JP Smooth Gallery Module
Tonight Show with Jay Leno Photographed by The Tonight Show with Jay Leno/Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU”
Rarely does an artist possess a seemingly effortless ability to engage the emotions of her listener with an equally arousing balance of timeless depth and modern creation. Inyang Bassey [pronounced E-yang] is a refreshing and surprising vocalist who leaves audiences awestruck by the arresting emotion and raw power of her voice. Her delivery can be as smooth and nostalgic as Nat “King” Cole and Sarah Vaughan combined with the power of Mahalia Jackson and Bessie Smith, or as fierce and commanding as Tina Turner or Shirley Bassey. It is clear that she understands the range of her talent by the way she sets the tone of any song. Bassey can take ghostly background voices in rock ‘n’ roll music and unabashedly make them the star of any room, just as easily as she puts the sex and urgency back in blues and soul through her lyrical storytelling. And no matter the genre of music, the pure joy she exudes on stage is intoxicating.
Born to Nigerian and Jamaican parents in Flatbush, Brooklyn, her family relocated to upstate New York for the promise of a quality public school education, where a young Inyang was introduced to the violin. Piano lessons soon followed, making it abundantly clear that Inyang possessed a talent for musical self-expression. She attended Columbia University as a pre-med major, but discovered the unmistakable power of her voice after her roommate heard her belting joyfully in the shower. At her roommate’s request, Bassey auditioned for a university production, ultimately becoming one of its composers, a featured soloist, and its musical director. This marked the beginning of a career that has since been filled with concert appearances and musical theater work.