Jalen Ngonda is one of the most captivating performers on today’s soul scene. His voice, equal parts raw feeling and elegance, exudes confidence and charm. At 28, his resume reads more like that of a seasoned veteran: He has performed at New York City’s Summer Stage Festival, Picktathon, Newport Folk Festival, opened for Laura Mvula and Lauryn Hill at the Montreal Jazz Festival and sold-out houses on his own in Germany, the UK and Switzerland.
Growing up in a music loving family on the outskirts of Washington D.C. Jalen began musical studies in grade school, where he dabbled in violin, ultimately moving on to the guitar and piano. His inspiration came from listening to his father’s collection of Motown CDs (The Temptations, Mary Wells, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles), which opened his eyes to the vastness of American music, guiding him along a path of constant study and discovery–from early blues, to gospel to jazz to rock & soul.