NTJAM ROSIE: At The Back Of Beyond (Gentle Daze)

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Ntjam (it’s pronounced “jam”) was born in Cameroon but now works out of the Netherlands. ‘At The Back Of Beyond’ is her third album and it’s released on her own Gentle Daze label –we’re told she enjoys the business side of the biz as much as the writing and performing of her delicate, spacey songs. Ntjam grew up adoring Madonna but grew to love Sade and then the whole neo-soul scene –especially Erykah Badu and, indeed, on this 11 tracker you can hear traces of all three of those artists. However it would be very wrong to tightly pigeon-hole Rosie’s music, or, indeed, liken it too closely to anything else. She describes it as “global crossover” and if by that she means “hints of neo-soul, flashes of pure pop, a garnish of indie, elements of Afro-beat, a jazzy looseness and a little rock sensitivity”, then she’s spot on!

Ntjam’s music is intensely personal – full of mood swings and odd tempo changes – heard at it’s best on the melancholic ‘Thinking About You’. Backed by swirling strings, her naive, light vocal is heart rending but just a you’re about to weep with her she takes an upward, optimistic flight before returning back down to the ground. It’s the LP’s most endearing cut. Elsewhere the French language song ‘Je Me Confie’ is much more straightforward in its structure – more Françoise Hardy than Erykah Badu, while on ‘Love Is Calling’ and ‘In The Middle’ Ntjam’s proud to show off her new guitar skills with some serious light rock riffing – though the vocal is a million miles away from the chest-beating rock stereotype… see what I mean by “hard to pigeon-hole”?

Find out more about this intriguing artist and ‘At The Back Of Beyond ‘@ www.ntjamrosie.com

(BB) 3/5