OneNess is the definition of multi-faceted. The talented Singer/Songwriter and accomplished award winning poet has been making many strides within the entertainment industry for quite a while. Her work has taken her to Glastonbury, The Jazz Cafe and Royal Festival Hall to name but a few. OneNess career has seen her perform within the UK, the US and Canada and at last she bursts onto the scene with her debut single ‘A Colon & A Bracket’ (aka Dat Facebook Song!) In-spireLS catch up with OneNess and find out how she became an entertainer, what she is most proud of in her career to date, why she chose to write a song about social networking and who and what in-spires her the most within her life and career. Be in-spired and motivated by this exclusive.
OneNess, firstly we need to congratulate you on the release of your debut song ‘A Colon & A Bracket’. How does it feel to be taking your musical career to new heights?
Exciting. Scary. Necessary.
The single itself focuses on a Facebook addict and the social stigmas that can arise by not following social media etiquette. What made you decide to write a song about this issue and what has been the response from those who have heard it so far?
It took some time to get what ‘A Colon & A Bracket ‘ was but the response thus far has been great. I write about the things around me and Social Networking is all around us, it is part of ‘our’ lives, so I wrote about it. As writers we document the times.
You could say you were born to be a performer having ventured onto the path of performing at the age of eight. When and how did you realise that you wanted to become a performer and pursue numerous areas within the entertainment industry?
As far back as I can remember…
Not only are you a songwriter, singer, and actress but you are also a poet. How do you manage to pursue all of these things at once?
Well, I didn’t start them all together. I consider myself primarily a performance artist, so it all comes under that banner. Therefore, I keep learning things to enhance my performance art form. Spoken word is growing within the UK but it still isn’t at the high level that it is in countries like the US and Canada.
How would you say it differs performing from country to country and do you think spoken word can and will become more popular over time?
Hmmm, I found more similarity performing in different countries than difference. I think that the UK has something special, unique and the more we recognise and value what we have, the more popular it shall become.
Recognition for your work is always a great sign to see who is accessing what you put out. You received the accolade by being listed as one of the ‘Top 5 female poets’ within the UK by ‘New Nation’. How did it feel to be recognised for your work to date?
It always feels positive to be recognised and appreciated, but the biggest accolades come from people being touched by the work and being able to creatively engage with it.
Many UK artists find it difficult to break the UK market and venture oversees. So far within your career, how have you found the support from the UK market and how does it differ to the response you have received from audiences in countries like the US?
I think following your dreams can be a challenging and scary thing to do, and when your dreams are in the music industry that’s another dynamic altogether. I don’t find the challenge in UK market, I find the challenge is accessing the UK market. When I play live I get love and people say things like…”I like what you do and why don’t I already know you?” This shows me that there is support out there but it’s hard for a market to support you if they don’t know that you exist
You won an award at the ‘The Toronto Poetry Slam’? How did it feel to win this and how, if in anyway, did it help to raise your profile in Canada?
It was a positive experience. I don’t really slam much, but we (Best Kept Secret poetry collective) were on tour in Canada at the time, and it was kinda crazy to be out there and not participate. So I did and had a great time. I think that the experience definitely got my name in the mouths of that poetry scene.
You are also apart of poetry group ‘Best Kept Secret’. What it like being the groups only female member and how would you say this shapes your performances?
They’re great guys, we look after each other so I don’t feel the ying-yang imbalance too much. As for performances we are aware of the groups gender ratio so we try to ensure that the work is not too ‘Mancentric’
If you can, what would you list as your biggest highlight within your career, to-date?
Biggest honours have been opening for the legendary Mutabaruka and legend, David Nelson one of the founding members of The Last Poets
It is never easy for entertainers who are striving for success. On your journey within the entertainment industry, have you come up against any setbacks and if yes, how have you managed to work through and overcome them?
Yeah, I have come up against numerous setbacks…which I recognise (not always immediately) as opportunities for growth. I experience more blessings than setbacks though, so I try to focus on those more. Setbacks happen so I pray, persist, eat chocolate and seek council from my many mentors.
Your name shapes you as a performer and came to you into a dream. Since then you have grown as an artist. What was your previous performance name and how profound has the name change been for you within your career to-date?
I never had a performance name. I still don’t really. The name change was more about dropping the legacy of the Maafa (African enslavement). My birth name was given to me out of a tradition that stated that Africans in the Caribbean were not allowed to give their Children names of their heritage which was a breaking of an important tradition of sacred and cultural naming. I wanted a name that I could aspire to, so when I was gifted with OneNess I thought…’big mission but a beautiful one’ and Sankara is after a great hero of mine, Thomas Sankara.
Who would you name as your biggest supporters and how vital is the role they play?
Mum and Dad all the way! They have constantly backed me; through my youthful years to present day.
Speaking of social networking sites. Although your debut single is about them and the role they play in society and peoples day to day lives, how useful would you say networking sites like TWITTER and FACEBOOK are when promoting your brand and getting your name out there?
Very useful, because they give you a space to start relationships with people. (I mean start, as there is no replacement for face to face). Networking sites allow you to do just that – network, which is essential in any business and as it’s social, you get to make friendships too which is beautiful.
You are a very inspirational figure and you have accomplished a great amount in your career. For you, who would you list as your main inspirations and why?
I am inspired at different times by different people. I already mentioned Thomas Sankara, Omowale, Malcolm X inspires me for his commitment to growth and truth, Harriet Tubman for her humanitarianism, my mother and father for their bravery to step into the unknown and Prince for his musical genius, many of my peers who are making great creative strides and all who show courage and persistence.
What was it like filming your first music video for ‘ A Colon & A Bracket’ and did you have creative input in the overall making of the video?
It was a real blessing and was great to work with such a talented team, though it was tiring as we shot it all in one day. It was directed my Sonia Godding-Togobo who is just an amazing talent and we worked very closely to produce a video that we could both be (and are) proud of. This meant that we constantly bounced creative ideas back and forth throughout the process.
Describe the feeling of performing on stage?
Performing simply feels right. It feels like a blessing, like home. A place where I can feel certain. Being on stage reminds me why I am here.
What would you say is the best thing about being you?
Seeing the world through my eyes; I constantly catch joke from the most mundane of situations
You recently have added musician to your long list of talents. What made you decide to learn to play musical instruments?
I’ve always wanted to play an instrument but only really got as far as the recorder. I had this thing in my head that playing an instrument was something that you should have started as a child. Like being a gymnast or something….Anyways, I was in a studio last year with composer, Christella Litras, I picked up her guitar and started mucking around and she said to me “That sounds like a song” (paraphrase…sorry Christella) “and its about time that you played an instrument so tomorrow we are getting you a guitar!” and the rest, is poetry!
If you could only choose one path and pick one of your many talents to pursue solely, what would it be and why?
I am a multi-disciplined performer, but I reckon that if I really, really, had to choose, it would be singing as this allows me to use all the other forms. The songs have lyrics, narratives and characters which enable me to use my acting and writing talents too.
What was it like performing at major venues including Glastonbury and the Royal Festival Hall and what did you take from overall experiences?
The experiences we great and I took that my work is able to touch people practically anywhere – I am still testing this theory so am constantly seeking new settings to share in.
So far within your career what has been the best advice you have been given or what have you picked up along the way which has proved valuable?
Don’t give up on what you really want. Stay focused. Work hard!
Do you have any positive quotations that you live by, if yes, what are they?
Loads but here are two; “Persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napoleon Hill and “If you can hold it in your head, you can hold it in your hand.” – Stella Mann.
In the face of adversity what would OneNess do?
Cry, curse, pray, accept, send love and move on!
Away from your debut video and song releases what other projects do you have lined up as we approach 2012?
A spectacular live theatrical stage show, an album and…
Thank you OneNess for answering our questions. Please round them off by completing these sentences….
Life is… wonderfully abundant.
Passion is… inside me.
I am at my best when… I have had a good meal.
I strive for… excellence.
Failure is… an opportunity to learn.
I am a success because…. it is my birthright.
Three words that best describe me are…loving, loving, loving.
I am a ‘Wonderwoman’ because there is no other way to be!
A Colon & A Bracket (aka Dat Facebook Song!) is available now from all good digital stores, including iTunes and Amazon, or via www.onenesssankara.co.uk
A Colon & A Bracket (aka Dat Facebook Song!) The Official Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJDQiZhaROM
For more information, OneNess Can be contacted via:
- Twitter: @OneNessSankara
- Facebook: OneNessUK
- Reverbnation: OneNessSankara
- Website: www.onenesssankara.co.uk
Keep up with Editor Sasha Shantel on TWITTER@sashashantelvip
W| Interview by Sasha Shantel I| Courtesy of OnitPR-All Rights Reserved