Emmanuel Pi Djob or Pi Djob, born Emmanuel Djob in 1963 in Dibang, Cameroon, is a singer and songwriter established in France.
After his beginnings mainly dedicated to gospel, he starts a solo soul/blues/funk career in the 2010s.
Childhood and youth
Emmanuel Pi Djob is a NdogSul Bassa Prince from Cameroon.
Emmanuel’s interest in music begins when he is 5 years old. He is to be strongly influenced by African-American, South African and Ghanaian highlife.
Two years later, he discovers the guitar which he learns to play on his own, just as he is later to do with keyboards. He starts singing at the age of 12 in the choir of the church Marie Gocker at Yaounde. There, he learns singing, body language, performing, harmony, composition, choir direction and the management of different individualities. During his adolescence he plays in small bands with friends; essentially male vocal quartets.
During his studies of economics in Yaounde, meeting other young Africans gives birth to the Pan-African gospel group Bayembi International.
As a 20 year old, he goes to France to pursue his studies of economics and law in Toulouse and later on in Orleans. In 1986 he creates the Black & White Quartet, a group of Cameroonian and French singers.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the band expands and becomes the Black & White Gospel Singers. It performs in France, Africa and Canada until the 2000s. In 2002, the band takes on an international dimension oriented towards world music, and is now called Black & White Xperience. Emmanuel Pi Djob is one of the initiators of the "Go-gospel" movement in Europe, a new style mixing the roots of Gospel with world music influences. He is still an active member of the band By The Gospel River (an “old school” Gospel male quartet).
He regularly performs as a solist with Gospel Pour Cent Voix.
He also creates and leads several amateur choirs. Amongst others, in November 1994 he creates a semi-professional choir with European reputation around his music and a sound of his own: Gospelize It ! Mass Choir. In 2010 he passes the direction of this choir on to Emma Lamadji so to perpetuate the original repertoire. He is one of the founders of Massilia Gospel Experience, a gospel school in Marseille. In 2011 he creates the Grenoble choir Gospel Move that stays under his lead until 201316. He also creates the Montaud Vocal choir in the village named Montaud near Montpellier. He frequently takes action in Gospel choirs throughout France, Spain and Belgium in order to transfer his repertoire and knowledge in workshops and concerts. In January 2016, 500 of the chorus-singers having participated in these various groups come together to form the Afro Soul Mass Choir and accompany him during a great concert in the Zenith of Montpellier (also refer to "Solo career").
Seven Minutes project: during a trip to Brussels, he meets three musicians, former members of the band Wallace Collection. They propose him a concept album on death penalty mixing different musical forms: blues, soul, rhythm 'n' blues, film music and pop-rock sounds. This project successfully ends in December 2008 with the release of a self-produced album.
From 2010 on, Emmanuel Pi Djob increasingly commits to his solo career, in a style mixing blues, soul and funk, and marked by the African-American influence of gospel. He mainly performs in France, but also in Spain, Belgium, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast.
His first solo performance, From Jailnight to Light, is derived from the album Seven minutes and two following albums released in 2010 and grouped under the denomination of Terrassa's Conversessions.
His participation in The Voice (see section below) is followed by the show Me and Ray, from 2013 to 2015, combining personal compositions and songs made famous by Ray Charles.
In 2015, he releases Get on Board! , an album full of sensuality and spirituality also addressing topical issues such as national identity. It includes a majority of titles in English as well as a few titles in French co-authored with Francis Lalanne. The release of this album is accompanied by a big concert at the Zenith-Sud of Montpellier, with Rhoda Scott and Francis Lalanne as guests, 500 chorus-singers, all translated into sign language.
Participation in other projects
He collaborates with other artists and projects for partnerships in discography, some of them with international scope: Rinôçérôse, John Adams, … He writes the music of the shows 'Au-delà des frontières' and 'Clameur des Arènes' from the choreographer Sana Saliou, in which he plays on stage.
He writes the soundtrack for the films 'Le Dernier Clan' and 'Faeryland' from Maga Ettori, two movies in which he also has a role.
He regularly shares the stage with many artists, ranging from amateur gospel choirs to renowned artists such as Franck Sitbon, Richard Epessé, Linda Lee Hopkins, Rhoda Scott… He participates in the concert tour Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts by the Laurent Mignard Duke Orchestra referring to the sacred music of Duke Ellington. He plays and sings at the concerts/conferences 'La leçon de jazz' of Antoine Hervé.
Whenever possible, he sings for humanitarian causes, such as the band Percujam composed of young autistes, or for 'Sourires et Solidarités d'Afrique'.
Participation in The Voice, the most beautiful voice (France)
On February 23, 2013, he participates in the casting of the 2nd season of The Voice in France, with an audience of more than 8.7 million. He convinces all the jury members who turn around for his interpretation of Georgia on my mind. He chooses Garou as coach.
The battle against Ralf Hartmann (A Whiter Shade of Pale, Procol Harum - March 23-7 460 000 viewers) is followed by the live performances:
Song 1: L’encre de tes yeux, by Francis Cabrel - April 13 - 7 273 000 viewers,
Song 3: I can see clearly now, by Johnny Nash - April 27, 6 473 000 viewers,
Song 4: Tears in Heaven, by Eric Clapton - May 4 - 6 770 000 viewers.
He makes it to the semifinals (Déjeuner en paix, by Stephan Eisher - May 11 - 6 860 000).
He then participates in the tour 2013, going from France, via Tahiti to New Caledonie and ending in Lebanon as part of the International Festival of Jounieh.
He plays the first part of the concert in Montpellier in The Voice tour 2014
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