Jon Baker (producer)

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Jon Baker
CitizenshipBritish / Jamaica
EducationChelsea College of Arts
Occupation(s)Music producer, hotelier, businessperson.

Jon Baker (born 1960) is a music industry executive. He has worked as a fashion designer, promoter, and is currently co-owner of Geejam, a luxury resort and recording studio located in San San, near Port Antonio, Jamaica.

Early life[edit]

Baker was born in 1960 in London.[1] His mother, Maureen Baker, was a fashion designer[2] and his father, Roy Baker, sold classic cars.[3] Baker attended the Chelsea College of Art.[4]

Early career[edit]

After leaving school in 1977,[5][6] Baker opened a punk T-shirt store called Blooze in Kensington Market in 1978.[7] In 1979, operations grew and Blooze was relocated to the Great Gear Market, Kings Road, London and renamed Axiom.[7][8] In 1980 Baker moved to New York[5][9] and in 1981 staged a combined Axiom fashion show and concert in support of Spandau Ballet’s performance at The Underground, Broadway’s disco club.[2][10][8]

In 1982, Baker launched UK fashion label Demob in New York.[11] Baker then based himself in New York where he met club promoter and manager Ruza Blue who introduced him to the hip-hop scene in the Bronx.[2] Baker then began working at The Roxy club.[12][13]

Baker produced fashion shows for various designers and events in New York, such as the Danceteria and the Peppermint Lounge.[2] In 1983, Baker designed and promoted a club on Union Square called Fresh 14, before it closed after a short while[4][14] and in 1984 Baker returned to the UK.[5]

Gee Street Records[edit]

In 1985, having returned to the UK, Baker organized Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick's first UK tour.[15] That year, he met Rob Birch and Nick Hallam of the Stereo MCs and together they began to produce and distribute white label records to London dance shops. He also met his future wife Ziggi Golding, an agent who ran the progressive "Z" modeling agency.[16][17][18] Baker alongside Britain’s pirate radio Kiss FM hip-hop jock DJ Richie Rich in 1986[4][14] and the Stereo MCs , opened a recording studio called Gee Street Records.[5] Among the artists Gee Street signed and/or promoted were Jon King/King Butcher, Funtopia, Gail Ann Dorsey, Queen Latifah, Jungle Brothers, the Stereo MCs, and P.M. Dawn. Gee Street's first significant success was the release of Straight out the Jungle by Jungle Brothers; their single "I'll House You" reached the top 5 in the UK national charts.[19] Then, in 1988, he signed the Stereo MCs to a licensing deal with Island Records.

Polygram / Island Records[edit]

In 1990, Polygram Records’ Chris Blackwell signed P.M. Dawn, and proposed a joint venture with Island/PolyGram that secured Gee Street's roster for Island.[20] Baker agreed on a worldwide joint venture with the focus on North American markets in 1991.[4][6] Baker was appointed President of Island Jamaica for North America (the Jamaican music division of Island Records). The first release under the joint venture, PM Dawn’s “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” released in 1991, providing the funding for Bakers investments in Jamaica and with this he brought property in San San, Port Antonio.[1][21]

The joint venture agreement between Island Polygram Records and Baker faltered and came to an end in 1996.[22]


Later that year, Baker established a joint venture with Richard Branson and V2 Records,[1] [23] signing RZA to an exclusive solo recording deal in 1997.[6][13]

V2 bought 80% of Gee Street and marketed it through BMG.[24] Baker sold his remaining 20% share of Gee Street to Richard Branson in 2000.[24]

Geejam, 2000s[edit]

In 2002, he moved to Jamaica, became a Jamaican citizen. That year, he also produced the album Adelante, featuring Ky-Mani Marley and Alberto D'Ascola (aka Alborosie)[25]

In 2004, Baker produced Two Culture Clash in collaboration with producer Mark Jones in the UK.[26] In 2004 and again in 2005, he became a consultant for New Reality TV's Digicel Rising Stars talent competition on Jamaica's TVJ television station in 2004.[27][28]

In 2006, Baker worked with Steve Beaver of the Hong Kong-based Beaver Music on the Singerz Collection album series through Universal Music Japan; it featured contemporary songs interpreted in a reggae style. Later that year, however, Baker and Beaver went into a more formal partnership and agreed to develop Geejam into a luxury private hotel.[29] To this point, Baker had devoted a great deal of his energy to make Geejam an exclusive residential recording studio. The studio's resources had earned a strong reputation among industry insiders and attracted several top artists including Gorillaz, No Doubt, India Arie, Dru Hill, Gondwana, Les Nubians, Wyclef Jean, and Björk.[30][31]

Geejam opened to the general public in 2008 and is part of the Island Outpost brand.[32][33][34][35][36] Since 2008, Geejam has been rated Jamaica's number-one hotel by travel review website in March 2010.[37] Over this time, Drake, Santigold, Major Lazer, and Amy Winehouse have all worked on recording projects there.[38][39] The Geejam Group's most recent project involved the Jamaican mento band The Jolly Boys. Their album Great Expectation was released in the UK on 13 September 2010, and was received well by critics in Europe.[40][41][42][43]


  1. ^ a b c Walsh, Christopher (May 25, 2002). "Artists Mix Work and Play at GeeJam Studios in Jamaica". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 45. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Mole and Ruza Blue". New York. April 4, 1983. p. 35.
  3. ^ Horwell, Veronica (December 27, 2017). "Maureen Baker obituary". the Guardian. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d Ablett, Paul (November 10, 1991). "Street Credibility". Observer Magazine.
  5. ^ a b c d M.McNeill, Darrell (November 4, 1994). "Gee Street Sharpens It's Edge". BRE. pp. 28, 41.
  6. ^ a b c Clunis, Andrew (December 22, 2000). "Gee Jam Puts Down Roots in Portland". The Gleaner. p. 50.
  7. ^ a b Smith, Graham; Sullivan, Chris (2011). "Jon Bakers Axiom' P". We Can Be Heroes.
  8. ^ a b "The Blitz goes a bomb in New York". Evening Standard.
  9. ^ Seymour, Corey (November 1, 2011). "Jamaican Punch". W Magazine: Women's Fashion & Celebrity News. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  10. ^ Johnson, David (July 1, 1981). "1981, First Blitz invasion of the US". New Sounds New Styles, republished at Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  11. ^ "London / New York". Daily News Record. July 12, 1982.
  12. ^ Farsides, Tony (August 21, 1988). "Independent's Day". City Limits. pp. 16, 17, 59, 60.
  13. ^ a b Kirton, Ayanna (August 27, 2004). "Jon Baker - working for the best". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Jeffrey, Tim (December 6, 1989). "Dawn of a New Era". Record Mirror.
  15. ^ Bynoe, Yvonne (2006). "Slick Rick." Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture, Greenwood Press, p. 104.
  16. ^ Larkin, Colin (1995), Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, p. 1617.
  17. ^ "Jon Baker « So Many Records, So Little Time". Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  18. ^ Zaremba, Peter (April–May 2014). "Recording in Jamaica with Jon Baker". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  19. ^ Jackson, Bill (1996). "The Jungle Brothers" in Vibe. Vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 85-6.
  20. ^ Romanowski, Patricia, Holly George-Warren, Jon Pareles (1995). The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Fireside Press, p. 774.
  21. ^ Seymour, Corey. "Inside Geejam: The Sublime Jamaican Resort and Music Studio Where Rihanna, Drake, and Diplo Record". Vogue. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  22. ^ "Artists Mix Work and Play at GeeJam Studios in Jamaica". Billboard. November 20, 1999. p. 102.
  23. ^ "Upper Class Signing". HITS Magazine. December 16, 1996. p. 13.
  24. ^ a b "Newsline". Billboard. 111 (47): 102. 1999-11-20.
  25. ^ "Artists Mix Work And Play At Geejam Studios in Jamaica." Billboard, May 25, 2002, p. 45.
  26. ^ "collective - the interactive culture magazine". BBC. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  27. ^ "Gee Jam signs deal with Digicel - Rising Stars runners-up to get more training". Jamaica Gleaner. August 22, 2004. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  28. ^ "A new star rises". Jamaica Gleaner. October 2, 2005. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  29. ^ "Geejam studios and boutique resort unveiled". Jamaica Gleaner. April 2, 2008. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  30. ^ "Gee Jam puts down roots in Portland". Jamaica Gleaner. December 22, 2000. Archived from the original on March 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  31. ^ Read, Michael (2006), Jamaica. Lonely Planet, p. 129.
  32. ^ d'Arcy, Susan, "Cut a Record in Jamaica," The Sunday Times (UK), Travel Section. June 21, 2009.
  33. ^ Condé Nast Traveller (2009), "The Red Hot List 2009. Our Choice of the World's Best New Hotels." May.
  34. ^ (2009), "Travel Guide 2009: The World's Most Glamorous Hotels, Hideaways, Villas and Lodges." Harper's Bazaar, January 2009, p. 58.
  35. ^ Travel + Leisure, it list: The T+L Editors' Choice Awards 2009. June 2009, p. 146.
  36. ^ "Island Jam", Vanity Fair, July 2008, p. 28.
  37. ^ "Reviews of Hotels, Flights and Vacation Rentals". TripAdvisor. 2014-04-28. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  38. ^ "Diplo & Switch". Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  39. ^ "Old Mon and the Sea". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  40. ^ "Music - Review of The Jolly Boys - Great Expectation". BBC. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  41. ^ "The Jolly Boys: sound that rocked Jamaica - and Errol Flynn". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  42. ^ "The Jolly Boys cover Amy Winehouse on single off new album - #AltSounds". Archived from the original on 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  43. ^ "One jolly set of boys - Entertainment". Jamaica Observer. 2010-09-24. Archived from the original on 2011-08-04. Retrieved 2014-08-06.