Ntjam Rosie Talk to Flashmag about her fourth opus “The one”
The last time we meet with the Afropean artist residing in Rotterdam in Netherlands it was in January 2012, she was still touring stages with her second album titled Elle, the same year she produced a CD DVD, of her live concert at the Grounds one the most renowned venue in Rotterdam. In 2013 far from sleeping on her laurels she will release a 3rd Album At The Back Of Beyond, an opus well acclaimed by the critics, once again she will hit the road for a tour travelling Europe and China to share with the public her work. Ntjam Rosie who was born in Cameroon and moved to the Netherlands when she was 9, is an artist well in her element, Her debut effort titled Atouba which was produced in 2008, paved the way of her career, allowing her to be opening act for artists like Erika Badu, Macy Gray, or Bilal. Her talent will be very early recognized by her peers, since as a promising talent she will receive several awards. Today she has grown as a cosmopolitan artist versed in her time. Performing in the North Sea Jazz Festival, and getting gigs from Thailand to Turkey and Estonia to China. Wary about the look, she has done wonderful incursions in the world of fashion, by hitting the cat walk, for the Holland Fashion week and feature on the Dutch Elle Magazine as one of the most the styled artist .
There is no doubt that Ntjam Rosie is an artist who is coming to maturity. The Quality of her 4th opus released February 12 is a probing piece.
In the line that follow Ntjam Rosie talk about her new opus, what has changed in her life and the direction she is giving to her career.
Flashmag: Hello Ntjam Rosie we are happy and the readership of Flashmag cannot agree less with us to have you today as the guest artist of the month. Without delay we will get to the aim of this Interview, it’s time for the fourth album after Atouba in 2008 Elle in 2010, at the Back of Beyond in 2013, you decided to release the fourth album The One an evocative title. What represent this Album for you? In the evolution of your art where do you place this new opus?
Ntjam Rosie: first about The One for me is God, because that is the rock in what I stand on, and build on, because God gave me a lot of Strength… I do a job I love, I have good friends and a great husband, the album the one is mostly themed to the finding of the right partner in life and how to live this shared experience, that’s why the one is about commitment in a relationship, it’s about making a choice and deal with what occur from that choice.
Flashmag: The songs for The One were written around the time you got married, how this situation of a new you affected your art?
Ntjam Rosie: what really inspired me it’s the responsibility that comes with commitment once you are married, I’m a newly weed and I like the commitment and sense of secureness that it conveys, meanwhile commitment is a serious thing is quite heavy, but I love it. It was a mature decision we had to take together my husband and I. The whole album is about commitment to God, my family, my friends my career.
Flashmag: in the 3rd opus At the back of beyond you learned to play the guitar you stated “That was an album that was a part of me, and that needed to explore my poppy side,” in the new album critics have labeled the work a huge creative step Forward what side did you explore? Did you learn to play another instrument?
Ntjam Rosie: no I didn’t learn to play another instrument, with the guitar I still need more practice I’m not as good as I want yet, but the experience of At the back of beyond enriched my new Album with a lot of harmony, singer song writing, a richness I would not had have if I didn’t pick up that guitar on my last album, in this album I have grown as a producer, because I decided to do it myself, record it with a huge band and work it with a great sound ingenieur. Normally the producer give you the direction to how it has to sound and so forth, but in this album I had to play that role myself. And that was a new dimension; it was a hard and easy task at the same time, because in my head I knew already how it has to be like. I like to challenge myself when I start a new project because I want to keep learning while evolving.
Flashmag: your are A truly independent woman, you run your own record label, Gentle Daze a label that is producing this Album, how do you feel about controlling the production of your art?
Ntjam Rosie: it’s a blessing you know, it’s great because I called the shots because I decided what color it will bear. It’s a beautiful thing to be artistically independent, but in the other hand you are doing a business that need to be rewarding materially, so it’s hard for me a tiny artist from Holland a tiny country to make it happen out there. It’s a blessing to be able to make it happen, but I’m still on the lookout for contracts in distribution to take my music to a broader audience, that is what we as artist we want mostly and for that you have to stay in touch with the rest of the world. But it doesn’t stop me from working on my music anyways I make my little step to the big goals.
Flashmag: Do you think today artist need to have more and more control over their art?
Ntjam Rosie: I think it’s a good thing, but you need to have goals you need to be strong and know what you’re doing and it doesn’t matter how smart or small you are , you still need a team that will work with you to further your ambition. Because you cannot be your own PR, marketer, distributor, and be at the same time the artist who is writing the songs, singing, and playing the instruments. As long as you remember that you have to dispense tasks to others, and then ok, you can do it. There is a big world out there, you don’t need to be the next Beyoncé, there is place for all type artists and music.
Flashmag: listening to the content of your lyrics you composed your songs with a seductive ethical manner I bet you are the type of artist who believes that art doesn’t have to be shocking to strike mind and sell am I right?
Ntjam Rosie: of course not it has to be true to itself. Art as to be art, if you have this gift you just have to do it, just get it out see what is the reaction of the public, I’m one of those artists who really believe on their gift.
Flashmag: before getting in the studio did you have an idea of the type of product you wanted?
Ntjam Rosie: I was thinking Sultry, a kind of ode to the type of music and musicians that have always moved me, like Lauryn Hill or Erika Badu all those women who really inspired me during the 90s when I was a young teenager. When I was still wandering trying to know where I was fitting in and then when I discovered them I said Wouah! This is what I would like to do, if one day I can even come closer to that, and then it will be amazing. This album is quite open more spiritual
Flashmag: how long it took you to wrap up this album?
Ntjam Rosie: quite fast for me I started to write it immediately after At the back of beyond, it took me about a year and half to 2 years; I worked hard to get it done.
Flashmag: And with whom did you work, did you call other artist guest?
Ntjam Rosie: Yes I did the album was made with my regular band and engineer Vincent Helbers at my side. Martin Fondse added strings, and there are guest appearances by my friends and fellow artists Pink Oculus, Eric Vloeimans and Ronald Snijders. As well as my friend from Guinea Lamine Kouyate who plays the Kora.
Flashmag: you seem to have found the balance, the perfect blend between, Souls, R&B, jazz and pop music, if you have to define your style what will you say about it?
Ntjam Rosie: it such a difficult question I hope that with this album people will indeed feel the balance of a singer that has accomplished her own sound, you know this is my fourth Album, it’s as well the product of my previous artistic explorations. I had to work hard on it to give it the flavor I wanted, and find the perfect balance in the direction it has to take artistically and commercially. I don’t know for my style, singer like Sade or Erika Badu are my main influences if I had to put them in a box, are they soul music or jazzy, so I don’t know, mostly I leave it to the public to make classification, but I’m a blend of soul R&B Jazz Folk Gospel and world music,
Flashmag: you are becoming more and more involved in fashion hitting the catwalk in Holland for several events and, you were featured in the Dutch Elle magazine lately, how the fashion is affecting your art and what represent for the artist you are these incursions in the world of fashion?
Ntjam Rosie: Fashion is like a second nature for me it’s part of my artistry I like photography cinematography, I like the creative part of fashion even if I never dreamed to be a top model, but definitely I like the ability to be a different person by the appearance, the look. It’s a way to express also yourself to your fellow just like in music, of course my creativity and versatility has helped me connect with the fashion world easily, I’m grateful to them to accept me in their niche time to time, and of course for me it’s also a good coverage to be in Elle Magazine, as an artist.
Flashmag: how does fashion affect your music?
Ntjam Rosie: positively for me it’s one thing when I work on a project I have very clear vision of what I want. I cannot only be a singer, I need to have a look, when I was younger I loved Madonna because she was this artist coming out every times with a different look, and when I got older I understood the meaning better because you get to give your art a look a packaging appearance.
Flashmag: in the cover of your album you have natural hair are you an advocate of the return to natural for black women?
Ntjam Rosie: well I think it’s a free world everybody is supposed to do what they feel comfortable with, what really matter it’s not only the appearance but it’s to have fun with what you wear, you know you can lose your hair after a chemo, are you going to tell a woman who has lost her hair not to wear a wig because it’s not natural?
Flashmag: as of today you are a woman artist that’s been on the scene since 2008 with the release of your first album, Atouba looking back if it has to be done again what will you change? Are you satisfied of what you have accomplished so far?
Ntjam Rosie: must of the time I’m, but sometimes ago I used to be dreadful when comparing myself to other artists, I felt like I hadn’t sold enough records yet and that I’m not there yet, but as of today I’m a grown woman I know what I want and were I’m going. Now that I have found the truth, I’ m comfortable with every blessing I get. Look around see how the world is going, so if you are able to go about your business and success in what you plan to do it’s a blessing you should not downgrade. And I know that out there they are people my music can comfort. More and more I know why I’m doing this it’s not about my own vanity, but about shining my light in other people life I’m proud of myself and on my team of course I believe in bigger better, I would like to have a bigger audience I ‘have been working for it since the beginning I think I deserve it, soon or later, but only God knows. And I’m comfortable with the way things are going. I work to get better every day you have to earn your steps.
Flashmag: you‘ve been touring the world Europe, China, Turkey, and so forth if you have to choose a place where the greeting of the public was special where would that be?
Ntjam Rosie: I really enjoyed going to the south of China twice, I really met some special people there , I saw people that asked me, what is soul music? In 2013 I thought everybody knew about this genre. Stuff like that just opened my eyes to the world, people were welcoming, great food, I have seen quite so many places, but definitely China was special. I would like to go back anytime
Flashmag: so far you’ve been thriving in the western world but as of today how your art is perceived in Africa do you intend to tour there in the near future?
Ntjam Rosie: I often have this question coming around yes definitely I would like to tour the world and Africa of course starting by Cameroon my country of origin, but the problem is that I haven’t found an artist promoter eager to invite me there for concerts, I cannot just decide to go there like that with no tour budget as a small indie artist is not easy to make a tour on my own.
Flashmag: do you sing in your maternal language?
Ntjam Rosie: Yes in all my albums I always have songs in my original language Bulu, and in French to keep my roots there. Except in At the back of beyond where there is no songs in Bulu, My fourth release The One has the first song, sang in Bulu my maternal idiom.
Flashmag: how do you see yourself in the future artistically talking?
Ntjam Rosie: Talking About dream I would love to have a career path in the sense of artist like, Sade, Badu, I see myself as a singer that has a great consideration for her art, contributing broadly on her production, I would like to do what I’m doing now at a bigger stage with a broader audience. I would to do more also into charity and connect it to my music, and of course have children a big family so that when I’m old I will have hopefully somebody to take care of me.
Flashmag: as we are closing this talk do you have a special word toward the public? It’s going to be a busy year for you; do you have some few hot dates you would like to share with the public?
Ntjam Rosie: definitely I would like to ask them to check out my album it’s coming out and I expect they are going to love it and share it with the most, I’m going to keep doing my stuff just stay tuned on my Facebook page and on my website www.Ntjamrosie.com for all the dates
Flashmag Ntjam Rosie Flashmag and its readership thank you for this open talk.
Video The One Acoustic Live
Interview Realized By Hubert Marlin Elingui Jr.