Somi is a New York City-based singer-songwriter who describes her sound as “New African Soul” – an ethereal blend of American jazz and soul and East African rhythms.

She was born in Illinois, but is the daughter of Rwandan and Ugandan parents and spent time living in Africa, so those cultural influences are very apparent in her music. On her third album, “If the Rains Come First,” Somi sings in English, Swahili and the Ugandan dialect Rutooro, while joined by an impressive roster of African musicians, including legendary trumpeter Hugh Masekela.

Somi appears in the following:

Jazz vocalist Somi on finding your voice

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Somi, GRAMMY-nominated jazz singer, discusses what happens when a teacher steals your joy, connecting to her ancestors, and how she is still finding her voice. 


How To Be Smarter About… Riot Grrrl; Tori Amos Picks Three; Somi Plays Live

Monday, August 11, 2014

In this episode: Soundcheck kicks off our “How To Be Smarter About…” series with a look at the feminist punk movement known as riot grrrl. Sara Marcus, author of Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution, clears up misconceptions and drops some knowledge on producer Katie Bishop.

Then: Singer-songwriter Tori Amos is back in New York this week on her Unrepentant Geraldines tour and stops by the Soundcheck studio to share three songs that left a lasting impact on her.

And: In 2011, the New York-based vocalist and songwriter Somi traveled to the Nigerian city of Lagos. Now, her experiences and observations from her 18-month stay are reflected on her latest album – fittingly titled The Lagos Music Salon. Hear her perform live in the Soundcheck studio.

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Watch: Somi, In The Studio

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

When you hear Somi's globe-spanning music, you can hear her past come to life. The Illinois-born musician spent 18 months living in Nigeria -- where she collected the ideas that form ...

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Somi - Live in the Greene Space

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Somi is a New York City-based singer-songwriter who describes her sound as “New African Soul” — an ethereal blend of American jazz, soul and East African rhythms.


The Greene Space

Moby and Somi on Soundcheck

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

2:00 PM

Two weeks before he releases a new album of re-mixes of his own work –  “Wait For Me. Remixes!”--, Moby joins Soundcheck to play live, with "New African Soul" singer-songwriter Somi opening.

Live from the Greene Space: Moby and Somi

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The platinum-selling electronic artist and New York's foremost "New African Soul" singer join us for live performances and conversations in the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.