Anna Kerr hopes that this interview will illustrate why ONUR’s experimental, lo-fi brand of R&B is catching the attention of underground music fans beyond the London scene.
Channelling a more stripped back vibe in his new single STUNNAH, ONUR is definitely an artist you’re going to want to look out for. STUNNAH is a gritty, sensual journey; a track kitted out with deep bass, deep breathing and raw vocals. ONUR’s voice transitions from a buttery falsetto into coarser riffs within seconds, giving the track the duality of being both soft and hard hitting. The low-fi production creates a more organic and sensual effect for the song, leaving you on edge and eager for more.
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn't listened to your music?
I mean the easiest way to put it is, if Justin Timberlake and Jack Garratt had a baby, I’d be the outcome, maybe? *laughs*
Would you say that the music culture in London has influenced your sound?
Oh yeah 100%. London has such an instinctive culture that I think it’s impossible to not be inspired and influenced by it. Like, not just the people, but the architecture, the layout of the city. Pretty much everything about London has inspired me I’d say.
Which artist or artists have had the greatest influence on your music?
Prince, Michael Jackson, D’Angelo and Justin Timberlake hands down have had the greatest influence on my music. But that’s not to say that I’m not hugely inspired by other artists. Like recently the London’s RnB scene has been killing the game! Jack Garratt, Nao and Mura Masa. These guys are my biggest current influences and they really helped shape my sound.
Has the process of writing and producing your own songs been an enjoyable experience, and do you see this additional creative control as an advantage?
Oh yeah completely. I’m an only child so I think me doing it my own way was for the best. I’m quite stubborn when it comes to the creative control of my music, so it’s very important to me to know that all the elements happening in the song, were signed off by me, and then that gives me a lot of closure. The process of writing and producing is probably the most fun I have! I don’t know why, but there’s something really satisfying about trial and error to me. This isn’t just my career choice, this is my life, so the more I get to produce and write songs the more I get to do what I love.
Beamin’ and STUNNAH are both quite personal songs, how do you explore more intimate matter in your music?
I mean, if I haven’t been through it or felt it, how am I supposed to sit there and write about it? I can’t express anything authentically if there isn’t an element of truth in what I’m expressing. I’d just say that I naturally write about things I feel and know, as most people do. I emotionally involve myself into almost everything, so that helps me draw from my experiences. I try to pay attention to the details of conversations I have with people, that also helps a lot!
You are dropping singles monthly until the release of your EP - what can we expect from the upcoming tracks?
The last few tracks have been quite intense, so expect a change in pace with the next couple.
Do you have any particular goals for the upcoming year? What has been a highlight so far?
My goal is to get some sort of management deal, as it does get tough having to do a lot of admin AND all the music. As well as play some festivals! Field Day and Lovebox would be sick to play.
I’d say everything that has happened so far is a highlight. Like I genuinely never thought anyone would like my music, let alone listen to it! So I’m still trying to process that, as well as all the acclaim I’ve had from blogs and other industry people! But for names sake, Martin Garrix liked my track Beamin’, and put it in his Spotify playlist. That was kind of a big deal to me.
Available from all online stores and streaming platforms, Stunnah will be included in ONUR’s debut EP, expected for early 2019.
With thanks to Alison Piron at Weird !s Good, and ONUR himself, for speaking with us!