"I have A LOT of stuff in the pipeline," ONUR on plans after his single 'Beamin'
As a solo performer, ONUR takes care that his music does not miss a single meat even though he is his own band.
British R&B singer, multi-intrumentalist, songwriter and producer ONUR released his new single 'Beamin’ September 10, 2018. London-originating ONUR is a seasoned performer who has played the likes of Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, Sofar Sounds, Tooting Tram & Social, Big Festival as well as Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy.
After graduating from university with a music degree coupled with a few years spent sculpting his sound, the 22-year-old is set to make some serious waves in contemporary R&B scene. With a falsetto reminiscent of Prince, combined with Jack-Garratt-like bassy beats, ONUR is a hybrid of heroes, and can be referred to as a lo-fi 2018 Michael Jackson.
His debut single, Beamin’, is an electrifying self-written and produced track, setting out an intriguing and cinematic collage of audio. The song is led by a droning bass that keeps up the intensity all along, underlining the themes of relentlessly moving forward onto new frontiers and ONUR’s struggle with creeping away from old habits.
“I had just broken up from an intensely long and serious relationship. The song is about moving on or at least, trying to, whilst the instrumental was also another reflection of how I was feeling. Yet, it all somehow felt very true to my sense of self at the time. Very lo-fi, very cranky, very out of line with what was deemed as acceptable and right,” explains the artist. With unusual production choices, alluring vocals and an overall dark and muffled soundscape, ONUR’s sound delves into a progression of R&B only few have ventured into before… 'Beamin’ will be the first of a collection of singles to be unveiled one by one every month and leading up to an EP planned to be showcased at the beginning of next year.
In an exclusive interview with Meaww, ONUR speaks about the inspiration behind 'Beamin' among other things.
Let's begin with your tryst with music, how did it happen? What made you take it up professionally?
It’s funny because music was something that I was always drawn to, but I never had the right opportunity to just start doing it! I basically got into junior Trinity Laban when I was 16 and I started singing classical music. It was never a passion of mine so I never actually took it seriously. I was also heavily into sports around that age. However, when I was 18, I picked up a guitar and I just started teaching myself how to play. I then started writing songs as I couldn’t find any covers that would suit my voice! So I thought that if I wrote the song, then no one could compare to the original artist, as I would be the artist haha. But when it really sparked for me, was when I played one of my songs at a charity concert my high school was hosting at the time, and profiling songwriter Ed Drewett was there. And he gave me a standing ovation and talked to me afterwards. It was just really affirming to receive that kind of recognition from someone who wrote songs for a living. So that’s when I decided I’d actually start doing it (or trying to) professionally.
Could you walk us through your journey before the release of 'Beamin'? Also, how would you define your style of music?
Honestly the whole story is an absolute whirlwind filled with bumps and troughs. But I basically bought a load of production equipment with my student loan at the end of my 2nd year of uni, and I didn’t have a social life. But before then I was doing gigs left, right and centre - everywhere and anywhere I could play in London, I did it. Eventually I had to really think about what my style was and what I represented as an artist so I started to seriously get into production by 3rd year. I’d describe my music as an organised mess. But it’s vey Lofi mixed with elements of disco, soul, rock. It’s just honest. That’s the best way I could describe it.
What is 'Beamin' about? What inspired you to write the song?
The song is about a breakup I had. I was in this relationship for 3 years so you could say it was rough. I wrote the song about trying to move forward from it, but not successfully doing so. So it’s my struggle of figuring out who I am as well as moving on, but it could be applied to a broader theme of perseverance. After a long relationship like that, you’re just a bit like “now what?” ya know. But it’s weird because I actually started the song after listening to a Jaden Smith song called ‘Watch Me’. I just thought it was hella cool and wanted to do something similar. So the song was originally just this kind of beat I made which then evolved into a song.
Who produced 'Beamin'? What challenges did you face at the time of production?
I produced Beamin’! At the time of production, the hardest part out of everything was controlling the bass. Because god knows while I worked on this song at my uni studios, everyone could hear the vibrations from their studios. Another thing that was challenging was keeping the interest of the song whilst keeping it minimal. But to be honest it all happened quite organically anyway, so there wasn’t any serious challenge when it came to creating parts. The only real challenge was mixing. I only started producing a year ago, so it’s always a learning curve as I figure out how to do stuff.
Could you tell us a little about the arrangement of the song? How did you go about it?
Well I was toggling about with the auto-wah pedal that Logic has, alongside some other autowahs and compression, and I just somehow made the swankiest guitar sound, and from there I just messed about with chords, and small room reverbs that really suited this new guitar sound. And I first started with 808s as the bass, but then added a modular synth bass, that provides that slight bubbling effect you hear through the track. And of course, a disgusting amount of sidechain.
As a multi-instrumentalist, do you find it difficult to perform R&B solo?
No, not really. I mean it’s annoying for me because when I play solo, I sometimes focus on all the other arranged parts I can’t play because I don’t have a band. But it’s not particularly difficult. I wouldn’t write a song I couldn’t play anyway. I guess RnB, in nature, is played as an ensemble, but I always try to approach the song in a way that would make it interesting with just a vocal and a guitar.
Who have been your biggest inspirations in music?
Oooo now that’s a good question. I’d say Michael Jackson, Prince, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and D’Angelo are my main musical influences.
Just out of curiosity, do you think that launching single songs are better than launching an entire EP in a go?
See I’m not the best person to be asking this since I’m not good at marketing or PR, but I’d say that launching singles are a good way to promote each song individually which arguably means that a fan can spend more time understanding you rather than being relatively unknown and putting out a bulk of material that no one is going to pay attention to.
A. Because it’s a lot of material, and we live in a society now where everything has to be absorbed quickly.
B. Because no one actually knows you yet, so releasing things one by one gives the artist time to make more stuff in the process of promoting, whilst also letting your average consumer spend minimal time getting to know you.
What are you planning next? Are there any more projects coming up?
Well the perks of producing my own music is, I have A LOT of stuff in the pipeline, and so once the singles have been absorbed then I’ll think about and start planning to release new stuff. I make music pretty much everyday so there’s always going to be material. It’s just my job to curate the best and most coherent bodies of work to put out.