Originally from the Congo, Simon is actively working to blend his musical talent with a strong determination for social change. He was recently seen in Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Ruined, a biting, honest depiction of the sexual violence ravaging the eastern part of his country. Simon is now leveraging his exposure to start to stir things up.
A prolific songwriter, Simon has written tribute songs to V-Day (“I Was Not Born Raped”), to Oprah Winfrey’s girls’ school in South Africa (“Education is my Tomorrow”) and the World Cup (“Soccer Dream”). His musical style has African roots. Many of his songs are written in Lingala, Tshiluba, Swahili, French and English but he also integrates many other interesting musical styles that make his music unique and accessible to a global audience.
Simon is currently involved in two very exciting projects. He is recording a 14-song album, “Coltan in the Congo,” dedicated to the DRC. 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit a to-be-determined women’s facility in the Congo, such as the Panzi Hospital, City of Joy, or the first school being built by the Georges Malaika Foundation. Simon hopes his album will do three things: benefit Congolese women directly, raise awareness in the developed world about violence in Eastern Congo and present Congolese music with a unique flavor, accessible to American, European, and African audiences alike. Most importantly, it will show the positive side of Africa though the soul of the people – music. Music is intrinsic to Congo and plays a key role in the resilience of the Congolese people.
In addition to this exciting project, Simon is also one of the creators of The Insight-to-Incite Global Arts Collaborative. His newly formed band, Shabantu, headlines a group of bands that have played two shows in New York City and are looking to expand their reach. This initiative collects donations for related non-profit organizations and brings new faces to a cause they may never have encountered otherwise.