Local musician, producer and entrepreneur Jeremy Little, a young driving force in the independent music scene here, died last night while he was in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
As the director/general manager of the Kuala Lumpur-based record label Laguna Music, 31-year-old Jeremy Little (aka Jeremy Ahmad Maikel), was well-respected in the Malaysian entertainment industry for signing up independent artistes such as SevenCollar T-Shirt, Estrella (which featured Liyana Fizi), Guba, Pure Vibracion and Lab The Rat.
Music played a big role in this British-Malaysian’s career. Despite holding an engineering degree, he opted to chase his music dream.
Laguna Music, an independent record label, was formed in 2002 by brothers Jeffrey and Jeremy Little. They operated their own studio Greenhouse Studio in Ampang, Selangor, where Jeremy, handled most of the A&R, artiste management and distribution deals while Jeffrey was head of studio production.
Through Laguna Music, Jeremy paved a mainstream path for SevenCollar T-Shirt, Estrella and Lab The Rat.
“Working with Estrella has opened a lot of doors for us (Laguna Music). With this band, we are dealing with a different market and it’s very exciting and a lot of fun,” said Jeremy in an interview with The Star in March, 2008.
“It’s been quite a ride for the label. Look at all the bands on stage and the people who have come through our studio, I’m very humbled by the music connections and friendships made through the years,” he said during Laguna Music’s 10th anniversary showcase at a club in Kuala Lumpur back in early November 2012.
Jeremy’s musical vision has always been diversity and Laguna Music’s 10th anniversary showcase reflected his vision with acts like SevenCollar T-Shirt, Pure Vibracion, Guba, Halfway Kings, Damn Dirty Apes, Robot Asmara, Subculture, Salam Musik, Lab The Rat, Bedroom Sanctuary, We Are Not All-Stars, Pesawat, Love Me Butch and Prana.
Apart from recording albums, Jeremy also negotiated British, Australian and regional tours for Laguna Music artistes while also securing a novel album distribution deal with 7-Eleven Malaysia in 2010, which saw Laguna Music products available in 1,190 stores nationwide.
The label also distributed singer-songwriter Yuna’s early album (Decorate) in 2010, while promoting international acts Easy Star All-Stars, Mayer Hawthorne and The Jezabels here.
Last January, Jeremy was appointed the CEO of Tune Studios, Malaysia’s largest audio recording production facility featuring ten studio rooms in Klang, Selangor.
“He was highly talented and a man with a big heart! Jeremy, at his young age, gave me many lessons on life and being a better person. Despite facing an uphill battle, he remained brave and positive which to me, was very remarkable. It is indeed a very sad day for everyone at Tune Group. We lost a truly amazing person, colleague and a friend. Rest in peace, Jeremy. You’ll be missed always,” said Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Tune Group co-founder.
With a keen interest in movies, Jeremy got himself involved in film production through Flux Visual Lab, a company formed in 2010. He was also one of the producers of the independent movie Kil (2013), which picked up four Anugerah Skrin awards late last year.
As a musician, Jeremy recorded three reggae-slanted albums with the band Prana (2001’s Have A Nice Jaywalk, 2003’s Greenhouse Effect and 2005’s Disc 03) as a turntablist and pianist/keyboardist.
There will be a tahlil for Jeremy, open to members of the public, at Masjid Asy-Syakirin, KLCC, at 7.20pm on April 10, 2014.
On Twitter, Jeremy's friends, admirers and associates shared their reactions to his passing.
A close friend Jeremy Little of KL has just passed away in Makkah whilst on Umrah. Please pray for him and his family pic.twitter.com/i4HZKpDzSX— Mufti Ismail Menk (@muftimenk) April 8, 2014
A very dear friend of mine Jeremy Little just passed away in Makkah. Please sedekah Al-Fatihah to him.— Yuna Zarai (@yunamusic) April 8, 2014
Our hearts goes out to Jeremy Little's family and close friends who just passed away earlier this morning in... http://t.co/6aNcj0qi0y— Damn Dirty Apes (@DDAPenang) April 9, 2014
I never met Jeremy Little, but I hear he was the nicest guy with the warmest of vibes. My condolences to all who knew him. May he rest well.— ZeeAvi♐ (@ZeeAvi) April 9, 2014
Inna lillah wa inna ilaihi raji'un. Jeremy Little was a force of good for Malaysian music. He will be sorely missed. Al-Fatihah— WordsManifest (@wordsmanifest) April 9, 2014
Al-Fatihah for an old friend Jeremy Little @littlejermz, who passed away in Makkah early this morning.— Liyana Fizi (@liyanafizi) April 9, 2014
Got shocked by the news of his passing. Al-fatihah to Jeremy Little. May Allah bless his soul & elevate his status among the guided people.— Bront Palarae (@Bront_Palarae) April 8, 2014
We had just got news that our dear friend Mr. Jeremy Little had just passed away in Makkah. He was a strong... http://t.co/oz7ealt43a— Stonebay (@stonebay) April 8, 2014
al fatihah to jeremy little. growing up ampang boys, his band, his label and eventually his empire was a huge inspiration to us. rest easy.— The Fridays (@thefridaysmy) April 8, 2014
RIP Jeremy Little.— James Baum (@james_baum) April 9, 2014
Al Fatihah, Jeremy Little. Gonna miss you brother.— redza minhat (@rdzaminhat) April 8, 2014
Alfatihah Jeremy Little. Rest well bro. I remember you coming to pitch Prana for air play Back in the day .. Very persistent— jake abdullah (@jakeabdullah) April 9, 2014
The Malaysian music scene has lost a key figure today. Rehatlah Jeremy Little. You will be sorely missed. Al-Fatihah.— The Wknd Sessions (@thewknd) April 9, 2014