Come along with me as soulful songbird N’dambi takes Singersroom on an in depth imaginative journey through her creative process. She chats with us about what moves and inspires her to create these colorful musical tales that she sees as short stories. And the impact music is to her coupled with the imprint she intends to make on the industry when it’s all said and done.
Singersroom: Tell me about your album Pink Elephant, where did the inspiration/idea for the album and title come from?
N’dambi: Well the inspiration for the title is: I wanted to make something that was a conversation piece, something where people say oh wow what is that about. Kind of like a coffee table book, you know a novel or something like that. I wanted to create a title that would spark interest in people and they wanted to know what it was about. I had been playing with the term elephant and wanted to find a cool way for it to resonate with the work I was doing. Basically for me in the end ‘Pink Elephant’ will be a take on, “there’s an elephant in the room” that people know is there but choose to ignoreâ¦In relationship to us as human beings, we all have our own personal sense of greatness that should be the thing that we strive for and allow to illuminate and shine bright but sometimes we’re put in positions where people will ignore it. Or a set of circumstances will stand in the way and we don’t shine [as] brightly as we should. The goal of ‘Pink Elephant’ was to be a work of encourage with the title in and of itself was to embody encouragement of your own personal greatness and shine despite obstacles that come on the day to day.
How I did this album I wanted it to be like short stories, so each song was like a story or a page out of a book in someone else’s life. And they [each track] were to connect in that way that’s what they have, if anything in common, is that they are what I consider short stories and just woven into a collection of short stories that now encases an album.
Singersroom: What is it about singing that led you to choose pursuing a career as a singer rather than an author?
N’dambi: Well, I think I’ve always had a connection with music and I always felt like music was such a part of my life that if I didn’t have it would feel like dying for me. I wanted to always be connected to music that way, and what singing allowed me to do was be able to sing and incorporate writing at the same time. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds; and at the time, I hadn’t written enough material which I felt would equal a novel so I said let’s start with singingâ¦and continue to the singing and writing that way, then I can always write that novel.
Singersroom: Why do you love R&B?
N’dambi: R&B roots in Gospel, and Gospel has all the offspring children of Jazz and Blues and all these other things. It’s music that has expression and allows you to be passionate about a feelingâ¦and you can inspire people in any way you want to with the medium. For me it’s just a way to express myself, as much as I can passionately, through the soulâ¦through music.
Singersroom: A lot of artist write about themselves but you seem to pull from your imagination. Do you like to keep you personal life private from your lyrics?
N’dambi: I think I always liked to watch people live, and so I’m so inspired by watching people, the observations of watching others, that’s kind of where my stories come from. I think that I can’t help but be related to some of what I write about just in experience because there are only so many experiences that you will have in this life. There will be connections, though it may not be a direct one. I definitely like to incorporate other people’s life in the stories I write.
Singersroom: Which character in the songs on your album do you feel the closes too?
N’dambi: Let’s take “Nobody Jones”â¦there’s a story about someone who feels empowered so she understands who she is and where she’s going and she embraces thatâ¦.so that’s kind of like a super hero to me. You know like you have this persona that people perceive you as; which then on the inside you know who you really are, and that’s the one you live with and that’s the one you operate from. I’m the super hero kind of empowered, embracing your best self kind of character.
Singersroom: What is your interest in Hip Hop, does that influence you in your music?
N’dambi: I get a big inspiration from Hip Hop. One because it ties in music that already existed before and since I love all music anyway I’m going to be excited about the process of taking something that already existed and recreating something that is now new. That’s the fascination because that means it created something from a situation inspired by something but it wanted to create something else not what already existed. Hip Hop is just one of those tools like that, so I definitely am influenced by [Hip Hop] a lot.
Singersroom: What is your favorite Blaxploitation film?
N’dambi: I do like Willie D [Dynamite] a lot, Willie D is interesting. I like that one because it’s one of the times when, although he’s turned to this certain lifestyle and it’s kind of glamor up, he realizes that’s not going to be the thing that gets him to be “the man” so-to-speak. He realizes he’s going to have to come to his own and do some things that regular honest way. So, yes Willie D is one of my favorites.
Singersroom: Which character would you play?
N’dambi: I would probably want to play Pam Grier, I’m sorry because she was one of the super hero ladiesâ¦or Christy Love or Cleopatra Jonesâ¦one of those ladies [characters].
Singersroom: What legacy would you like to leave in the music industry when it’s all said and done?
N’dambi: When it’s all said and done I would like to leave an imprint with the music that I make that inspires people to want to do and be better, or inspire them to want to do whatever it is that they are passionate about. I’m hoping that the music will outlive the time that it’s created to continue to inspire the generations to come.
—— By: Interview By Lauren Walker