“…nimbleness, light sound and bursts of raw emotion recalling theJohn Fordham, The Guardian
50s cool school as well as the Coltrane quartet.”
Born in Eket, Nigeria, Camilla has been interested in music from an early age and particularly in the fusion of African and Western music. She grew up listening to Fela alongside Jackie McLean and Charlie Parker. She began playing the saxophone when she was 11 years old when she won a music contest and as a result won saxophone lessons.
Camilla went on to study with many jazz greats such as saxophone giant, Jean Toussaint (of Art Blakey fame), Julian Siegal and Martin Speake at Trinity College of Music where she gained a Masters in Jazz Performance as well as in 2011 being awarded The Archer Scholarship for Outstanding Performance.
In 2009 she joined award winning band, Jazz Jamaica and performed with special guest, Ernest Ranglin at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. In 2013 they were nominated for a MOBO award for Jazz Performance. They continue to perform extensively all over the world.
In 2014 Camilla formed her own critically acclaimed project showcasing the stars of the new UK Jazz Scene. Dubbed “The Golden Girl of Jazz” by The Evening Standard, Camilla’s debut album, ‘Isang’ (pronounced E-SANG which means journey in Ibibio her native language) received huge critical acclaim. Her follow up album, “The People Could Fly” which was released in September 2018, featuring special guest Omar as well as in demand guitarist of the moment, Shirley Tetteh, has already gained substantial critical acclaim with 4 star reviews from the Financial Times and Jazzwise to name a few. The album and Camilla have been featured on several key playlists such as State of Jazz and Camilla is the poster girl for Tidal’s British Jazz playlist.
Camilla’s love of fusing African and Western Music to make her own unique style is a key reason why she is a firm fixture on the new London Jazz scene alongside peers such as Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings and Zara McFarlane. Her music is a hypnotizing blend of Afrofuturism, hip hop and jazz. Camilla’s music is politically minded and heavily linked with African history and slavery in particular. Her latest album looks at tales that slaves passed onto their children through generations and, whilst full of sorrow, is essentially a story of hope for black people and mankind that we can one day live together in harmony.
The band has gigged solidly being fortunate to support Courtney Pine’s album launch featuring Omar at The Barbican as well as performing at Love Supreme (where Camilla took part in a panel discussion with Kamasi Washington) and the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. They also supported Dee Dee Bridgewater at The Cadogan Hall for the 2017 London Jazz festival who was so impressed she remarked, “The world is safe because we have Camilla!” As part of the EFG London Jazz festival Camilla performed at the Purcell room which was described by Jazz Journal as “A truly memorable concert…Jazz superstars in the making” with the London Jazz Review speaking of “the mature and imaginative compositions combined with some sublime saxophone solos” .
Also as part of the EFG London Jazz festival Camilla performed at King’s Place to a very appreciative audience, a show that was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
In addition, Camilla has been nominated for an Urban Music Award for Best Jazz artist in 2017 and 2018. She is currently preparing to embark on a new project with China Moses and Theo Croker which will tour in 2020.