Okenyo is a soul/alt-R&B persona rising fast with a distinctive aesthetic and sound that ticks all the boxes for pleasant listening with a unique edge to her vocals and an interesting approach to narrative in lyrics. With critical response already angled skywards, the young artist’s potential is further reflected in the vastness of her background and influences. Listen to her latest track, ‘Just a Story’, below. [Photography by Romain Duquesne.]
Where are you from?
A bit all over the place. Born in Adelaide, lived in remote Indigenous communities as a child and then before moving to Sydney, lived in Hobart for all of high school. Oh, and my Mum is Australian and my dad is Kenyan.
Describe your sound in a few words?
Emotional, Personal, Epic
How did you get into music? What made you decide to be a performer?
I’ve been performing professionally as an actor so music feels like a natural extension of my artistry. I spend most of my working life performing under the guise of a character and it’s my job to bring that to life whereas in my music it’s very personal and I am trying to perform as close to myself as possible.
What makes you unique as an artist?
I don’t really believe any person is more unique than another especially when it comes to art which is so subjective. Although I’m me and no one else is so I guess that definitely makes me unique.
Have you heard any new music lately? Got any recommendations?
Brisbane artist MKO is really wonderful, a very powerful vocalist and quite intimate in her lyrics. Puddles is my fave song at the moment as it takes the listener on a huge, unexpected journey.
Do you have any major influences?
I’m really inspired by a lot of classic writers and philosophers and my forthcoming EP is very much intertwined in those epic stories.
Tell us a little about this release
It was written when I was in quite a frenetic mood and I think that energy seeped into song. There’s an urgency to get the words out, which was a very true feeling at the time. It’s also a bit sarcastic and wry in its tone and that’s not really something that happens throughout the rest of the forthcoming EP which is neat.
What else are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on some co-writes and also writing some music of my own prepping for the inevitable album that comes out after an EP. Happy that this year will be about releasing music I’ve been working on for a while, it’s been a long time coming!
Do you have any shows coming up?
Perhaps… I’ll let you know [Laughs].
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