When Jeff Ali is not at the office of his mortgage lending company or administering his real estate investments, it is possible to find this Houstonian entrepreneur as his alter-ego Jstarz, working at his music production company.
Versatility is a word that perfectly encapsulates Ali’s career. On a regular workweek, Ali oscillates between multiple contrasting spheres. On top of being the co-owner of Snap Lending, a real estate and business investor, and a committed father, Ali has built a thriving career as a music producer.
“I still operate my father’s businesses day-to-day, still have Snap Lending day-to-day, still have a wife and child day-to-day, and have my music day-to-day,” said Ali. “To be honest, my day-to-day is so crazy and all over the place.”
Since childhood, music and entrepreneurship have permeated Ali’s life. Coming from a family of Pakistani immigrants filled with business owners, he always gravitated towards the entrepreneurial world. However, in music, Ali found a second life passion.
To this day, Ali continues to recall how his profound love for music came into existence.
Ali’s early approaches to music were when he played the drums in a rock band during his high school years. Back then, the music production industry was not as accessible as today, thanks to technology and the internet. Thus, Ali decided to learn about music recording to record his band’s songs.
Ali recalls anecdotally that his interest in the music industry solidified at his uncle’s jewelry business.
“My uncle was very big in the jewelry business, and he hung around a lot of musicians, athletes, and other celebrities from Houston at the time,” narrated Ali.
Having such close contact to distinguished rappers and musicians, Ali wanted to dive into the musical world and learn more about this industry.
“I wanted to be around the people in the music industry and learn from them, so I said to myself, ‘let me transition into music and see if I can pick that up,’ and here we are today,” said Ali.
Nowadays, Ali’s working life oscillates between Jeff Ali, the investor and co-owner of Snap Lending, and Jstarz, the music producer and songwriter. Over his years-long musical career, Ali has produced music videos and composed songs for multiple leading rap artists from all over the globe.
Reflecting on his multifaceted career, Ali does not consider his entrepreneurial and musical careers to be antithetical.
Many of the lessons and strategies of Ali’s career as a music producer can translate into the world of mortgage lending. One parallel between these seemingly contrasting industries is the meticulosity involved in both of them.
In the mortgage industry, “you have to be very meticulous with your work and go slow and steady,” said Ali. Likewise, “in the music business, I learned early on that you can get in a lot of trouble if you don’t have the proper paperwork for your catalog; I missed on a lot of royalties and payments because I was very excited and moved too quickly.”
For Ali, the scrupulousness he developed throughout his musical career has been crucial in growing Snap Lending into one of Houston’s leading mortgage lending companies, providing traditional and non-traditional mortgages to hundreds of families across Texas.
Ali admits that balancing his work at Snap Lending and at his production studio can become difficult every now and then.
“God bless Netflix,” said Ali between laughs. After a long day of work, “the best part of my day is going to my bed, turning on Netflix, and watching the newest and coolest shows.”
Today, despite the occasional intricacies, Ali feels fortunate to be able to simultaneously pursue his musical and business careers, his two life passions.
By Juan Sebastian Restrepo
In collaboration with Artistic Initiative Agency