Simple As I Am
NKENG crossed a Richmond street one afternoon. He was just down the way from his apartment next to the park - where the sounds from an old homeless man playing Amazing Grace on his saxophone filled the air. Nkeng reached his apartment in a matter of seconds but, so bound by the music he was hearing, it felt like a lifetime. Why did his heart ache so? He pondered. He got to his place and crawled into bed. NKENG's is a quiet story of dreams, renewed purpose, and growth... ... Nkeng was born in Cameroon, to a civil engineer and a school teacher. At a young age his parents moved the family to Canada, where they obtained their Post-Graduate degrees. While in Canada, Nkeng developed his love for music. He listened to radio frequently and enjoyed varying genres of music. His parents bought him vinyl records of diverse musicians, from Paul Simon to The Smurfs ..., and Nkeng would immerse himself in these as well. When the family returned to Cameroon, Nkeng developed a budding talent for music. He would sing along to Dolly Parton's "Love's Like A Butterfly" in one instance and in the next, sing and dance to Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa". By age 13 he was playing guitar and writing songs. Songs served as relief for Nkeng's teenage-induced woes. Knowing how music had helped him all his life, he began to consider the idea of becoming a professional songwriter; he wanted his music to help others as he had been helped by those he listened to growing up. At 17, fortune presented itself to Nkeng when he moved to the United States to attend school. He knew that any opportunity was possible for those willing to work hard for them. His interest in becoming a songwriter could be viable. A door had reopened but not without challenges. He was sent here to attend school in order to have a stable career and prosperous future. Nkeng was scared to let his family down by delving into the ever-so-broke world of the starving artist. Initially he could not work toward his passion to become a songwriter. As Nkeng crossed that street to his apartment that afternoon, his heart ached, because he was deeply torn between obligation and his calling. "Those were probably some of the hardest years in my life. It still moves me at times, how much I burned inside ..." - He finally decided there must be more to being blessed to make it across the ocean to the United States. It would take him 4 years to find his footing and rebirth his dreams. He returned to writing songs, and focused himself like a raindrop headed for earth. Renewed dreams ... Nkeng is currently promoting his debut CD, SIMPLE AS I AM, which was just released in July 2006. He is also working on several projects - including writing and producing for emerging talent. He writes independently, but also collaborates with other songwriters, using his very immediate presence, expressive personality and diverse cultural exposure to create superior songs (melodically and lyrically) - positioning him to make his mark as one of the best and most versatile songwriter/singer/producers in mainstream music. Nkeng visits Richmond to see old friends and often crosses that street, just down the way from his former apartment - by the park - where the old homeless man played Amazing Grace on his saxophone. "Ah - how sweet the sound"... Nkeng thinks to himself - "How sweet the sound"... ~~Awards 'Simple As I Am' - Finalist in the Song Of The Year Contest (VH-1 Save The Music) 'Superman Superman' - Suggested Artist honor, Song Of The Year Contest (VH-1 Save The Music) 'Simple As I Am' advances from among over 15,000+ songs in International Songwriting Competition 'You Remind Me' - Suggested Artist honor, Song Of The Year Contest (VH-1 Save The Music) ~~So Far... § 2005 - Song "Find A Way" (co-written with Darnley "Mello-D Hodge") is released on D.C.'s top Hip Hop band Mello-D & The Rados' 2004 Antitainment album (Thermite Records) § 2004 - Director of Gear Up [Music In Schools Today (MUST)], invites Nkeng to San Francisco, to use his song "You Remind Me" - a tribute song to Dr. King - as a social awareness tool to mix fun & learning, to inspire at-risk 7th & 8th Graders in area schools, as well as to motivate teenagers detained in juvenile correction § 2004 - Through Ricky Lawson, Nkeng meets Grammy Award songwriter/producer, Babyface, and presents work.