Zemmy Momoh- African songstress

Hailing from the motherland with a sweet-soulful voice that could make  a snake come out of its lair is none other than Zemmy Momoh. She is a London based songstress with Nigerian roots who says “I’d put my sound somewhere broadly between Sia, Dido, Sade and Maroon 5.”

Without further ado, read more on her!

Who is Zemmy Momoh and what does she represent?

Ooh, open with a toughie. I’m a Christian Nigerian lady living in London. I’ve been here for about fourteen years now. In general I hope I represent a fun-loving, compassionate and optimistic outlook on life. Although on some fronts I’m also doing a very good job of representing procrastination!

How old are you? Ignore this question if you believe that a woman never tells her age.lol!

Haha, I’m 24. I tell my age but then wince a bit after.

You are a London based artist with Nigerian roots.  How did London end up being your main performing base?

I came here (the UK) to attend good ol’ all-girls boarding school when I was ten. Our home in England was in London and I loved it so here I still am. I live here permanently but I plan to go back and forth between both countries as my homeland needs fixing up in all sort of different ways.

You cite Sade and Dido as being some of your musical influences, showing your versatile ear for music. Talk to us more about this.

I love so many different styles of music. I grew up listening to Lionel Ritchie, Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan and lots of disco funk. Then my early teens belonged to Backstreet Boys, Britney, Christina, Mariah Carey, Destiny’s Child and the like. I was such a pop princess! Then getting into my mid-teens hip-hop, bands and alternative stuff started to catch my ears and I’ve just carried on loving all kinds of styles – apart from metal and country!

Currently you are gigging around London with your band.  How did you guys meet, and what is the name of the band?

Ah well it’s actually me as a solo act type thing and then my band support me (like KT Tunstall or Dido or Beyonce all have their bands), so I just go by name. I met the boys through the ever glamorous method of placing wanted ads for musicians, and luckily it was them and not disturbed psychos who responded.

In your interview with Art and Things, you mentioned that you were pursuing an MA in Public Policy at UCL, quite far removed from music. Have you graduated since? If so, congrats. If not…Keep on! What is your interest with public policy and how does this tie in with your musical pursuits?

It was an MSc degree but yes very far from music indeed! I graduated in 2009 so thanks for the congrats. I’m interested in domestic and international development. It’s probably because I come from where I do so I grew up seeing a lot of poverty, lawlessness and bad governance, then coming here the gang culture really riled me up. It’s crime reduction in particular that has my interest. I really can’t stand criminal and anti-social behavior. If I get any clout as a musician I hope to use it to do something about keeping kids of the streets and helping ex-offenders resettle.

You’re currently in the process of recording your debut EP. What can we expect and when is it dropping?

It will be a three track record of soulful pop songs. I actually wrote all three songs one after the other so they have broadly the same flavor. I tend to flit between more pop/soul and more singer/songwriter type pop. It should hopefully be out in early May. Just one more track to record. I’ve actually got the other two available to buy from my Bandcamp site right now: http://zemmy.bandcamp.com.

In 2009, you were one of the artists selected in Mercedez Benz Mixtape 26th edition. Never heard of MBM, can you elaborate more on this? How does the selection process work?

Well I had never heard of it till the scout contacted me on myspace. I just thought ‘scam’ and didn’t even bother fully reading the very long message. Then I came across it later online and saw it was totally legit and kicked myself. So I rushed back and asked if I had missed my chance to appear in the series and they said I still could. It’s just a really cool initiative that Mercedes-Benz do. They deliver it to subscribers (which they have a lot of) and you get all these great tracks from up and coming acts for free. It was lovely to be selected.

You have a gig scheduled for March 10, 2011 in London. Can you please give us a briefing of what we can expect to take away from your concert?

Well you can expect me to be dripping in sweat by the end! It’s always so hot on stage! You can also expect me to sing my heart out and throw some serious shapes while I’m doing so. My band and I love playing live so we pour ourselves into our performances. We’re actually trying to incorporate some more elements into our show at the moment (new instruments, cool effects).

Like Drowning is my personal favorite, what was the inspiration behind this song?

Why thank you! I was sitting in the dark on my bed and the chorus melody popped into my head then the first thing I sang out loud was ‘Just like drowning’.  And then that melody belonged to those words and they weren’t going to be separated. Then I just thought back to times when I felt suffocated by people and felt that I just had to get away because I couldn’t breathe around them. Then I wrote the lyrics as if it was a boyfriend ‘drowning’ me.

What can we expect from Zemmy and the Band in the future?

You can expect us to be releasing more stuff, possibly playing some good support slots (fingers crossed) and hopefully playing some bigger and better shows.

Are you indie or signed?

It’s the indie life for me : (

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just thanks for very much for featuring me on your site!

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