Half-Congolese/Half-Swedish singer-songwriter [lastfm]Mohombi[/lastfm] possesses that perfect pop-star trifecta: outrageously good looks, raw vocal talent, and sweet, sincere charm.
Mohombi may be almost unknown in the United States, but on the eastern hemisphere he’s already lived the superstar lifestyle while in a band called [lastfm]Avalon[/lastfm] with his brother.
Now Mohombi is in Los Angeles working with famous (and half-Swedish) producer [lastfm]Red One[/lastfm], cutting tracks with people like [lastfm]Nelly[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Pussycat Dolls[/lastfm]‘ [lastfm]Nicole Scherzinger[/lastfm], and giving exclusive interviews with AMP Radio!
[pullquote quote="Whenever I hear music or whenever I do music, I can't stop moving. Dancing for me is as natural as singing. " credit="Mohombi"]
During our ten minute interview, we probed Mohombi’s mind, somehow got him to offer his hand in marriage, and made him do his “Bumpy Ride” dance with us. All before lunch time. That is what we call productivity!
On how Mohombi started making music:
“Well, basically, I grew up in a family with 15 brothers and sisters. And being one of the youngest I had to stand out somehow. So I found my thing to do…you know, I would get up on the table on Christmas Eve, we’d have parties, family get togethers. We were always performing, always dancing. But the day I actually started doing it professionally was when I was 12…most of us [family] are musical or like music. Growing up with so many different people in the house, you would definitely get so many different influences. I would listen to [lastfm]Elvis Presley [/lastfm] with my older sister, [lastfm]Run DMC[/lastfm] with my brother. We would all just get together in the living room and make-up some choreography.”
Mohombi’s acoustic performance of “Miss Me”:
[pullquote quote="I came up with the term Afro-Viking. That's just who I am. North and south. Black and white. Color-blind...music is just a big part of both of my cultures, which makes me just a crazy melting pot of influences." credit="Mohombi"]
On his love of dance:
“Whenever I hear music or whenever I do music, I can’t stop moving. Dancing for me is as natural as singing. It’s as important and that’s really what I want to bring forward because I started doing both at the same time. And I love doing both. Together. I create my own moves for every song, or at least all the dance tracks on my album will definitely have a signature move because I want people to not only sing along but also to dance along.”
On the differences in the music business in the United States vs. Europe:
“It’s more instant here. It’s the real deal. And this country is so big. You know, it’s as big as Europe…For me, my theory is that as long as people don’t know me, I still have a job, you know?…I still have a quest to just get out there, recruit everybody.”
Mohombi’s acoustic performance of “Bumpy Ride”:
On his signature Afro-Viking sound:
“My mom is Swedish, she’s a beautiful Swedish woman and my dad is from Congo. Central Africa. So I basically grew up in two different worlds, because they are really two extreme, extreme worlds. Growing up both in Congo and in Sweden, traveling around the world touring as a young artist, that was just natural…I came up with the term Afro-Viking. That’s just who I am. North and south. Black and white. Color-blind…music is just a big part of both of my cultures, which makes me just a crazy melting pot of influences.”
[pullquote quote="Poverty is a fact, but I've never seen such joy of life ever before in any country. Not only because I'm half Congolese. It's just true. People enjoy life, music, dance, having a good time, family is everything for people; they just take care of each other...I see myself as an ambassador for my country...I'm just here to spread the good word. The positive energy. " credit="Mohombi"]
On his relationship with one Red-One:
“When I decided to go my own project and my solo career, something was just dragging me out to LA, I saw signs everywhere…I met Red-One through common friends from Sweden as well…so that was the start of a really strong friendship. I actually became friends with Red-One before we started working together.”
On growing up in war-torn Congo:
“That thing is, when you talk about Congo, when you hear about Congo, people usually expect only bad memories because that’s the only picture we’ve seen from the country…Poverty is a fact, but I’ve never seen such joy of life ever before in any country. Not only because I’m half Congolese. It’s just true. People enjoy life, music, dance, having a good time, family is everything for people; they just take care of each other…I see myself as an ambassador for my country…I’m just here to spread the good word. The positive energy.”
Mohombi’s acoustic performance “Coconut Tree”:
On the lessons that he learned growing up around war and his advice for others in similar situations:
“To appreciate stuff…you know, it’s chaos. What I do bring is that I appreciate every day. I’m a “carpe diem” guy. Every day is precious…If I speak from my own experience, I just kept on following my dreams and goals. No matter what. But at the same time I was smart about it. I had my college degree. I pursued my studies which is really important because you never know what’s going to happen. Especially in this business, nothing is guaranteed. You just have to do what you’re best at and hope for the best, you know? So my advice is just go for it a hundred percent, but think about it. Think about where you want to go.”
On being the son of an African king:
“I never talk about it. But it’s true. My dad comes from a royal family in Congo, you know, before the Europeans got to Africa there were a lot of big kingdoms. Still today for people, it’s the real deal. They believe that before the colonization they were kings. They’re real about it…Even if there is a president. They don’t have a political function but he’s [Mohombi's dad] a legend in my country.”
This man isn’t just articulate, gorgeous, and our pretend future husband–he’s massively talented without the aid of studio production. After watching all the videos we’re sure you’ll agree!