Born: 1972 in France
Genres: Vocal, Jazz
Styles: Vocal Jazz
Born in 1972, the half-French, half-Beninese Mina Agossi spent much of her youth studying in and traveling to places like Niger, Morocco, and Ivory Coast. While in school for theater in France, a local saxophonist gave her 500 francs to sing on-stage with him, and although Agossi had had no formal experience in music, she immediately fell in love with performing and decided to pursue singing as a career. In 1993 she joined her first group, a swing and New Orleans jazz band that played gigs in France and Ireland. As she became more interested in modern jazz, the young singer decided to start recording under her own name, releasing a few bare-boned jazz albums in Europe. Bringing her own interpretation to jazz brought Agossi her fair share of critics and fans alike, and she began receiving offers to sing with artists like Archie Shepp, Mukta, and Adam Pieronscyk. In 2001, soon after September 11, Agossi recorded her live album EZ Pass to Brooklyn with Alexander Hiele on bass and Bertrand Perrin on drums, the same group that accompanied her on her next record, Carrousel. In 2004 the British label Candid signed Agossi, releasing Zaboum!! in Europe the following year and Well You Needn't in 2006.
- Marisa Brown (All Music Guide)
Mina Agossi was born in France in 1972 to French and West African parents. Mina found herself drawn to the stage and also followed in her mother's footsteps by finding a love of travel. This passion led to her studying Theatre in many different countries, including Niger, Morocco, and France.
After graduating in 1990, Mina continued to travel, spending time in both the US and Spain, before returning to France in 1992. Once back home Mina found herself singing some blues as a favour for a saxophonist friend the experience changed her life, so much so she immediately knew she was to become a professional singer.
1993 saw Mina on the move again this time only as far as Brittany, where she was recruited by a Swing & New Orleans jazz band. This was her first taste of success, as very quickly the band was regularly gigging both in France and across the channel in Ireland.
Mina found herself increasingly interested in, and attracted to, modern Jazz. The result of this, in 1995 being an album co-created with a double bass player. This album made of original co-written tunes and using no wind, brass or keyboard instruments was the beginning of a very personal style "Voice & Bass"- that would stay with her right up until the present day.
In 1997 the CD won the prize of "Young Self-Produced Talents" from the French organisation FNAC.
This gave her the chance to develop her skills through two special master classes, one in Boston with Sheela Jordan, and the other in France with Jeanne Lee. These experiences helped Mina mature as a singer, and enabled her to take her voice in the unique direction that makes her so distinguishable now.
After moving to Paris Mina teamed up with drummer Philippe Combelle, with whom she produced her second album, "Alkemi" in 2001. This CD won critical acclaim and received a Five Star release in classical magazine "Diapason", plus a special recognition in Jazz Magazine.
After "Alkemi", Mina created a new band with instrumental masters Alexandre Hiele on the double bass and Bertrand Perrin on drums. With this line up Mina found great success continually touring Europe and the US with new, original compositions and her own re-working of standards.
By this time people were really starting to take notice of this little lady with the huge voice, and offers started flooding in for Mina to sing with other bands.
She regularly performs with the likes of Adam Pieronscyk "Amos", Spirit of Life Ensemble, Mukta, and Archie Shepp.
Just after the attacks of September 11 2001, "E-Zpass to Brooklyn" was recorded by Mina, live in Brooklyn.
This album saw her heading deeper down the self-forged path of her by now unique sound.
With imitations of free jazz sax solos and scratching in the microphone, Mina mixes many different musical styles, from hip hop to world to jazz, blues, rock, throwing them around, often when least expected.
Then a second CD appeared "Carrousel" with the same trio In 2004 Mina Agossi signed to British jazz label Candid Records, and immediately made a massive impact with performances during the Candid Jazz Week in London.
Still backed by Alex Hiele and Bertrand Perrin Mina's latest album "Zaboom" is due to be released in May 2005.
Now her new Cd is on the way "Well You Needn't" with Alex Hi?le and drummer Ichiro Onoe This collection of creative originals and startling re-interpretations of familiar classics has a really fresh approach that gives the vocal scene a much-needed push in the opposite direction.