OneDa: Doing The Most For HERchester
Updated: Jul 16, 2019
To say that Manchester MC OneDa is going from strength to strength would be an understatement. Best known for her ‘Grown’ freestyle that turned heads at Radio One, collaborations with the likes of The Mouse Outfit and Kill Miami, and her ongoing efforts to give platform to the rising female voices in Manchester’s rap scene, OneDa’s energy is hard to parallel in any of her counterparts.
We caught up with the rapper on the rise to chat about her youth project alongside Reform Radio, her exciting collaborations with some of Manchester's biggest artists and the spiritual awakening that led her here.
Having made early moves as part of the Iconicz collective together with DJ Stylus, Envy, Crown and OneDa’s brother Capital, as well as working on music from a young age alongside Burgaboy and Misha B at an inner-city youth club, OneDa’s roots have always been in Manchester’s music scene. “My saying is manny on the rise!” She shares. “Im all for Manchester. Im Manchester born and bread, through and through, I love this city and that comes out in my music.”
Launching her career with early projects alongside fellow Mancunian rapper Envy and Manchester-based grime collective Virus Syndicate, OneDa went on to take a hiatus from the music scene for several years. Explaining what motivated her to make her return, OneDa says: “I missed it. I feel alive when I’m doing music and meeting people and doing things. I don’t like doing the mundane, I don’t like living a normal life. I love getting my sound out, I love creating.”
Citing Young M.A and Roddy Ricch as rappers she listens to when she's "hyped”, OneDa goes on to explain her other influences. “I listen to a lot of soul because I’m quite a spiritual being. I used to be 99% human and 1% spiritual being, and now I’m like 99% spiritual being… well maybe 95%,” She laughs. “I’m still learning.”
Spirituality is a message often promoted by the rapper through her lyrics and social media platforms, after a spiritual awakening gave her the confidence and self-belief to return to her music.
“A friend sent me a video about the 12 universal laws. I wasn’t sleeping too well that week, so I was staying up until about 4 in the morning and my friend sent me this video across. Normally I’d just think what the f*** is this, you know what I mean because I wasn’t into that kind of thing! But because it was 4 in the morning and I couldn’t sleep I thought I’ll watch it… and I just cried. I cried tears that I’ve never, ever cried before. I wasn’t sad, it wasn’t even happy, it was beyond happy.”
“It was like a sick epiphany, my body even felt different. Even talking about it now is weird because everything has changed, I can do things I’ve never done before; and now I can’t go back. I want to get that spiritual message across through me and through my energy. DRS was messaging me the other day about positivity and that, so people see it!“
With her recent efforts to promote her fellow female rappers in the city including the curation of a huge all-female ‘On The Rise’ event featuring artists such as Rae Stewart, Lady Ice and Victoria Jane, OneDa’s collaboration with Reform Radio to aid the rise of young female rappers comes as no surprise. “By me hailing another woman, it’s just me hailing myself, because we’re all one in the same.” OneDa explains. “You’re not so easily welcomed as a guy would be. You have to prove yourself a lot more or make a bit of noise for yourself.”
Describing the project with Reform Radio as “a base for female artists to come to hone their craft, to vibe with others, collab with other females and get themselves out there”, with Reform’s support, OneDa will be assisting a new wave of young artists with free support and studio time. “It’s a safe environment where you can f*** up or test out your bars and flow so it’s just nice for people to grow up with a base like this.”
Despite the energy being invested into giving a platform to others, OneDa is still finding time for her own career. With upcoming moves including a collaborative EP with some of Manchester’s biggest producers including Chimpo and Kill Miami as well as an exciting LA-based project which will see the release of a brand-new single and accompanying music video, 2019 is already shaping up to be a OneDafull year for the rapper on the rise.
Check out OneDa on Facebook @OneDaWall
Follow the author on Twitter @HannahMWalford
Follow Kiera Kendrick Photography on Facebook @KieraKendrickPhotography