I would have given up by now if I thought I was competing with anyone.
WHO IS JESSICA BONGOS?
“Singer, songwriter, Jessica Enupapa Bongos-Ikwue (Enupapa means “Father’s mother” in idoma) is an Abuja based independent artist. She hails from Otukpo, Benue State and was born on July 15, 1983 in Lagos State, Nigeria.
She acquired a bachelor’s degree in International Development from the University of Liverpool and a master’s degree in Leisure events and facilities management from Sheffield Hallam University.
She was constantly exposed to music. Growing up with a musician as a father (Bongos Ikwue), he often gathered the family around in the living room to play his guitar, urging them to sing songs. She stood out as she inherited her father’s zeal for music, and it was in that family room her talent was cultivated.
HER MUSICAL JOURNEY SO FAR.
Jessica Bongos officially started singing with her father, Bongos Ikwue in 2006, recording backing vocals on a few of his songs. She decided to step out on her own as a solo singer in 2013. That same year, she released her debut single titled “You Left Me”.
In July 2014, she released her debut album, a 5-track EP titled “UNSCATHED”, produced by Atta Lenell. By December 2015, Jessica Bongos was placed on Spinlet’s “Sound of 2016” list, featured alongside other Nigerian breakout artists, including Kiss Daniel, Adekunle Gold, and Tekno.
Jessica’s sound can be described as Neo Pop Soul. Her unique raspy, sultry vocals are described as “intriguing to listen to” and that they “blend well with her stories of love and heartbreak”.
As she explains it, “Music touches the deepest part of my soul. It is to me, the most beautiful artistic expression of feelings that people can relate to on a daily basis”.
The composition of her music is inspired by a variety of genres such as old school Motown, soul, R&B, jazz, gospel, alternative, and country music. Her biggest musical influences are Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Etta James, Nina Simone, Sade Adu, Otis Redding, Dolly Parton, Stevie Wonder and Bongos Ikwue.
“Broken to Peace”, Jessica’s debut album was officially released on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017. The album is an eclectic mix of soul, jazz, blues, highlife, and alternative music. All tracks on this album were produced and mixed by Atta Lenell Otigba except for track 1 which was produced by Tay Iwar.
It’s also the first time I almost cried in the studio while recording a song. I think I may have actually cried.
TM NG: YOUR NAME (JESSICA BONGOS-IKWUE) AND YOUR MUSIC SOUNDS LIKE YOU TRYING TO CONTINUE WHAT YOUR FATHER STARTED. TELL ME ABOUT IT.
Jessica: Lol. My father’s shoes are too big for me to fill. I’m just doing my best.
TM NG: IN FEW WORDS, PLEASE SUMMARIZE YOUR BIOGRAPHY AND DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY.
Jessica: I was born in Lagos State on the 15th of July 1983. I grew up in Lagos with my sibling and parents. I lived there for the first 18 years of my life after which I went to London to get my A-levels certificate. Went on to the University of Liverpool where I acquired a bachelor’s degree in International development, came back home to do my NYSC, then went back to get a masters in Leisure events and facilities management from Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield. A music career wasn’t in the cards until about four years after I got my master’s degree.
My personality is very reserved, shy and quite introverted. I love to be by myself. I’m not exactly the life of the party. I’m also very sensitive, emotional and a great lover of different art forms.
TM NG: WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO ALL THESE YEARS? I AM SUPER INTERESTED. YOU JUST SURFACED AND BLEW MINDS WITH A MAD ALBUM.
Jessica: Lol! I’ve been living, I guess. I was doing everything else but music because it took me a really long time to believe that I had any musical talents. I didn’t know I did, I didn’t believe I did, so it was not even an option for me at the time. I guess my dad knew I had something because he requested that I join him in the studio when he was working on his last album. He started working on that album in 2006, I believe. He got my sister and I to do backing vocals on about 80 percent of the songs on that album. He said I had a good ear for harmonies. I started believing in myself slowly. The rest is history.
Interview continues on the next page>>>