Camaroon singer building a new home, new style

Mengou Abraham Prince is a young Cameroonian who is dedicated to writing original music and regards Ningbo as his second hometown.

Mengou Abraham Prince is a young Cameroonian who is dedicated to writing original music and regards Ningbo as his second hometown.

Prince personally experienced the city’s musical development over the past eight years and proposed his own views for a better musical ambience in the city.

“I witnessed the progress of the city’s development, both from aspects of music and friendliness,” said Prince, 28, who came to Ningbo in 2010 to study business administration at Ningbo University. He finished his Master’s in 2015 and now runs a trading company with a friend.

“Now, more young people play multicultural styles of music in Ningbo and natives here are not as surprised to see a black man as they were several years ago.”

He competed in a local singing competition in August and uploaded his performance singing one of his own songs to the Internet.

His performance caught the attention of netizens as well as local audiences.

Starting music at 16 in Cameroon, Prince’s passion for creating original music has seen him create about 60 songs in five albums, all inspired by his life in the city, including the romance with a Chinese girl.

“Ningbo is a relatively quiet and comfortable city without the fast living pace of cities like Beijing or Shanghai, which fits me well and provides me a good environment for creating,” said Prince.

Most of his songs are in English, featuring a gentle style.

“People have stereotypes that black men should play rap or hip-hop,” he said. “I also played that with my partners in Cameroon, where the music is usually exciting and makes people feel like dancing.

“However, when I’m alone here, I want to make music that is quiet and makes people calm down, telling good stories.”

He has also cooperated with local musicians, co-writing lyrics in both Chinese and English. Usually he sings the English part and a Chinese singer sings the Chinese part. He will try to write Chinese songs independently when his Chinese is good enough to accurately express his feelings.

As a foreign musician, he is open to the local culture and at the same time advocates the city absorbing more international styles.

In 2013, he participated in a performance featuring a local folk song “Ma Deng Diao” along with Chinese students at Ningbo University. The traditional slow rhythm of the folk song was into a faster pave and English rap was included.

Prince sang together with others in Ningbo dialects and also performed the rap part.

“The music or art of each era has its great value. The traditional music of Ningbo is good and I like listening to it,” he said.

“But most of its audiences are actually local old people. The city needs to absorb more international styles for the young people to be integrated with the world.”

Mengou Abraham Prince

Special Reports