Watch Imany At Blue Frog

March 13, 2013 8:05 am by

Photo: Barron Claiborne.

Imany, the French singer-songwriter who will perform at Blue Frog on Thursday, March 14 as part of the Bonjour India Festival of France, is often compared to artists like Billie Holliday and Tracy Chapman. To us, there’s more of Amy Winehouse in Imany’s deep voice, and her songs have a bluesy soulfulness. Born in France to parents from Africa’s Comoros Islands, Imany, whose real name is Nadia Mladjao, started out as a model. She changed her name to Imany, which means “faith” in Swahili, because she was surrounded by model colleagues called Nadia. “I always wanted to be a singer,” Imany said in an email interview. “Modeling is a temporary job. Every model knows she’ll retire by the time she reaches 30 if she’s lucky, so that was my second life.”

In 2008, Imany moved to Paris from New York, where she had spent seven years as a model, to become a singer. Three years later, she released her debut album, The Shape of a Broken Heart. Written in English, the songs tell melancholic stories about love through simple tunes. Imany, who will be performing songs from her album as well as new material, said that aside from taking a few voice lessons, she’s entirely self-taught, and that she counts Nina Simone, Tracy Chapman, Tina Turner and 1990s hip-hop as her inspirations. Her African roots have also influenced her music, but subconsciously. “It’s part of me, like having two arms and legs”.