Jessy Matador: from Africa to the music world
by Sherif Awad
With his sportive looks, dancing movements and strong voice, singer Jessy Matador has finally come to America after scoring great success in Europe, Africa and the rest of the world. Born Jessy Kimbangi to two Congolese parents who moved to France, Matador is currently in New York to finalize a prominent record deal and photoshoot with famed celebrity photographer Marc Baptiste.
Matador began his career as a dancer in 2001. He later joined the group "Les cœurs brisés" (The Broken Hearts) with whom he toured the United States, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada. In 2005, he decided to create his own group called "La Sélésao" composed of members Dr. Love, Linho and Benkoff. The same members also formed the first edition of the group Magic System. In late 2007, they signed with Oyas Records before signing with Wagram Records in spring 2008. They released their début single "Décalé Gwada" in June 2008, becoming one of the hits of that summer. On 24 November 2008 the group released the album Afrikan New Style, a musical hybrid of African and Caribbean influences with more urban sounds. The style includes influences of zouk, dancehall, reggae, hip hop, Coupé-Décalé, ndombolo and kuduro. In December 2008, they released their second single "Mini Kawoulé". On 19 February 2010, it was announced by France Télévisions that Matador would represent France in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010, held on 29 May 2010 in Oslo, Norway with the song "Allez Ola Olé".
Jessy Matador placed 12th in the final, which was one of France's better results in the 2000s. That track also sold 200,000 singles, certified Gold. The single stayed #1 in the charts for 6 weeks in 49 countries. In 2012, he came out with a summer hit single called Zumba, which was also certified gold. The song was used as the soundtrack for the French movie "Qu'est ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu" aka Serial (Bad) Weddings (2014). After his biggest success, Jessy toured the world and performed all in Europe, USA (Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta), Brazil, Australia, and Asia. Being talented musically, Jessy has featured many artists and produces others as well. Today, he is recognized as one of the top leading artists in France. To his credit, he has a large number of followers and participated in several reality-shows and musical plays.
Jessy Matador is still considering his Eurovision’s performance as one of his great breakthroughs. With the song “Allez Ola Olé” that mixes three linguistics: French, Portuguese and Spanish, he easily succeed to speak to a broad audience not only across the Western World but to his motherland, Africa that is speaking those same languages as a result of many years of Colonialism. Matador hopes that his songs, performances and music videos can bring happiness to different people and inspire the new generation to trust his own talents no matter where he comes from. This month features many great activities for the 34-year-old artist: first he has an important label signing with MLife Records that has worked with great composer like Quincy Jones and great singers like Stevie Wonder to name a few. Then came an important photoshoot with Marc Baptiste, the celebrity photographer, who lensed Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, Pharell Williams and many figures in the celebrity world. Matador also has recently had a UN Meeting with H.E. Ambassador Ignace Gata Mavita wa Lufuta where they spoke about the actual crisis in DR Congo. The following day, a busy Matador started studio sessions with J. Wonda, the producer who’s worked with Justin Bieber, Shakira, Akon, Mary J Blige, Gucci Mane, and T.I, at the famed Platinum Recording Studios. We should look for Jessy's first single that will be released in September featuring a very prominent American artist. After those great activists, Jessy Matador plans to return Africa, specially his fatherland DR Congo for more musical concerts. I personally think that his US presence will attract many Hollywood producers to approach him for a new musical, this film genre that needs to return again to the big screen… Thinking of Purple Rain and Moonwalker…