Graced with a unique, yet personable style that is completely her own, singer/songwriter N’Dambi is not only creating a niche for herself in the R&B/Soul genre, but she is undoubtedly changing the face of soul music with her latest Stax Records release Pink Elephant, a collection of songs which exemplify the art of real storytelling while encouraging the listener to embrace the core strength that lies within them.
“Pink Elephant is a take on the saying ‘there’s an elephant in the room.’ And what I wanted to talk about with this album is how we all individually have our own personal greatness that can be a very shining thing that some people feel uncomfortable with and don’t wanna talk about. And if our personal greatness is really strong and the presence is big, it’s much like an elephant,” said N’Dambi. “I am speaking to the fact that it is important for everyone to realize their personal greatness and accept the mission and challenge of that so that we can be resilient, strong and our best selves and pink is the color of hope and strength, which is something we need to carry us on our journey,” she continued.
Hailing from Dallas, Texas, N’Dambi always had a love jones for music and foresaw her future as a performer while growing up and like most little girls, singing in the mirror with a hairbrush was one of her favorite pastimes. Citing her parents as major musical influences, she has an eclectic taste in music and enjoys everyone, and all artists have in some way or another, been inspirations to her. N’Dambi’s taste ranges from Marvin Gaye, to Nina Simone to Sade to David Bowie, so you never know whose body of work may be in her CD player. But it wasn’t until after earning a degree in creative writing, did she set out to follow what her true passion was.
“I think deep down inside it was always there. I would always see glimmers of me performing even in my daydreams. I said to myself, ‘I think I wanna focus on music.’ So I had to face overcoming the shyness of performing in front of people and really prepare myself for what was ahead,” N’Dambi explained. What was ahead was the experience of working with songstress Erykah Badu by performing background vocals for her shortly after Badu landed a record deal. “We’re both from Dallas and were in the same creative circle of other people who were doing music, cipher circles and theater and told each other that whoever got a deal first, would take the other. We were around each other speaking the same musical language and it was a great opportunity to be a part of something that was really positive and it helped me grow as an artist and from there, I started doing my own thing,” N’Dambi continued.
“Can’t Hardly Wait,” the album’s first single, has garnered maximum radio airplay and showcases N’Dambi’s rich and sultry contralto vocals infused with a mid-tempo production that gives the track a ‘Chicago steppin’ feel to it. Aside from the music, the lyrics of the song immediately capture attention with the tale of a woman dealing with the notion of finding the strength to leave a dead end relationship. With every song, the goal is to bring back the art of storytelling and provide a sense of relativity. “I love to weave stories into the music and tell them from a point of view that allows an audience to find themselves in it and relate. I consider myself a narrator and my voice is coming from an old spirit, so I draw from that feeling by making it as sincere and heartfelt as I can,” said N’Dambi.
One would think that the inspiration behind N’Dambi’s songwriting would stem from personal experiences; however, the musician channels her creativity through everyday life entities such as books, music and even television. To her, performing is a tool in having the ability to really enjoy sharing your gift with others and love what you’re doing at the same time. “Personal experience helps color code things that I might say and how I say them, but a lot of the songs that I write are from watching life go by and telling the stories that I see, so sometimes it might be my story. When I perform, I like being able to connect with the audience, and being able to speak to them and touch them. It brings another level of connection between me, them and the music. I think it’s all exciting, and the larger the stage, the more performance you end up doing…it’s all different,” N’Dambi says with a chuckle.
For more on N’Dambi and her promotional tour dates, log onto www.ndambionline.com
Written by Eleanor Smith for Parlé Magazine
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