Born in Manhattan to musical parents, Iajhi (pronounced “E-Ahh-Gee”) has had music around him all of his life. Following in the footsteps of his father (Ivan Hampden) who has toured with Luther Vandross since 1987. He began playing drums at the age of ten in a North Carolina church behind his mother who served as the musical director for the church, while taking gigs in the area at 16, as soon as he was able to drive.
Iajhi Enrolled at North Carolina Central University two years later in 1997, and under the direction of Dr. Ira Wiggins began the journey into jazz studies. While at N.C.C.U. as a part of the jazz studies program he was privileged to perform at the Montreaux and Vienne jazz festivals in Europe, the White House on two occasions, and also shared stages with Stanley Turrentine, Slide Hampton, Frank Foster, Jimmy Heath, Terrell Stafford, Nicholas Payton, and many others.
In 2005, Iajhi completed a Graduate Assistantship to Ronald Carter (sax) At Northern Illinois University as a Liberace scholar. Professor Carter has taught many of the current young “lions” in the music scene today including drummers Montez Coleman (Rufus Reid), and Terrion Gully (Christian McBride), and has a working relationship with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center program as creative administrator. While at N.I.U Iajhi was privileged to tour with the NIU jazz ensemble working alongside guest artist such as Donald Harrison, Christian Scott, Eddie Henderson, Dennis Mackrel and Red Holloway.
Shortly after Graduation Iajhi began dividing his time between Chicago and North Carolina while touring the country with a tribute band, and holding a residency at the Pump Room Jazz club in Downtown Chicago. He later that year decided to relocate to the Los Angeles area under the recommendation of mentor Ray Chew. Since relocating to Los Angeles in 2006, Iajhi has had the privilege to be involved in various number of musical opportunities. He has performed on such notable television shows such as: American Idol, BET’s Celebration of Gospel, The BET Awards, MTV’s TRL, Last Call with Carson Daily, Live with Regis and Kelly, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late show with Craig Ferguson, The Mo’Nique Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Rachael Ray Show, and the View.
Iajhi has also worked and toured with artists such as: Lina (Hidden Beach), Andre Delano, Ashley Parker Angel, Andy Vargas, Norman Brown, Alex Bugnon, Chante’ Moore, Paul Taylor, Gordon Chambers, Aly & A.J. (Summer Tour 2007 & Hanna Montana, Best of both Worlds Tour January, 2008). Macy Gray, V.V. Brown, Jessy J. (sax), Rick Braun, Euge Groove, Peter White, Mindi Abair, Paige Bryan, Nikka Costa, Rumer Willis, Lee DeWyze (American Idol).
Quote: "My weapons of choice"
Iajhi plans to continue in the Journey of life called music and letting the journey take him wherever it may.
Gear: Metallic Smoke Rock Tour Custom. 10x8 rack 12x10 rack 14x14 floor 16x16 floor 22x17 kick drum 14x5.5 snare 13x6.5 snare Rock Tour 14x5.5 snare 14x5.5 Manu Katche Signature Snare