“I believe I survived for a reason… to tell my story… to touch lives”
EMMANUEL JAL was born into the life of a child solider on an unknown date in the early 1980s in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan. Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel managed to survive and go on to emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences.
Jal has released five studio albums to date: “Gua,” “Ceasefire,” “Warchild,” “See Me Mama,” and “The Key.”
His music can be heard alongside Coldplay, Gorillaz, and Radiohead on the fundraising “Warchild – Help a Day in the Life” album, as well as in three “ER” episodes, the National Geographic documentary “God Grew Tired of Us,” and the feature film “Blood Diamond,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. His music is featured on John Lennon’s “Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur,” amongst the likes of U2, REM and Lenny Kravitz. Jal has also collaborated with other high profile artists such as Peter Gabriel, Nelly Furtado, DMC, Joss Stone, Nile Rodgers and Alicia Keys.
Jal’s Latest Album: The Key…
Emmanuel Jal’s fifth studio album “The Key” was released on September 9, 2014 on Gatwitch / Universal. The new 13 track album includes collaborations with Grammy award winning artists Nile Rodgers (who produced the lead single “My Power”) and Nelly Furtado (who appears on the duet “Scars” and “Party”). “The Key” is Jal’s most ambitious and sonically adventurous music project to date. Recorded in Kenya, Uganda, London, New York, Connecticut and Toronto, and co-executive produced by the notable engineer Demacio “Demo” Castellon (Jay Z, Rihanna), “The Key” seamlessly blends traditional African music with contemporary urban, hip hop and global pop music rhythms, while incorporating EDM, reggae/dub, soul and Afro beat elements. Two songs from Emmanuel’s album (“Scars” and “We Fall”) will also feature on the Warner Brothers’ soundtrack from ‘The Good Lie’.
This is not only an album, but it’s an act of cooperation between two prominent social change advocates who have a shared interest in highlighting and supporting children’s rights issues. At its core is a joint partnership between the album’s co-executive producer and noted entrepreneur Paul Lindley (Ella’s Kitchen) and Jal, who met by chance in South Africa, and who both not only wanted to shine a light on children’s rights throughout the album, but also outside of the recording booth through their offshoot social enterprise The Key Is E which aims to raise funds to benefit African entrepreneurs with a youth focus.
For more information on The Key is E visit: www.thekeyise.com
Internation Public Appearances and Speaking Engagments…
Emmanuel Jal’s live appearances have included Live 8, Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday Concert and the One Concert for his Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Jal’s demand as public a speaker has provided many unique opportunities such as addressing the UN, US Congress, the Carter Centre and the highest tiers of several governments. He has been involved with the British Council, Clinton Global Initiative, Adolescent Girls Initiative (World Bank in association with the Nike Foundation), Child Soldiers Initiative and the launch of Ericsson’s Refugees Reunited Software. He was one of the faces of Amnesty International’s 2010 World Refugee Day Campaign and appeared at Alicia Keys’ Keep a Child Alive Black Ball 2010 in London.
In 2011 he took part in the Oxfam Climate Change Campaign, CNN Freedom Project, and Amnesty International’s “Toast to Freedom” single. He has spoken alongside Kofi Annan and Martti Ahtisaari for CMI in Finland; Matt Dillon for Refugees International in Washington, DC; and Angelina Jolie at the ICC for Cinema for Peace.
In 2012 Jal was made a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum and continues to speak at high-level conferences for Rotary International, the G20 summit, One Young World and, most recently, Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite conference on Necker Island in May 2014. Jal has continued to support and work alongside Amnesty International as one of their main spokespeople.
In the Media…
Jal’s press and media coverage includes interviews with The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Fox News, Washington Post, USA Today, The Huffington Post, Newsweek, BBC Newsnight, The Guardian, The Economist, The Evening Standard, NBC, The Times, The Independent, MTV, CBC, CTV, BBC Radio 4 and many more outlets worldwide. His 2009 TED Global talk has achieved tens of thousands of YouTube hits.
On the Big Screen…
In 2008 a full-length documentary on his life was released. The film, “Warchild,” won 12 prestigious film festival awards worldwide. In the same year, his autobiography, also called Warchild, was published by Little Brown. Jal appeared as the adult lead in the motion picture “Africa United,” in October 2010.
Most recently Emmanuel starred in Warner Brother’s “The Good Lie” alongside Reece Witherspoon, Cory Stall, Arnold Oceng, and Ger Duany. “Certified Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes, The Good Lie tells the story of the Lost Boys of South Sudan who win the “lottery” and come to America in search of a second chance at life.
Despite his accomplishments in music and film, one of Jal’s biggest passions is Gua Africa, the charity he has founded to work with individuals, families and communities to help them overcome the effects of war and poverty. Besides building schools, the charity provides scholarships for Sudanese war survivors in refugee camps and sponsors education for children in the most deprived slum areas in Nairobi.
Gua Africa is now fundraising to complete phase 2 of Emma Academy, the education centre in Leer named after the British aid worker Emma McCune who rescued Jal from a life as a child soldier. In the outbreak of violence in South Sudan since Decemeber 15th 2013, Gua has changed its focus to keeping its existing schools open and ensuring their teachers are paid and students are safe.
In December 2010, Jal released “We Want Peace,” as part of the wider campaign of the same name calling for peace, protection and justice for all in Sudan ahead of the January 2011 referendum, but also calling for an end to all conflicts affecting innocent people around the world. The campaign was supported by A-list artists and leading figures from diverse fields, including Peter Gabriel, Alicia Keys, George Clooney, Richard Branson, President Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan and many more. In 2012 he organized and hosted the first of its kind Peace Dinner and Concert in Juba, South Sudan on International Peace Day, supported by H.E Dr. Riek Marchar, Vice President of South Sudan alongside legendary US hip hop artist DMC.
Through his peace movement We Want Peace Emmanuel Jal is working alongside African artists such as Juliani (Kenya), Vanessa Mdee (Tanzania), and Syssi Mananga (Congo Brazzaville) to spread passion and awareness about Afrcia’s at risk elephant population. Through the new campaign Stand For Elephants, these artists have released the new peace anthem TUSIMAME (Let’s Stand) now available on iTunes and Mdundo.
Jal still undertakes his Lose to Win Challenge, which sees him raising funds for Gua Africa, Africa Yoga Project and My Start for Windle Trust International.
Jal was currently nominated for a 2015 Juno Award for “Best World Music Album.” Jal has previously been awarded the Calgary Peace Prize, the Humanitarian Award from the Hunt Institute, The Dresden Peace Prize, The Mattie Stepanek Peacemaker Prize and has been honored by Ban Ki Moon at the UN for his peace efforts in South Sudan. Jal continues to tour hundreds of schools universities and communities worldwide as part of his We Want Peace educational tour across the US, Europe, Canada, Latin America and Africa.