With a force that exudes his passion for love and life, a tone that resounds in both whisper and wail, and a consciousness that, without being preachy, speaks truth to power, Nhojj has spent more than a decade becoming what some regard as an acoustic soul “genius of joy”. “I want to make the world better…one song at a time!” Nhojj says, a statement that underscores a classic soul tradition of having a “message in the music”.
More distinctive than his trademark flowing locs or striking features is that Nhojj is a songwriter who understands lyricism, a vocalist who projects his voice as an instrument, and an entertainer with a mysterious magnetism that has compelled International audiences for years. With an essence that is as sweet as it is strong, Nhojj is the self-affirming “warrior” noted in his award-winning, chart-topping anthem Gay warrior song. His fight is not for power or prestige. In fact, after 6 CDs, 11 singles and an Unplugged Live DVD (filmed by Emmy-nominated director Bill Cote), Nhojj best fights for love through the courageous magic of his songs.
Nhojj’s beginnings are in Guyana and Trinidad, where he performed for the Presidents of both countries. A preacher’s kid, his humility, deep spirituality, and passion for music can be traced back to a 5-year old singing in his father’s church in Georgetown. A great student whose musical talent was perhaps understated given his natural inclination for it, Nhojj would complete a BA in Economics at New York University before embarking on a musical career.
Since taking that bold step he has shared the stage with such iconic figures as Norah Jones, Regina Belle, Taylor Dayne, Crystal Waters, and Out Poet Activist Staceyann Chin. In the summer of 2010, his music led to an International Pride Tour that culminated in Munich, Germany. At the AIDS memorial in Germany, 500 balloons were released to the sky as Nhojj’s voice soared offering the refrain I Miss You! He is deeply connected to causes that have affected him in a personal way, which drives his passion to create songs echoing universal messages of love and hope.
Nhojj’s most notable accomplishments are that he has been the “first” in several respects. He was the first gay Indie artist to reach #1 on the MTV Music chart with his same gender loving video, Love. In late 2009, Nhojj opened doors when he became the 1st Black male to win an OUTMusic Award, the Alliance of LGBT Recording Artists & Performers voted “Love” OUTStanding R&B/Soul Song of the Year. In spite of the perceived and actual homophobia in communities of African and Caribbean descent, Nhojj has been uncompromising in his message, leading to high praise by black media groups like BET’s Centric Soul Sessions who congratulated him, “…for delivering high quality Jazzy-Soul for nearly a decade… for being a Black history and a gay history first!”
Remarkably Nhojj’s impression into the hearts and minds of people the world over has been organic in nature. There are no major label marketing ploys or reality TV stunts; little beyond a heart that understands sincerity and gives to causes such as Lifebeat, the Gay by God Campaign, and performances at various September 11th memorial concerts. Most recently he donated the proceeds from his 2010 OUTMusic Award winning, #1 Reggae CDBaby single, “ The Gay Warrior Song”, to The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), an LGBT Rights Organization in Guyana. Nhojj’s belief in the message of God’s unconditional love is relayed through songs like Things Will Get Better, created in response to gay bullying, especially among teens, as well as his Easter 2001 release of groundbreaking marriage equality music video for his classic interpretation of Amazing Grace.
Nhojj’s creative success can be attributed to the fact that he understands and values critical collaborations with other artists and filmmakers: from the feature Love in San Francisco GLFF “Best First Film” nominated Blueprint or Spring Rain and Dream in the TLA hit film Finding Me to the musical collaborations with Def Jam Poet ButtaflySoul and fellow OMA winner baron in My Brother. The world has only seen the tip of the iceberg for a soul rebel whose hot enough to melt adoring fans yet cool enough to win over new ones.
With new projects, such as the forthcoming video for his provocative single Adam & Steve (a song which marries spirituality and sexuality), the desire to “make the world better one song at a time” is evidenced by an unfailing optimism that is as contagious as his melodic falsetto runs. Says Nhojj, “There is a deep spirituality that flows through my work. I like to think that it creates a sanctuary for my listeners.” This sanctuary is here for people from all walks of life to share in the beauty that is a courageous love. Open your heart and you’ll find its drumbeat in his songs.