Ntjam Rosie – Elle
(World Connection, VÖ: 30.03.2012)
In 2009 Ntjam Rosie graduated from the Codarts Conservatory, Rotterdam Netherlands as a bachelor of music. She majored in Latin singing and minored in teaching. She won the Music Matters Award gaining her the title of music ambassador in Rotterdam during 2010. According to the jury, Ntjam Rosie raised the temperature from the very first moment. Apparently it wasn’t enough, on the same day she also won the ‘MCN World Up! Award’ for most promising talent during the first edition of the Dutch World Music Day. The jury stated: “Her powerful voice and distinctive style creates an astonishing set full of soul and energy.”
For the new album “ELLE”, released in the fall of 2010, Ntjam Rosie approached a more jazz orientated direction compared to her first record “ATOUBA”. This time she found inspiration in artists like George Duke, Stevie Wonder, Patrice Rushen, Syreeta and Miriam Makeba. Artists who operate in the fields of soul, jazz and combine elements of Brazilian and African rhythms. The album breathes a late seventies sound with catchy hooks and fine sing along choruses.
Lyrically, Ntjam Rosie shares her enjoyment of life. She wants to tell we are more alike than we think. Her emotional journey is similar to other strong determined women elsewhere in the world. She says: “On this record I take the listener on my musical momentum and from that point on, he or she can continue their own adventure. I believe that the crossing of our paths only has a meaning when we open up for each other. ”
For the production she teamed up again with Nelson & Djosa. Among the musicians are Nathan Allen (Amy Winehouse, Faith Evans), Alex Bonfanti (Tom Jones, Xantone Blacq), Ronald Snijders, Tuur Moens, Roël Calister, Alexander van Popta, Tjaco Oostdijk. The recording took place at the Flowriders Music studio in Amsterdam where José James and Jazzanova, worked as well.
Ntjam Rosie is based in Rotterdam where she finds the inspiration for her creative output: “I hope that my audience will grow and I hope I’ll get the chance to present my musical vision throughout the world.”
Ntjam Rosie might sound like a typical name but the singer explains: “Ntjam is a name just like Rosie is. It’s my African name while Rosie is my European name. Africa meets Europe!”
Ntjam Rosie was born in Cameroon in 1983. She moved to The Netherlands at the age of nine where she grew up in Maastricht. She only spoke French and one of the many Cameroon dialects: Bulu. With her studious skills she picked up the Dutch and English language quite easily.
As a young girl Ntjam Rosie started to develop a passion for arts like music, film and paintings. She wrote her first Dutch poem at the age of fourteen. She felt she had to do something with her creativity in music. During high school she started to sing in the girls group R.e.s.p.e.c.t. and took singing lessons. She also became a protegé of German producer Alex Jacobi (Axtrak recordings) from whom she learnt how to record in a studio.
Ntjam Rosie began Social studies after high school but after six months, she realized it was not what she wanted which forced her to think in a different direction. It was Erykah Badu’s album ‘Mama’s Gun’ that made her realize she wanted to become a conscious artists like her. To this day Erykah Badu is one of Rosie’s biggest influences. She praises her purity and honesty as an artist, lyrically and musically. Stimulated by a friend she decided to go to the Rotterdam Conservatory. That choice helped her developing her songwriting skills and she discovered, composing music is one of her biggest passions.
In 2007 Rosie took part in the Dutch National Pop Institute Unsigned project ‘The Mighty 8’. Eight young unsigned talented hip-hop and soul women got the chance to show their skills. Among them were Sabrina Starke and Giovanca. Rosie contributed the songs ‘Squeeze the Breeze’ and ‘Bia Yon’. Both tracks would end up on her debut ‘Atouba’.
‘ATOUBA’ was released early 2008. The album was preceded by the song ‘Patience’, which was released as a 12 inch single late 2007. It was accompanied by a videoclip and was heard frequently on the radio. The debut is an experimental cocktail of different styles produced by the Rotterdam based producers Nelson & Djosa. ‘ATOUBA’ shows Ntjam Rosie blending a daring mix of Western and African rhythms topped with soul and jazz and the distinctive, warm and soulful voice of the singer. World and soul with a bit of jazz as Ntjam Rosie states. The synthesizer has a dominant place, which gives it a futuristic and adventurous approach. On ‘ATOUBA’, Ntjam Rosie sings in English, French and Bulu. It’s a very personal album inspired by Ntjam Rosie’s grandmother: “She was a woman with guts and that force inspired me to put out these songs on my first album.”
Written by Serge Julien
Edit Jim Verschelden
Ntjam Rosie talks
‘Music is everything, music is what I am.’
Ntjam Rosie is 28 years of age. She has style, she looks gorgeous and is a gifted musician: “I am an artist. Not a singer, not a sing-a-songwriter, a model or a teacher, but an artist. I dig into my cultures and make my art from them.” Her music could be labelled as Jazz or Afro.
But it is more than that. She jokes: “It is 2011, that should at least make me a New Age Jazz Singer.” It is the ‘right here, right now’ quality of her compositions that makes her music exciting and meaningful. Her music takes place in the present. She does not indulge in retro elements but simply roots in them. Her songs are a perfect mix between lyrics, the chords, the music itself and the style.
“I am giving all that I am, and I am giving that with a lot of pleasure.”
Ntjam Rosie is inspired by today’s Western and African cultures. “People move all over the world. We are cross cultural people and as a cross cultural community we share a sense of longing. Everybody comes from somewhere and at times we still long for that place.
Everybody wants to belong. That emotion is universal and belongs to today’s global lifestyle.
Got to have a little ‘umph’
In the fi¬ve years following music academy Ntjam Rosie has started her own company NtjaMusic. She writes and composes by herself or with co-writers. She is a music teacher and often tells her students that they‘ve got to have a little ‘umph’ to do it. What is ‘umph’? It is the combination of authenticity and glamour that makes her performances so vibrant, colourful and quite unforgettable. With her recently released second album ‘Elle’ she is the rising star on the jazz charts. “I am the mirror of my music,” she says, and how fabulous is that!