It’s celebration time for independent singer/songwriter Nhojj. On November 7th he’ll attend the Big Apple Film Festival screening of his LGBTQ music documentary “Out On The Tracks” at the Village East Cinema in New York City. Secondly, he’ll headline at the world famous Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe performing same-sex renditions of classic love songs.
What started out as a sidewalk conversation between Caribbean artist Nhojj and a friend has blossomed into an award winning documentary and #1 OutVoice charting album. “Out On The Tracks” documents Nhojj’s groundbreaking “Made To Love Him” recording sessions and affirms the LGBTQ community through same-gender versions of popular love songs spanning the last ten decades. Filmed primarily at Mavericks studios in Manhattan, and spotlighting clubs, cafes and streets of the city, this fifty-four minute movie touches upon the themes of love, hope and self-acceptance, and explores the power of music.
In April, Nhojj’s little motion picture won the LGBTQ Just Film Award and is up for another award at the Big Apple Film Festival. “At first none of the film festivals were picking us up, we were getting a little discouraged” Nhojj admits, “then we won the award and slowly the acceptance notices started coming in.” OOTT has been the 2015 Official Selection at New York’s My True Colors Festival, Palm Springs’ Cinema Diverse LGBTQ Film Festival, the Joshua Tree International Film Festival, Chicago’s Black Alphabet Film Festival, and Guyana’s Painting The Spectrum Film Festival.
Songs Featured in the Nhojj Documentary
Someone to Watch Over Me (George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin)
He’s (She’s) Got a Way (Billy Joel)
He Heals Me (India Arie)
Nature Boy (Eden Ahbez)
Over the Rainbow (E.Y. Harburg & Harold Arlen)
Twelfth of Never (Jerry Livingston & Paul Francis Webster)
The project brings together a diverse array of musicians. Keyboardist and musical director John F. Adams has worked with Harry Belafonte, Melba Moore and Taylor Dane; Argentine guitarist Marcelo Cardozo is Nhojj’s long time instrumentalist; The Aida String Quartet – Kevin Phillip Jones, Robin Fay Massie-Pighee and Jason Mickee Labrador and founder Tona Brown, the first African-American Transgender woman to perform at Carnegie Hall as well as for a sitting American president; out lesbian flutist Yael Acher; pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, 2006 NAACP Outstanding Jazz Artist Image Award nominee; bassist Lonnie Plaxico, whose Grammy-winning collaborations include Art Blakey and Cassandra Wilson; and Swiss Chris, former drummer and music director for John Legend.
“Out On The Tracks” is directed by Emmy nominated filmmaker Michael Burlingame. His work has been featured in international film festivals and museum exhibitions, and his music credits include projects with Paul McCartney, Sting, Yoko Ono, and Bob Dylan.
“I believe the caliber of talent this project has attracted is a testament to how far we’ve come on the journey to equality” Nhojj explains. “There is lots of progress yet to be made, but I’m thankful we have come this far.”
It is fitting that a performance at Rome Neal’s Bannana Puddin’ Jazz Jam should follow the screening. Seven years ago, Rome Neal produced “A Tribute to LGBT Jazz Greats” where Nhojj first performed ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ with male pronouns. That performance was the seed from which everything else grew.
The Bannana Puddin’ Jazz Jam is a monthly series produced and hosted by actor, director and jazz vocalist Rome Neal. Nhojj will be accompanied by Yoichi Uzeki (piano), Adi Meyerson (bass) and Mary Rodriguez (drums). The special guest for the evening will be Broadway veteran and AUDELCO award nominee Bernard Marsh.
Tickets for “Out On The Tracks” screening at Village East Cinema, Theatre 4, 181 -189 2nd Avenue on November 7th at 6 p.m. are $20 and are available at bigapplefilmfestival.com.
Tickets for Nhojj’s performance at Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz Jam, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 East 3rd Street, also on November 7 at 9:30 p.m. are $15. Show your “Out On The Tracks” movie ticket stub at the door and get a $5 discount. Or you can order online at ticketfly.com.
3x OUTMusic award winner Nhojj has been delivering jazzy, reggae flavoured soul music for over a decade. Arguably, one of the pioneer “out” black gay performers releasing both universal and same-sex material, he has received congratulations from The Advocate and Centric TV’s “Soul Sessions” for his historic OMA win and #1 MTV Music video “Love”. The recipient of the 2015 NYC Black Pride Music Award of Excellence, Nhojj has recorded 5 studio albums, 13 singles and an Unplugged Live DVD filmed by Emmy-nominated director Bill Cote.