After many years of performing numerous Holiday Concerts, I decided to finally make a Holiday Album. My last Holiday concert I produced in New York City was at the Historic Triad Theatre. I have done a few shows at this charming Theatre. The Theatre is also very sentimental to me. Being a native New Yorker, I have seen this Theatre go through various names and managements. I remember singing at this Theatre at the young age of 12 when I was a little girl scared half to death to sing in front of just about anyone at the time!!!! So there is a lot of history between this Theatre and I;-)
Holiday Magic was never intended to be an Album. It was initially a concert I did a few times last year. Several weeks afterwards, guests who had attended the concert were inquiring if I was performing the show again or if I had a CD recording of it. The answer was sadly no. When this Holiday Season came, I was again asked if I was going to perform that same show this Year in NYC. The answer again was no since I was engaged to perform Holiday concerts in both Charleston, SC and Whitefish, MT. I thought why not make a recording of that concert. I have never made a Holiday CD before but I did have the Holiday Concert professionally video recorded in HD.
I went into the editing room with my team and came out with both a DVD and CD recording of my most requested show which is HOLIDAY MAGIC. This performance featured some great dancers, fantastic musicians and talented Featured Soloists. I truly hope all my friends, family and fans enjoy these recordings as much as I enjoyed packaging it for individuals to have their very own N’Kenge Holiday Concert in their home. Happy Listening and Happy Holidays!!!!
I finally returned home from the Michael Jackson World Tour this summer to a bittersweet conclusion. Happy to be home, elated that I had such an amazing experience on the tour, but not happy to be unemployed. With that said, I got back to the grind and began the normal N’Kenge hustle. Audition for everything and anything until that phone call comes in and says “N’Kenge we’d love to offer you to the role of….”
I read about the actors equity open call auditions for the New York Musical Theater Festival. I’ve always wanted to be apart of it but never was home during the time period of the festival so I never auditioned. This time I was home and AVAILABLE! I did the entire week of auditions where you get to sing for all the Directors and Casting Agents for each musical. Singing for so many people was like being a kid in a candy store except there is that one candy you have your eyes on during the entire time. For me that candy was TUT. I read the breakdown and REALLY wanted to be apart of it. When I did the audition for TUT and three other musicals at the same time, I felt really great about it. All I kept thinking to myself is “I hope I get TUT, I hope I get TUT”. Then I thought about the process. Usually they do the open call auditions before the agent submitted auditions which meant I might not hear back for a couple of weeks. I hate the waiting process…ugh.
Somehow the universe had mercy on me because I received a message from Tut’s Director Abdel Salaam only 2 hours after I sang in the audition. I was then asked to submit a few recordings of myself since the composer Marcus Hummon was currently out of the country. Two hours after I submitted the mp3s, I got the CALL. “N’Kenge, we’d love to offer you the role of King’s Tut’s wife Ankhesenamun”. I was soooooooooooooooo happy I couldn’t contain myself.
A few weeks later, I learned that they were still seeking a TUT. The night before the auditions I called my very talented tenor friend Curtis Wiley to see if he was auditioning. To my shock, he knew nothing about it. After some emails back and forth with the General Manager, I got Curtis seen and Curtis did not disappoint. A day later, he told me that he was now my TUT.
Now with less than a week away from opening night, the experience has been just magical. Working with such a great team of people has been so rewarding. The choreography and direction from Abdel Salaam is breath-taking and the music of Grammy Award winner Marcus Hummon is simply undeniable. I LOVE the music. Beautiful pop/theater melodies with classical roots makes me wonder why TUT is not a musical being played all over the world. Soon enough soon enough;-) Hear for yourself and check out the link from one of the rehearsals!
Go to the Media Page to Watch Holiday Magic's Most Requested Songs!
This is my very first blog and I wish I had this forum to share my experiences while I was on the Tour. Since I didn’t, I’ll try to recap to the best of my ability on this amazing journey.
I remember when the Michael Jackson Tribute Show World Tour began, I felt like I was going to embark on something extraordinary. The excitement of discovering new cities, different cultures and developing new friendships. Of course, I packed everything BUT the kitchen sink. I should have known in the beginning that I was going to be stuffing my bags and carry-ons with NEW items after each city.
I have toured through some amazing parts of the world singing Opera which was in itself quite magnificent. The costumes, the full orchestra, singing in a different language and the dramatic staging was always so magical to me. Bringing to life music that was composed hundreds of years ago always gave me an out of body experience. BUT doing a world tour performing Michael Jackson music…. That was a whole different ANIMAL. The crazy energy and excitement from the audience members when I stepped onto stage. Audience members dressed like Michael, singing the songs with you, standing up on their feet throughout show while we perform hit after hit after hit. I had this bigger than life feeling and it only made me want to give more and more and more in my performances. The energy and sweat coming from the dancers, the hypnotic vocals coming from the singers and that raw, edgy, funky sound coming from the band made me think every night that I was the luckiest performer in the world!!!
I am really sad to see this Chapter in my life end but oh what a Chapter it was. I’ve come away from this with so many amazing friends from around the world that I will have for the rest of my life. Happy Memories, good times, lots of dancing, laughter, and tears of joy. I toast to all of you who have shared in this journey and look forward to the journeys ahead.