Frenchman John N’Guidjol, 35, has first landed a recording contract when he was still a high school student in Paris, and since then has been making music for years.
Music has been a huge part of Frenchman John N'Guidjol's life for as long as he can remember. These days he works, performs and finds inspiration in Shanghai, writes Sam Riley.
The 'rush' of singing and performing is second nature for Frenchman John N'Guidjol, who has been making music since he was a child attending his parent's church.
N'Guidjol is an instantly recognizable face for regulars at Shanghai's Bar Rouge and LOgO bar, where his high-energy performances have developed a big following.
But the 35-year-old, who migrated to France from Cameroon at the age of 12, has been carving out a career in music that began when he was still in high school in Paris.
Not many 17-year-olds can boast a recording deal, but N'Guidjol was spending his spare hours recording the vocals for house tracks while still at high school. His talent was first recognized during an audition to find a singer for high-profile French house producer Jean Michel Rivat in 1999. He got the job and a life-long career as a singer and composer began.
'Rivat was my first mentor. He taught me about recording and house music and he really helped me musically,' says N'Guidjol. 'We spent years together and at the same time I wrote my own album and I was recording so it was really good for me.'
During this time, N'Guidjol also signed recording deals with BMG and later the iconic label Island Records. But N'Guidjol's first forays into the music industry were not without hiccups with artistic differences resulting in him leaving the major labels to eventually land at Wagram Music where he recorded his first single.
But he ended up having a dispute with the recording company which resulted in a protracted court case N'Guidjol eventually won in 2002.
'I really distanced myself from the music business for a while after that. I just wrote for myself and helped friends record at home.'