Meet Quincy Delight Jones III
Two things in particular hint at the identity of the houseboat tenant just outside Stockholm – a framed gold disc from 1987 leans against one of the walls, while countless fishing lures of varying shapes and sizes are spread around the living room.
This is QJIII
Full name: Quincy Delight Jones III
Family: Two children
Career: Music producer, film producer, author, jury member of Swedish Idol 2016
Quincy Delight Jones III’s business card could possibly read “documentary maker” or “music producer” due to the years he has spent working with hip-hop superstars. Or perhaps “businessman, former child actor and Idol jury member.”
Ask QD3, as he’s widely known though, and he would add “fishing fanatic.”
“I’m absolutely obsessed with fishing. If I see a tiny ring on the water outside here at 4am, I rush straight out with my rod,” he says with a laugh.
During his career, Quincy Jones III has also been brilliant at fishing for new stars – a talent he put to good use last year as a member of the jury of the 12th season of the popular Swedish TV program Idol.
'His father is the legendary producer Quincy Jones Jr (the man behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” among others) so music clearly runs through QD3’s veins.
“As a three-year-old, I used to sit in the living room at home with my hand on a loudspeaker. Even at that age, I could feel the music, the vibration of the bass. I later became a sound engineer,” QD3 says.
He really fell for music seriously as a teenager when hip-hop came to Sweden. The gold disc on the houseboat is for the single Stockholmsnatt from the eponymous movie. QD3 narrates the movie and his dance group Bezerk is behind its title track.
In the years before his movie debut, Jones put his all into hip-hop.
“At that time, there was no one who danced, sang and rapped all at the same time. That was what we in Bezerk wanted to be, the hip-hop version of Michael Jackson. In those days, you felt like an outsider in Sweden if you had an afro. People in stores gave us funny looks, we didn’t have an identity. The arrival of hip-hop gave us a platform. We were suddenly cool. And I guess I liked the attention! Even so, I was shy.”
He switches between English and Swedish when he talks, starting in one language and finishing in another. When he returned to Sweden last year for Idol, QD3 hadn’t lived in Sweden since his teens, when he left for the USA.
First in New York and then in Los Angeles, he found himself at the center of the growing hip-hop scene. At first, record companies simply saw him as the son of Quincy Jones, rather than an organized sound engineer who wanted to produce rough hip-hop from the streets.
“I had the ultimate luxury of getting to see two worlds. For three weeks every year, I lived with my dad in Los Angeles and hung out with Steven Spielberg and met Michael Jackson. But the rest of the time I had to tough it out like everyone else. I lived in the Bronx with rats and roaches during the crack epidemic. And I was in South Central in LA in the 90s when it was the murder capital of the US. I saw all this with my own eyes. Those experiences have given me a broad view of life that I wouldn’t swap for anything. Dad has always been a big support throughout my life. We still work together today. He has enormous energy and still keeps track of all new music,” QD3 says.
As a music producer, QD3’s CV is mouthwatering to anyone who loves hip-hop. In the 90s, he got to know and work with big names such as Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur and LL Cool J.
“I wanted to be known as the producer with the best understanding of the technique. I gained a good reputation because I was quiet but driven and far more organized and technical than everyone else at the time. I didn’t sit down and drink or smoke with the artists in the studio. Fuck that, I’m here to work,” QD3 says.
‘I’m absolutely obsessed with fishing. If I see a tiny ring on the water outside here at 4am, I rush straight out with my rod’
He also started using a video camera at an early stage to document new talents such as Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Will.I.Am. The idea was to hook new talents quickly and then sit on material that would become valuable. Meanwhile, as a movie producer and director, QD3 is also behind several million-selling and lauded hip-hop documentaries.
“Everyone has a talent in life. Mine is that I have a gut feeling about the future. As a producer, I worked with maybe five people in my career who all became huge stars, artists like Dr Dre, Ice Cube and Tupac. As a filmmaker, I also found new talents. And this is what I am continuing to do now with Idol.
At the time of writing, a new season of Idol has not yet been confirmed, but QD3 hopes it will happen. “The seeds have been sown and we can harvest them next year,” he says. Plus, he would love to stay longer in his former home country.
“I think I’ve been yearning to come here for a pretty long time. Things went well for me in the US, but every time I came over to Sweden, I felt better. That’s still the case. I’ve always loved Sweden and felt Swedish,” he says.
During the early 90s, QD3 also took a big interest in the internet and he has built up a large archive of video material from his documentaries and music jobs. Together with tech company Wemash, he now wants to share his treasure and give everyone the opportunity to be able to produce their own audio and video remixes. “Innovation is what drives me,” he says. “Not necessarily the achievement aspect, but the feeling you get when you hear or see something. I want to do things that leave a cultural impact. I want to move people!”
He spreads out his arms and looks out over the water. The gold disc shimmers in the afternoon light.
“Without that, I don’t know if I would still be involved in music today. When I was a kid hanging out in Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården, the director of Stockholmsnatt went around tapping kids on the shoulder and asked them if they wanted to be involved in the film. I said that I wasn’t an actor, but that I would if I got a very expensive sampler. The first song my pals and I wrote was Stockholmsnatt. I got the sampler the very next day. They never saw me in Kungsträdgården with the other rowdy kids after that. That sampler saved my life, man,” QD3 says.
Text: Anders Dahlbom
Published: March 8, 2017