Award winning Caribbean singer Nhojj pushes the envelope with his upcoming February 14 CD release Made to Love Him – Celebrating Love. For his 5th studio album Nhojj performs same-sex renditions of classic love songs spanning 10 decades.
3x OUTMusic Award winner Nhojj releases Made to Love Him: Celebrating Love – a compilation of 12 classic love songs spanning 10 decades. Set for a Valentines Day release, with pre-orders available now on iTunes, the album features standards written by such greats as George and Ira Gershwin, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Harold Arlen and E.Y Harburg, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Billy Joel, India.Arie and Nhojj himself.
“I’ve always loved Stevie Wonder’s classic,” says Nhojj about the inspiration for the title. “It speaks of childhood stirrings, recognizing true love, and standing up to family objections. This is my story, and the story of so many LGBTQ people around the world. I began to hear the lyrics with male pronouns and I could feel old wounds healing – what a fresh way to demonstrate the normality of my sexuality.”
Nhojj has been expressing his sexuality through his music for almost a decade. His music video Love depicts the romance of two black men, and Amazing Grace depicts an interracial male couple exchanging marriage vows. Singles like Bromance and the #1 OutVoice songs He & Him and Adam & Steve all honor the love “that dare not speak its name”. His work has featured on LOGO, Advocate.com and Centric TV’s Soul Sessions. But Nhojj proclaims, “I feel this is my best album yet, I took chances I haven’t taken before and I’m proud of the result.” This new album is definitely a bold move from an artist who has made a musical career of following his internal compass into unchartered waters.
Preliminary work for Made To Love Him started in the spring of 2012, after Nhojj performed at the first Out & Proud First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum. Nhojj and executive producer Ron San Marchi compiled a long list of songs and started the almost impossible process of elimination that would result in the 12 recorded tracks. Recording took place in New York City and Arlington, Virginia over 3 weeks during the summer of 2013.
“We’re bombarded with messages of tell us we are not normal,” the soft spoken singer explains. “I need ways to combat these sometimes subtle, but no less damaging attacks on my identity. Music protects my soul. My music is my own personal revolution. Songs have always been a powerful champion for change: Enslaved Africans had negro spirituals, the civil rights movement had freedom songs, and the anti-war movement had protest songs.”
Made To Love Him smoothly blends Jazz, Rhythm, Blues, and Reggae and boasts a diverse array of talent: Swiss Chris on drums (John Legend), Lonnie Plaxico on bass (Cassandra Wilson), NAACP award nominated pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs, Tona Brown and Aida String Quartet (first trans woman for perform for a sitting President), Yael Acher (out lesbian flutist), and longtime guitarist Marcelo Cardozo. The album is co-produced with John F. Adams (Amy Winehouse, Keith Sweat) and mastered by Robert Honablue (Roberta Flack, Miles Davis, Barbara Streisand). Recording and rehearsals were filmed by Emmy nominated Michael Burlingame for an upcoming documentary.
“I am very grateful to be living in a time when Made To Love Him could be released and even celebrated” Nhojj explains, “In addition to expressing my truth, I wanted this album to pay tribute to the artists who lived in a society that was less accepting – artists like Johnny Mathis. I sing out for him and all others who came before me.”
1. Over The Rainbow
2. Nature Boy
3. He Heals Me
4. He’s Got a Way
5. How Sweet It Is
6. Someone to Watch Over Me
7. Waiting for You
8. So Amazing
9. Twelfth of Never
10. Love on Top
11. I Was Made to Love Him
12. Our Love Is Here to Stay
I’ve followed Nhojj’s music for many years, and must admit that this is my favorite! His voice, the lyrics and the mixture of music are a perfect blend of fabulousness. It’s one of those CDs that you put in and play all the way through. Trust me, if you play it when you have guests, they WILL ask who it is not only because it sounds good, but it also gives the listener a certain comfort, like a favorite food. “Soul Comfort” is the perfect title for this collection of songs.