Lyon, Rhône-Alpes, FRA


Growing up in both Yaound (Cameroun) and Paris, singer-songwriter Sandra Nkak was used to being tossed back and forth between two cultures and two climates, often with very contrasting social codes. As a refuge, she chose to bury herself in cinema, literature and music.
Her teenage bedroom was filled with the sounds of Leonard Cohens Sisters of Mercy and Tom Waits Blue Valentine, with Taxi Driver and the films of Sergio Leone and John Houston, with the shadows and light of Auguste Renoir and the colours of Matisse, with books like The Hotel New Hampshire and Boule de Suif and with the writings of Boris Vian and Chester Himes.
These stories transported her into a world where the adults are violent and distant, to the point where she began to imagine a parallel universe, peopled with the old lady with the white hat, Pompidou (modelled on a crazy young woman in her neighbourhood) and the doughnut seller of North Nkongkak. These characters came to life in her own secret stories that she accompanied with a soundtrack provided by her own voice.
This mad but joyful imaginary world gave her the strength to believe in life and her ability to take a step towards others while remaining faithful to her convictions, without betraying herself, without compromise. From that point on, fate and the people she encountered were her guardian angels.
Her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris first to become a journalist and then an English teacher did not hold her back for long and she began to live a double life as a singer and an actress working with Thomas Le Douarec, Pierre Pradinas, Lea Fazer, Alain Maratrat, Phillys Roome, and Praline Gay Para in pieces that blended theatre and music.
But the singer inside her came to the fore and she began to make a name for herself in the Paris music scene of the noughties, both in the studio and on stage, working with artists from different backgrounds, but only those with whom she felt a real affinity: Jacques Higelin, Daniel Yvinec and the National Jazz Orchestra, Juan Rozoff, Booster, Julien Lourau, Troublemakers, Ollano, Grald Toto, Rodolphe Burger, Nana Vasconcelos, Ji Mob and of course, her group project, Push Up.
It was at this time that she decided to begin working on her own material. The result was her first album, Mansaadi, released in 2008. She has since matured into an artist and performer with an extraordinary, multi-faceted voice deep, powerful, but fragile too and a unique stage presence that never fails to seduce those who see her live. Mansaadi is about love, sharing, dialogue, sincerity, and all the things that she is to her core: a woman-child, a woman-boy, a mother, a woman who is free and who trusts her instincts. She is never where we expect to find her. Her voice veers from mock-opera to folk to gut-wrenching blues, drawing us ever-deeper in to her stories. She has toured extensively, with three years crisscrossing France, culminating in a packed house at La Cigale in Paris, then the clubs of Central Africa (where she played in 13 countries), Mexico and Brazil.
Today, she is unveiling her second album. Conceived and recorded at home, Nothing for Granted is a blend of soul, pop-rock and a film soundtrack atmosphere. The songs recount everyday tales of individual and collective paths that cross and intertwine, and the existential choices they provoke.

Nothing For Granted is a vocal voyage fuelled by the energy of the songs protagonists as they seek to define or redefine their respective destinies. Epic, poetic or explosive, the music gains its power from their strength and their cries of freedom.

"The album was born out of a desire to tell those little everyday stories that give life its poetry and which when joined together, form a much bigger picture explains Sandra Nkak, who wrote the album with her long-time accomplice, the flautist and producer J Dr. They spent one year in an apartment transformed into a studio, where they dreamt up and gave life


March 2012 - Nothing For Granted - Jazz Village
2009 - Mansaadi - Naive