Nice smile, crystal voice, that Cameroon woman had from the nature the power to charm when she sings. Born in Douala, Joëlle Esso grew up in a pious family, surrounded by her brothers.
She spent her teenage years in Ivory Coast (West Africa) and arrived in Paris (France) in the mid-80s. After getting her degree in history of art in Paris, she started to glance at the show business.
Few appearances on movies and telly and Miss Esso meets the Queen Abeti* who gives her a first real chance in 1988. At this point, Jo’s work is not really listened in Africa but no matters.
‘ I do not sing only for my mates back home’ she said. Then, she goes on tour with African groups in Colombia, USA and Guinea. Besides she is a good linguist. She is a golden girl.
Back in Paris, she decides to boost her skills: Cours Simon* then singing lessons... In 1995, she becomes a Wonder woman:
Back-up vocalist for Manu Dibango & Dee Dee Bridgewater at the prestigious Olympia, then with Jean Michel Jarre at the Trocadéro both in Paris, France.
Les Enfoirés takes her to the Grand Rex.
Member of the Choir Les Chérubins,a religious choir, Joelle\'s efficient work in studios allows her to lend her voice on famous artists’ albums such as Kassav’, Barbara, Céline Dion, Arielle Dombasle, Yannick Noah and more.
On tour with Nicoletta, Michel Delpech, Pascal Obispo or Liane Foly, our vocalist starts to feel singing on her own, and having her own show...
The piano bar has been her first school. Good choice because in 2001, Carole Fredericks gaves her the opportunity to sing her own song only 15 min before the show start.
‘I panicked. I told her I wasn’t ready’ Jo says. Carol replied ‘ you grab your chance or you let it go! It has to be a start.’
In 2003, everybody wants to be a part of the event. Helped by the best musicians in Parisian studios, Joëlle Esso records her first album. A jewel. An urban album with a touch of blues and gospel. An Afro-Parisian album sung with a mischievous and calm voice.
Have you heard about Esso? Learn about Joëlle then !
Kristo Numpuby (Translated by Deeddy M.)