As contemporary music continues to dissolve the boundaries between categories, Inyang Bassey [pronounced E-yang] is a singer and composer who is taking her place in this thriving tradition through her own powerful, genre bending performances. Described with words that include pop, soul, funk electronic dance music (EDM) and classic, Ms. Bassey delivers an irresistible, high-energy experience that slices across musical styles with dexterity and elegance.
While Ms. Bassey performs a blend of original material and signature covers of classic, indie and electronic artists, there are references that inform the style she has made her own. In some moments, her voice will bellow with the raw power of Mahalia Jackson or Tina Turner. In others, it will be smooth and nostalgiac like Nat “King” Cole. It will hover, hang and lilt across an audience like Sarah Vaughan, or cry out with arresting heartbreak like Bessie Smith. And it can play between the curious, warm wailing of Bjork and the addictive, syrupy cooing of Gwen Stefani.
But the entire experience she creates is her own. It isn’t the classical execution of conventional style and material that makes her performances curious, enchanting and magnetic. It is her consistent ability to blend a range of styles and musical references to create a sound that she owns and delivers with a force. It’s the improvised vocal lead-in with an unexpected chord progression popular with indie choruses, paired with a haunting vibrato made famous in torch songs of the 50s and 60s. It’s the guttural low notes followed by a falsetto echo an octave up that both relieves and balances, both elegant and strong at once. And it is the merging of both timeless and contemporary musicianship that makes an audience resonate, saying “yes, I know this, I recognize this” to music that has never been performed live before that moment.
From the Beginning
Born to Nigerian and Jamaican parents in Flatbush, Brooklyn, Inyang Bassey and 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 at such esteemed venues as Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall.
On the Rise
In recent years, Bassey has stayed true to her calling and remains a multi-instrumentalist with a dynamic voice, composing music that echoes everything from ’60s soul to funk, blues, dance, EDM, pop, and rock. While collaborating with multiple New York–based artists, Bassey enjoyed a successful and eye-opening two years producing concerts for the renowned Carnegie Hall. The stage, however, came calling again when she was invited to tour with Moby. Bassey continues to receive stellar reviews—from The Washington Post to the L.A. Times—describing the mesmerizing power of her instrument, the energizing and inspirational quality of her performances, and the eagerness for the public to get to know this natural-born artist with an irresistible stage presence and a captivating voice.