– N’KENGE –
N’Kenge’s an artist who’s destined to make a serious impact on several musical fronts. From operatic to spiritual, from pop to musical theater, from jazz to blues; tender or intense, N’Kenge’s performances are consistent in her technical excellence. Her musical repertoire covers 11 languages and her power and control are uncanny. Joe Berger LBTV Music
NY Post called N’Kenge “Electrifying” in the role of Mary Wells that she originated in Broadway’s Smash Hit Motown: The Musical. Berry Gordy calls N’Kenge “the most versatile artist I know”. N’Kenge made her Broadway debut in Sondheim on Sondheim singing alongside Vanessa Williams, Barbara Cook, Tom Wopat and Norm Lewis.
N’Kenge was recently seen on TV this year as a presenter at the 58th Annual NY Emmy Awards. N’Kenge had the honor to sing at the White House for President Bill Clinton and for the Commander-in-Chief Ball for President Obama, she starred in London’s West End at the Theatre Royal in a tribute to the late great Ray Charles and has done solo engagements in New York at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as well as the Library of Congress in Washington, DC in which it was broadcast worldwide by NPR.
N’Kenge’s interest in music began at the tender age of three after her mother enrolled her into dance and piano classes as a means of channeling her unusual energy. This decision paid off with recitals and a piano scholarship by age six.
As this Bronx, NY native began to mature, N’Kenge along with her mentors and teachers discovered that she possessed a powerful singing voice – one in rememberance of the greats, Marian Anderson and Jessye Norman for example. She began devoting herself to its full time development by learning and studying many popular songs including the Whitney Houston catalogue of classic ballads in its entirety, and Gospel greats true to the essence of CeeCee Winans and Mahalia Jackson.
While still in her teens, N’Kenge won the Lena Horne Singing Competition Scholarship, the ASCAP Leiber and Stoller Award and the Leontyne Price Vocal Competition. She was also offered a recording contract with Motown Records whom encouraged her to move to California to further her singing career. Yet, her mother Annette Hoffman, was a strong believer in the power of education, and made the decision that her daughter’s future would be better served at home in New York. N’Kenge continued her studies at LaGuardia H.S. School of Performing Arts as a vocal major, Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School – working on preparing for what was soon to come in her career.
N’Kenge found many ways to showcase her vocal ability during her college years, and was crowned Miss Manhattan in the Miss America Pageant which led to appearances on television shows like Good Morning America and a chance to perform the National Anthem for “The Mets” at Shea Stadium. She spent her summers performing at Music Festivals in Europe, Israel, and the Czech Republic which led to her vast lingual vocal repertoire.
These feats turned the head of Columbia Artists Management Inc., whom recognized her notable vocal talents and through their auspices has given over 100 solo concerts throughout the United States for N’Kenge.
This energetic, well-rounded singer was recently nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of the leading roles in both the Elton John/Tim Rice Musical “Aida” and in Marion Caffey’s “3 Mo Diva’s” by the Helen Hayes Awards and the Arizoni Theater Awards.
N’Kenge starred in the Michael Jackson Tribute Show World Tour and is consistently seen as a soloist in pop programs with the Indianapolis Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra and New York Pops Orchestra among others around the globe.
Not new to the recording experience; she independently released her first solo album “Red Souvenir” while still completing her schooling. She is currently working on a new album and now has the opportunity to share her music once again with this move and expand her brand to the masses. In anticipation of her album, Burt Bacharach says “N’Kenge is an Amazing Talent that needs to be heard”. Excited about being a co-producer on this upcoming album, she is also a co-producer and is already cast as Queen Ti in the highly anticipated
Broadway Bound Show Akhenaten: The Musical.
N’Kenge also finds time to pay it forward and is currently on the Board of Directors for the non-for-profit organization Coalition for African Americans in Performing Arts (CAAPA) that supports young African American students with an interest in classical music in Maryland. The organization provides master classes in voice and instrumental music, yearly scholarship money, educational seminars and more.
N’Kenge is a working artist, mother, teacher and producer. She was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the prestigious “The Players Club” in NYC, founded 125 years ago by the great Shakespearean American Actor Edwin Booth, this is a great honor.
For more details on N’Kenge 2015-2016 tour season and recordings,visit her at www.nkengemusic.com