We caught up with N'Kenge, the singer who is in Motown: The Musical.
My name is N'Kenge. I grew up in NY, in both The Bronx and Brooklyn. I am a pop-soul and opera chic singer and originated the role of Mary Wells in Motown: The Musical on Broadway.
I have naturally curly hair and my style varies depending on my mood (and sometimes project I am working on). One day I am very glam, and the next day I can be funky. I can be showcasing a sporty look but will still throw a flower in my hair and some sparkly earrings. I love making a statement with my look.
Berry Gordy has been a wonderful mentor to me. He not only was a fantastic songwriter, but he built an empire called Motown; I admire and respect him so much.
Pursuing performing as a profession
My teachers and mentors saw that I had a talent for singing and I loved performing. After winning competitions in high school and going through undergrad and graduate studies at both Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School, I went to work immediately. I was ecstatic by the idea that I could really make my passion my profession.
My musical influences
Berry Gordy has been a wonderful mentor to me. He not only was a fantastic songwriter, but he built an empire called Motown; I admire and respect him so much. My vocal teacher, Martina Arroyo, has made her legacy as not only an amazing opera singer, but has a wonderful foundation and is constantly encouraging. Whitney Houston has the golden voice--I have idolized her since I was a little girl. Her sheer brilliance in stage presence and sound inspired me everyday to pursue my dream of being a singer.
Incorporating opera into my work
Opera is my foundation, so I am always trying to incorporate it in my music and projects. There is a musical revue I created called LEGENDS! that celebrates the music and lives of leading ladies from Nina Simone to Leontyne Price.
I also wrote a song that will be on my forthcoming album with angelslikerebels.com
Who I do this for
Definitely my daughter, Jahzara Martina. I wake up to that smile of hers that can heal a nation if given the opportunity...ha ha. I want to leave behind a legacy that she is proud of. In the near future, I hope to be wiser and enjoy a musical journey that takes me to more countries performing my music and crossing over to TV and film. I see myself producing and creating more of my own projects and being able to have outlets that will take these projects to the masses.