Jazz singer Landry was born Landry Tientcheu on August 8, 1979 in Chatenay-Malabry, a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. Born to Cameroonian parents who came to France to be full-time college students at the time, Landry spent the first four years of his life immersed and rocked by French music while his parents were hard at school. Upon their graduation in 1983, the whole family returned to Douala, Cameroon where Landry experienced for the first time the cultural richness of music stemming from Cameroon. This bi-cultural experience essentially became the soundtrack of his childhood life, a melting pot of the pop sounds of French icons Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel and Jean-Jacques Goldman mixed with the traditional rhythms of Cameroonian icons San Fan Thomas, Ndedi Eyango, and Ben Decca. His love for music grew over the years into an intense curiosity that led him to eventually discover American artists such as Ray Charles, Millie Jackson and Isaac Hayes, artists who left him with an appreciation for the power of music to not only entertain, but heal.
In 1992, pop powerhouse Whitney Houston’s rendition of I Will Always Love You gave Landry the clarity “to sing and make people feel the way Houston made him feel.” The grace of Houston’s voice and its capacity to convey deep, gut-wrenching, soulful emotions inspired Landry to become a vocalist and master the art of performance.
Upon moving to the Midwestern United States in 1998 to attend college as an electrical engineer major, Landry soon found himself in music heaven, with “so many albums to buy, so many concerts to attend, so much music to discover . . . To be immersed in such music abundance and have it available to you at the flick of a finger was simply too good to be true.” Landry often states about this period of his life that “If one could die of music overdose, he would be no more.”
For the next decade, Landry experienced a dichotomy between his career as an engineer and his love of music. The passion for music far out-weighed the monotony of his career and upon losing his job for the second time due to layoffs, musical clarity once again embraced Landry: “No one can fire you from a job for which the universe hired you.”
Guided by his new career objective, Landry moved to northern California in 2013 and recorded his first album, The Bayou – a musical marriage between American Jazz and African Soul. The album is a collection of songs that explore themes of triumph and sorrow. The vocal delivery is vulnerable and emotional. The emotion was inspired by years of inner struggles living in the closet as a gay man. Landry chose The Bayou experience as a gateway to finally be authentic with himself and the rest of the world. Inspired by the peace he found while recording the album, Landry went on to dedicate The Bayou to the LGBT community, thus making the album artwork (the two boys kissing) a powerful symbol of gay love: a love that is pure, authentic, childish, uncontrollable, and international. The intention behind the album is for every family to own it as a reminder to love fiercely and unconditionally.
Furthermore, Landry wants to use the platform of his music to tell a different story about Africa. He wants to tell the story of a gifted Africa, of an educated Africa, of a knowledgeable Africa, of a prosperous Africa, one that doesn’t inspire misery and neediness. As Landry eloquently states, “Misery is real, but it doesn’t bring the best out of us. Successful and inspiring stories of Africa, on the other hand, inspire people to invest in themselves and in others. People only invest when they feel good about themselves, about others, and about where we are going as a species.”
Landry currently lives in the eastern San Francisco Bay of California where music continues to provide clarity to his life.