After gaining success on the dancehall scene, deejay Zumjay, known for the hits Courtney, Zumjay News and Dancing Team, seemed to disappear. Many wondered what happened to the artiste but now it has been revealed that he will soon be deployed overseas as part of an Army battalion.His first tour of duty may be sometime later this year.
“My primary reason for enlisting in the army was to provide security for me and my family. The music industry, although it is my first love, doesn’t provide a pension so this is my alternative,” he said.
“I cannot rely on music five years from now, I cannot have the quality of my life dependent on whether some selector plays my song or not, or whether a promoter wants to book me for a show. I have to look past that.”
Zumjay intends to jumpstart his tertiary education while completing his tour of duty with the Army. Using the US Army’s resources which encourage tertiary education, Zumjay will be reading for a degree in video arts and technology at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.
“I will also have the opportunity to secure my daughter’s college tuition as well, so this is a big opportunity for me,” he said.
Zumjay endured a 10 week period of Basic Combat Training and another eight weeks of Advanced Individual training but luckily, the deejay had spent a couple of weeks before enlistment whipping his body into shape.
“It was very challenging mentally and physically. I had to get up and run five miles a day every morning at a pace set by the drill sergeant. There is no choice as to how fast you will be running, it wasn’t easy but I was an athlete at KC, so it was more mental, being away from my family, my wife Aviesha and my daughter Safiyah,” he said.
He was married on November 29 in 2006 to adolescent sweetheart Aviesha Palmer, a Cornel grad who is a risk analyst for a major firm in New York and has a nine month old daughter who was born in June 2008.
“She supports me 100 per cent and as a well educated person, she sees it as an avenue to get where I want to go,” he said about his wife.
He then talked about his lack of fear that he might be killed in the line of duty.“No fear. I am well trained, disciplined, physically and mentally tough. I believe in God, I pray to Him each day and night to let me go back home safely to my family and to guide my steps…this is just my time to make things happen outside of music. I see Zumjay as not just a performer but as a contributor to society and I am ready to play my part,” he said.