This Guyana born, Chicago-based singer-songwriter is an artist of many facets. Though his music is heavily inspired by neo-soul, he also draws inspiration from the sounds from his native country and the Caribbean. For instance, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” and the activist “The Gay Warrior” song have a reggae-like flavor, while “I Like That” could be described as an American soul tune with a Latin vibe.
His approach toward music focuses on the music first: “Usually I start with a track, and then I develop the melody and the words that belong to the song,” he explained in a telephone interview. “If it feels sad, happy, encouraging or like a love song, I feel like songs are alive. I think I’m more in tune with this stage of music—I’m listening more to what the music tells me instead of trying to force things.”
Nhojj is also very vocal in his activism on gay rights and bullying. He believes that acceptance toward alternative lifestyles (he is openly gay) is a slow process, but that is how things are sometimes. “It’s always painful and difficult, and it always feels like it’s not moving, but is. Even if it’s very slowly, things are getting better in peoples’ heads – people have to think about it, he explains. “The first time you think of an idea, you can push it aside, you can reject it, but if the idea keeps insisting, it changes the way people think. The long, long struggle is keeping the dialogue going, and that is slowly changing the nation.”
He will be the special guest of a musical event at the Halsted Center focused on bullying awareness, which will also feature Tim’m West, Scott Free, King Scandocious and other artists.
November 3 at Center on Halsted Youth Space, 3656 North Halsted,( 773)472-6469; 3pm. Free.