* * * Mattanja Joy Bradley * * *
Adventure lies ahead for the true daredevils. Take singer-songwriter Mattanja Joy Bradley. She truly doesn’t shy away of any challenge. No mountain is too high, no valley too deep. She takes them all. Who will be handcuffed before her first of her three U.S. tours? Who is going to jail for her music? Who is first expelled from the U.S. – tarred and feathered – and later welcomed to the same country with an equally energetic drum roll? Right, that’s our talented adventurer with the rich imagination, Mattanja Joy Bradley. And all those powerful features you can hear in her music.
Her debut album Wake Me Up is a mix of catchy pop and soulful blues, acquired on her life’s path full of bumps. Mattanja Joy Bradley simply never gives up. Not without reason the Latin proverb Nil Volentibus Arduum is tattooed on her top right arm. It means: ‘Nothing is impossible for those who want to.’ And she lives her motto. Hell, yeah!
Those who have seen the extraordinarily outspoken documentary Mattanja Joy, know how authentic Mattanja is. It is an absolute must see. We see her go back to the slums and hippie enclaves in London, where she has wandered the streets a few years busking. That life that she has meanwhile left behind her, now generates music that comes across equally experienced as touching. This hits you straight in yer face. She’s not just the winner of a Dutch Blues Award for best singer.
‘You have to put yourself in a position to get lucky,’ Mattanja comments in retrospect on her wild years as a runaway teenager. Those who do nothing will never get anywhere. And she knows. This way she gained herself the support slot for Amy Winehouse at a festival on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, where she had ended up accidentally. She asked whether they had a support act? Well no. And yes, suddenly Mattanja got the job.
‘You have to take risks in life. You have to show perseverance. I’ve been through a lot, but if you see what I got in return.’ That is indeed a lot. For instance she was named 3FM Serious Talent. Furthermore, there are her appearances in various talent shows on Dutch public TV like The Best Singer-Songwriter Of The Netherlands and The Best Singers Of The Netherlands). Meanwhile, her debut album spawned three successful singles, all of which have been played in high rotation on 3FM: Beautiful Imperfections, Hurricane (used in an HBO trailer) plus the title track.
Apart from these singles let’s zoom in a bit more on that album. Mattanja’s versatility is absolutely amazing. With the bluesy track Wash Me Momma she sings Janis Joplin back in our memory. And with the ‘007-like’ ballad Lie In Your Love it looks like ‘blue-eyed’ soul sisters like Dusty Springfield and Amy Winehouse step into the room. She can rock too. With the poppy stomper Keep On Rollin’ she provides the roll (swing) that Keith Richard says identifies true rockers.
Adventure and courage sum up Mattanja. She is sexy and sweet, tough and soft, blond and ‘wasted’. She unites all the incompatible in herself. As a result, she always stands out. And otherwise Mattanja draws the attention through her loyal four-legged friend ‘Grandpa’ who always takes the stage alongside her.
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