Jalen N’Gonda hails from Maryland in the US, but has spent recent years honing his songwriting skills under the esteemed eyes and ears of his peers and professors at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Introduced to him by our friends at mahogany, N’Gonda’s smooth vibes greeted the internet like a massive hug. Today marks Jalen’s debut release, a Double A-Side featuring ‘Holler (When You Call My Name)’ alongside the 60’s-fuelled ‘Why I Try’, both songs showcasing Jalen N’Gonda’s rock’n’roll-meets-soul influences from Jackie Wilson to The Kinks, while also tipping his hat to modern contemporaries – The Last Shadow Puppets.
Comparisons to nu-soul emergents like Leon Bridges and Curtis Harding seem lazy, when we scratch the surface. N’Gonda’s smooth, meticulously-produced songs see this promising young performer channeling the visceral growls and stomping swagger of soul stalwarts like James Brown and Otis Redding, while never losing sight of the melodic thread that makes N’Gonda’s music so entirely accessible and widely appealing.
Listen to ‘Holler (When You Call My Name)’
See Jalen N’Gonda live through the summer:
Latitude Festival (July 15)
Servants Jazz Quarters (July 18th)
Port Eliott Festival (July 29th)
Kendal Calling Festival (July 30th)
Haldern Pop Festival (August 12th)
Shambala Festival (August 28th)
In To The Great Wide Open (September 2nd)
Electric Picnic (September 4th)