Mohombi "Bumpy Ride"
Tuesday November 9, 2010
International music sensation Mohombi gives fans the back-story about his first US single "Bumpy Ride," sharing that the track "is about love on all levels - boy meets girl and things get crazy!" Check out the video to learn about how Mohombi's African background influences his signature dance moves, as well as to hear the story of the first time he heard Bumpy Ride on the radio.
Friday October 29, 2010
In the second "Meet Mohombi" video, the multi-talented musician and dancer shares with fans what it was like to be the first artist signed to producer RedOne's label 2101 Records. "For me, it was like opening another door, but this time it was THE door!" he says. Mohombi also reveals more about the themes on his upcoming album, Movemeant, due out early next year. Movemeant will feature the singles "Bumpy Ride" and "Miss Me (feat. Nelly)," the UK single.
Friday October 22, 2010
Mohombi recently burst onto the music scene with his debut single "Bumpy Ride," and now the Swedish-Congolese singer wants to give fans a chance to get to know him better. In part one of "Meet Mohombi," the self-proclaimed "Afro-Viking" shares more about his family, his childhood in Congo, and the origin of his unique name.
Stay tuned for part two, and in the meantime visit Mohombi.com to for the latest news and watch the videos for "Bumpy Ride" and his UK single "Miss Me (feat Nelly)." Both tracks will be featured on his upcoming album Movemeant, due out early next year. "Bumpy Ride" is available now on iTunes.
Sunday August 29, 2010
Universal Music is partnering with super producer RedOne (Michael Jackson,
Sean Kingston, Enrique Iglesias, Akon, and Lady Gaga) on a new label, 2101
Records, and is launching with the unique powerhouse talent of Mohombi.
The 23-year-old singer/songwriter was born to a Swedish mother and Congolese
father, and draws on his diverse cultural heritage to create a musical style
that is as distinctive as it is universal. Combining African influences
with a global pop sensibility, Mohombi's style and sound - as well as his
distinctive dance moves - are destined for worldwide success.
The video for "Bumpy Ride" was shot in Miami and was directed by Gil Green (Rick Ross, Lil Jon, Akon) and perfectly captures Mohombi's feel-good vibe. Experience his sound firsthand by watching the video, and visit Mohombi.com for all the latest updates. "Bumpy Ride" is available for download now on iTunes.
Mohombi's path to singing, song-writing, dancing and record producing has been a winding road. Raised in extended stints in both Congo and Sweden, his African father and Scandinavian mother regularly exposed Mohombi to varied musical influences from early on in his childhood. Fast forward to 2008 when super producer and fellow semi-Swede RedOne (Lady Gaga, Usher, Lil Jon, Enrique Iglesias) discovered Mohombi in LA, the pair connected over their love for pop music with an over-arching worldwide awareness. RedOne immediately welcomed Mohombi's songwriting skills into his creative camp where it wasn't long before Mohombi made known his musical versatility and kinetic energy in the studio convincing RedOne to make Mohombi the first act signed to his 2101 Records - his label venture with Universal Music Group. Island Records in the UK and Cherrytree/Interscope in the US will release Mohombi's debut album Movemeant - which features guest spots from St. Louis rapper Nelly and Pussycat Doll singer Nicole Scherzinger. These features were recorded in a series of sessions filled with fun, energy and spontaneous dancing (a gifted mover, Mohombi has brought every track on his album to life by designing an individually choreographed dance routine).
The undulating, dancehall grooves of first single ‘Bumpy Ride’ serve as introduction to the urgency of Mohombi's sound as well as a parallel to his own life's "bumpy ride." The autobiographical themes on the album range from triumphant celebration to overcoming struggle and adversity in a journey filled with moves across borders and cultures. Mohombi remembers the beginning of that journey well. It was August 14, 1998 and a tumultuous time in war-torn Congo. There were bombs exploding and gunshots overhead when Mohombi’s parents took Mohombi, his sister and brother to the port to evacuate them from the turmoil. Mohombi and his siblings tried to take a ferry, but the port closed minutes before they were due to board. The next day they were transported by the French military to a base in France, then finally to Stockholm.
“Obviously, it was a really difficult time,” recalls Mohombi. “It was in the middle of the war that we had to flee. I realised we were really lucky to get that second chance, and to get a new life.” His thoughts were consumed by what happened to the people who stayed, and this turmoil was expressed in poetry, which a teenage Mohombi eventually set to music. “You have to figure out how to manage something like that, what to take out of it and whether you make it something constructive, or whether it destroys you,” Mohombi says now. “Music was my way of working through it. It was a way of expressing not just what was in my mind, but what was in my heart.”
Mohombi, his brother and sister got an apartment in the relative calm of a Stockholm suburb and felt freedom for the first time. Brother Djo started DJing in Stockholm clubs and the trio’s house was alive with Bobby Brown, Will Smith - party music, in the main. There was an unselfconscious energy and joy to the music that flipped a switch in Mohombi’s brain. It was contagious - the brothers started working on music together, and before long they had founded the group they called Avalon. The dynamic between them lent itself well to songwriting, each brother playing to their individual strengths musically: While Djo concentrated on beats, Mohombi was captivated by song. “I think we sounded different but still accessible…’, Mohombi says now of Avalon, “We were still Congolese but we offered a twist on it - we were music of the day like R&B, dancehall and hip-hop”. In Sweden, Avalon became something of an underground success but it was during this period that Mohombi’s sister died in an accident. It’s not an event on which Mohombi tends to dwell, but he does acknowledge its significance in what would happened later on. “She’s a big part of me still, and a big part of the music, and always will be. She was always the one who believed in this the most,” he recalls. “She saw the potential. She said we’d be signed to the biggest label in the world. And today I am signed to the biggest label in the world.”
Group Avalon’s was no overnight success, but when it worked, it went off like a firework. Between 2004 and 2008 they sold half a million albums, picked up an African Grammy and performed played alongside Ludacris, Ginuwine and Musiq Soulchild. Mohombi, meanwhile, was writing so much music that there were tunes left over. In 2005 he was shortlisted in Sweden’s prestigious Melodifestivalen having written, produced and performed his own entry, then massive South Korean boyband Big Bang picked up a number of his other songs.
It would take another turn - this time to LA - for things to really fit into place. Mohombi’s pop career had only ever been part time and by the late 2000s Mohombi was working for Sony Ericsson in Stockholm as a logistics manager. Excitement was in short supply. “It wasn’t,” notes diplomatically, “exactly my dream.” “One day I went to my boss’ office and said, ‘I’ve been doing music since I was 12, I have to take it to the next level, I’m heading to LA.” His boss raised an eyebrow and offered Mohombi a withering “good luck, my friend”. “It felt like something was pulling me,” Mohombi says. The Big Bang songwriting success may have been destiny calling or may simply have been some rather good timing but it served as a validation of his songwriting talent. It was also the beginning of a shift in his expectations. “It was the push I needed to leave,” he recalls. “I got together with a bunch of friends who are also songwriters. I said, ‘let’s do this!’.” So they did. People always go to LA with a purpose, of course, but they can also leave LA with broken dreams. Mohombi knew he had to make it. “I was suddenly among all those people,” Mohombi recalls. “Every one of them hoping to take their dreams to the next level. It’s in the air, it’s in the energy. It’s hectic and hungry.” He called contacts from Sweden and met up. A small collective was forming. A couple turned out to have moved over there when the previously Stockholm-based producer RedOne, whose own background is Swedish-Moroccan, saw his first single with Lady Gaga becoming a hit. When Mohombi met RedOne they clicked instantly. “He’d heard that I was a songwriter,” Mohombi recalls. “But he was also interested that I was an artist."
Skip ahead to summer 2010 and Mohombi is not just an artist, but the first one signed to RedOne’s 2101 Records. His tunes, meanwhile, have zoomed off in exciting new directions. There’s a 90s rave dance feel to tunes like ‘Dirty Situation’ and ‘Coconut Tree’ - reference points that feel like Haddaway, Dr Alban and Ace Of Base but not in an angular, post-ironic Hoxton-obsessed sort of way. The joyous, celebratory spirit that fuelled all those hits back in the day is splashed across these tunes like the surf up your legs on a sunset beach walk. As Mohombi explains, while his new material takes a big leap forward, it’s not even that different in spirit from what he used to knock out with his brother. “That’s what makes it so honest for me,” he says. “The motion and the rhythm are really African - rhythmic, dancey, but what we tried to do was merge the African feel with 90s words and melodies.” The result is something that sounds very 2010. “Red took it to the next level, modernized it, gave it his touch and his pop flavour,” Mohombi says. “He’s an amazing pop producer first of all - he’s a hitmaker.”
Well, those hits - and they must surely come - will speak for themselves, as the journey continues. “It feels like my life is all about movement,” Mohombi says. “I don’t know where I’ll end up. Maybe nowhere, maybe everywhere.” It’s hard to listen to his songs and not feel that ‘everywhere’ is the only option. “It’s ‘the long road’, as we say in Congo,” Mohombi says. “A bumpy ride, but an exciting one.”