Armed with an enviable collection of CDs and vinyls and still only in his pre-teens, Guy Robin spent day and night mixing the decks from his bedroom.
Sixteen years later, the hard work has more than paid off, with the talented producer and songwriter – now better known by his stage name, Jonas Blue – becoming a fixture on the international charts.
His version of Fast Car, featuring Dakota, earned him two Brit Award nominations earlier this year and his new track Mama, recently passed 100 million views on
When we speak, he’s just returned to the UK after playing to a crowd of 130,000 in Las Vegas – and is about to jet off again in a few days on a whistle-stop tour of four countries.
Not bad for the Jewish boy from Barkingside, whose astronomical rise to chart success began a little over two years ago.
“It’s been crazy,” confesses the 27-year-old, who loves the fast pace of his new-found fame, but equally wishes he could spend more time at home. “I do miss Friday night dinners, that good quality time with your family.”
Jonas’ interest in music began at a young age, when the King Solomon High School pupil first took up the flute and piano, before dabbling with DJing.
He refers to Max Martin, the hit producer behind Ace of Base, Backstreet Boys, ’NSync, Britney Spears and Katy Perry among others as his “musical hero”, and says he grew up listening to his parents’ soul, funk, disco and pop – as well as Israeli music.
“That’s something people wouldn’t necessarily know about,” explains Jonas, “But I was brought up on a lot of Middle Eastern music, Arabic and Israeli, and it heavily influences my sound.
“If you listen to a lot of choruses in my songs, you’ll hear synth lines that are inspired by that music, those rhythms and sounds.”
His mum also loved Tracy Chapman, which brings us neatly onto a remake of Fast Car, his debut smash hit of 2015, which went platinum and peaked at number two in the UK Singles Chart.
At the time, Jonas was busy establishing himself under his real name on the DJ circuit and by his own admission, he didn’t have any expectations for the single to become a global sensation.
“I had no goals or aspirations for Fast Car, it was just something from my DJ sets and I wasn’t even trying to get it signed.
“I think that’s the beauty of it – I wasn’t trying too hard with that record and yet it went to number one in more than 40 countries.
“It was already a great song, but I knew it just needed a reimagination to bring it to the new generation, a little bit of extra magic.”
His reworked version of Fast Car, featuring newcomer Dakota, also brought a change of name for the aspiring DJ and songwriter who wanted “something fresh”.
Having been influenced by Scandinavian music, he chose Jonas as his first name and Blue “because it sounds refreshing” – although fans will be interested to hear his favourite colour is actually orange.
Since then, Jonas has topped the charts with three more singles – Perfect Strangers, featuring J P Cooper, By Your Side, with British singer Raye and Mama, featuring Australian artist William Singe.
Looking to future collaborations, Jonas has been busy speaking to the likes of Ellie Goulding, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – all established acts in the music industry – although he is not averse to working with unknown acts and says “there’s something special about finding those new artists”.
He tells me: “At the start I had no choice, because no one big wanted to work with me, but I knew from my background in music that I could produce great artists and get them to that next level.
“I was on the hunt and had the idea of finding new artists to develop.
“Now I’m in a very fortunate position, but there’s still something special about finding those new artists, developing them and putting them on these big records.”
Despite being incredibly busy on the road and in the studio, Jonas has managed to squeeze in the release of Electronic Nature – The Mix 2017, a 60-track album of house, dance and electronic anthems, as well as another single, which comes out in October.
Mama ft. William Singe, and Electronic Nature – The Mix 2017, are out now