Jimek, real name Radzimir Dębski, is a composer and one of Poland's best known music producers. His popularity exploded when he won Beyoncé’s End of Time Remix Competition in 2012. In 2015 his symphonic orchestration of the most recognized hip-hop songs hit headlines worldwide and earned him the appreciation of many hip-hop legends.
A composer and one of Poland's best known music producers.
Early years 1987-2012
He was born in 1987 in Szczecin to two notable musicians: Krzesimir Dębski, a famous composer, jazz violinist, pianist, conductor, song writer, and arranger, and Anna Jurksztowicz, a recognised jazz and pop vocalist and producer. Therefore, he started his musical education at a very young age but surprisingly decided to abort it at the age of 12.
The breakthrough came when I rebelled and started to hate music school and music in general (at least I thought so). I was 12, I had already played violin and drums for a few years, and I was already fed up with constant pressure and practising.
He soon came back to music, but on his own terms: playing piano, digging through his parents’ vinyl collection, and making his first beats on a PC. Sooner than anybody expected, Radzimir managed to get his first professional commissions for the scores for films and TV series such as Stacja (aged 15), As, Polisz Kicz Projekt, Kosmici and Ranczo (one of the most popular TV series in Polish television, he co-authored the soundtrack at the age of 19). The idea of becoming a professional composer soon turned into to an obsession and led him to universities in Warsaw and Los Angeles. He is a composition graduate of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Between 2006 and 2012 he worked extensively for the film industry, composing and producing music for motion pictures (e.g. Szatan z siódmej klasy, Ranczo Wilkowyje, Battle of Warsaw 1920, Sztos 2) and TV series (e.g. Ranczo, Tancerze, Przepis na życie).
The Breakthrough 2012
In 2012, Beyoncé Knowles made her hit recording End Of Time available on the web and launched a contest for the best remix. The award was very prestigious – amongst other things, the best remix was to be featured on one of her official releases. Of the 3,000 remixes posted on Soundcloud.com, the 50 entries with the most fan votes made it to the finals. A jury consisting of Beyoncé Knowles and prominent music producers made the final verdict. On 17 April 2012 they announced Jimek as the winner and it instantly elevated him to the position of a celebrity and the most wanted producer in Poland. His remix was released on Beyoncé’s EP titled 4: The Remix.
The Next Step 2012 – 2014
After appearing on numerous TV shows, opening a night at the biggest Polish pop festival in Opole, and getting a lot of exposure in the media, Jimek got back to work behind the scenes but also started releasing singles from his upcoming debut solo album that he had always dreamed of. It is to be titled The Best Of. The singles are extremely varied; they range from the smooth orchestral composition Prologue, through the percussion-based Crux evocative of Steve Reich’s music to Hypnotixx, a glitch-hop infused dubstep track with nothing to do with orchestral or contemporary classical music at all. The latter is a part of the soundtrack for Jan Komasa’s popular movie Warsaw 44.
The lack of a key to this album is the key to this album. The title The Best Of is more than contrariness. It is an idea of a poly-stylistic album, schizophrenically diversified, going beyond any genres and boundaries.
Moreover, in 2014 he produced his first professional hip-hop song thanks to an invitation from Reebok Classic Trax Project. He chose to collaborate with Pezet on this venture and they came up with a trueschool Nie muszę wracać. Surprisingly, this one-off cooperation, besides turning out a hit, opened a brand new chapter in Jimek’s career.
2015 NOSPR / MIUOSH / JIMEK
When Miuosh, one of the most popular Polish rappers, was invited to perform his songs with NOSPR (The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, regarded as the best orchestra in Poland), the first name that came to his mind when looking for the arranger was Jimek. When the latter was invited to arrange Miuosh’s songs and conduct the NOSPR, ‘the negotiations were over the moment they started’.
Even though the arrangement was very distant from the original songs, even though there was not a hint of electronics, though the tight hip-hop beats were transposed into much wider-sounding timpani, gran casas and upright basses the project turned out to be a huge success. Live performances sold out in the blink of an eye and an album with a live recording instantly became a best-seller.
Many symphonic concerts have gone beyond the boundaries of classical music (…) but my aim was not to add orchestra to hip-hop but to create symphonic hip-hop. I wanted to turn this orchestra into a beat maker, I wanted it to be self-contained. No loops, samples or electronics, no shortcuts, no handicaps.
As their last encore the NOSPR played a medley orchestrated by Jimek titled The History of Rap. The video recording of this pot-pourri, containing rap classics from artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, Beastie Boys and Pharoahe Monch, went viral worldwide and was praised and shared by many top hip-hop artists.
Author Wojciech Oleksiak, 9 July 2015.