Since I’m always on the look-out for new artists who bear their pluralism with pride, I attended the Francofolies to see Mélissa N’Konda in Montreal. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this new singer but since her father is from Cameroun and her mother from Algeria, I was expecting a broad range of cultural and musical influences.
However, despite some reggae tunes Mélissa did not really card on her exotic side. Basically, she prefers an electric pop tinged with soul with blues and soul.
Vocally speaking, she could be compared to Amel Bent. Sometimes she softens the high intensity of her vocal chords by adopting a hoarse and broken voice, which is appropriate when she sings some sad blues notes.
For a 20 years-old singer who was only giving her 4th show, I was impressed by her ease and spontaneity on stage.
It’s not surprising that she couldn’t bear Nouvelle Star (similar to American Idol), a show prepared in great detail. While she lost this competiton, she got a contract deal with the AZ label after winning a contest advertized on Facebook.
That’s how she found herself on the stage of the Francofolies of Montreal to promote her very first album, Nouveaux Horizons. The songs that convinced me of her talent were « Pas ce soir » and « T’es parti ». At the end of the show, she also sung « Nouveaux horizons » a song that was rearranged in duet with Soprano, one of the biggest rapper in France.
Her latest single, « Je fais tout ça pour vous » is also a duet with VV Brown, a British singer born to a Puerto Rican father and a Jamaican mother. While « Je fais tout ça pour vous » is not a very multicultural, it offers a multilingual evasion since the song is sung in both english and french. For a preview of these two beautiful voices, I suggest you take a look of this live performance at French show, Le grand journal. She is an act to follow!
Like many summer festivals, the programmation of the Francofolies reflects the passions that montrealers have for nouveaux horizons. The hibiscus likes!
Picture credits: Melissa N’konda’s official Facebook page.