging since we broadcast live from a cage for six days in which we are allowed a minimum amount of sleep and food for a good cause. It is among the funniest projects I have taken part of and very exciting and unpredictable because everything we broadcasted was live and I would definitely like to take part of it again.
What are your future plans?
I recently released a collection of album called, Pusselbitar, it is a collection of songs that I have released from the past 12 years. I will be working on some new tracks during spring. I will be travelling to Cuba some weeks from now and during summer I will be touring in Sweden.
Last but not the least how are you celebrating Valentine ’s Day?
I will be going to the Grammy Award (Swedish Grammy Award) with my girlfriend.
Timbuktu-Alla vill till himmelen men få vill då. The song that sold gold, both in Sweden and Norway.
Timbuktu- Allt Grönt. One of the singles on the latest album.