FEATURED ARTIST – ONLY1 THEORY
Interview with ONLY1 THEORY
By: Dennis M. Kelly
Dennis: Hey, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for me, I appreciate it very much! How are you doing today?
Only1 Theory: I feel good, thank you Dennis!
Dennis: Excellent, glad to hear it!! So, you’re a producer, singer/songwriter, engineer, label owner, director and you also founded H.E.A.L. (Help Empower Another Life). How do you manage your time with all that you’ve got going on?
Only1 Theory: It sounds like so much, lol! I prioritize my projects and write my to-do list. I’m excited about what I have going on and that helps me wake up early, ready to get started.
Despite what I have going on, I always meditate, and breathe intentionally. This also allows my spirit and subconscious to lead me where I need to be, when I need to be there, doing what I need to do, lol!
Dennis: It is always good to be focused, for sure, and as if all that wasn’t enough, you just released your video for “Hard Smoke”, tell me about the song and video, please.
Only1 Theory: Yes Dennis! Hard smoke is actually a song I recorded a while ago but we (my team and I) felt like it was time. I also learned so much while we were locked down. I tapped into healing tones, frequencies and mastering my sound when it comes to WaveNB. So, I put all of that into Hard Smoke. The audio streaming release is tuned to 432hz.
Dennis: Very interesting! Now “Hard Smoke” is not your first video of course, so, how do you approach videos for your songs?
Only1 Theory: We just make it a vibe, lol. There are a couple of directors that I really study like Hype Williams and Spike Lee. They creatively inspired me as a child so I use that and my own creative vision. My partner Maria Del Hoyo is extremely talented behind the camera as a visual creator and has the type of creativity that can’t be taught lol. It just has to be felt. So, together we make lit visuals lol!
Dennis: That is the understatement of the year! So, when did music get its hook into you and how did it change your life going forward?
Only1 Theory: I feel like music has been with me before this lifetime. It’s always been a part of my life and my sole purpose. I always hear music in my mind and I was born into a musical household. My mother is so soulful and blessed me with amazing music of all genres. Rap to R&B. Jazz, to funk. It’s all a vibe. I played trumpet and learned music theory early in school and my mom always bought us keyboards. My sister, cousin and some of our friends had a rap group in middle school, I thought we were lit! (laughs)
Dennis: (laughs) I’m sure you were if they’re as talented as you.
Only1 Theory: Thank you! So, it’s always been with me. And now, I make music everyday! I’m so grateful to have this from the Creator and express it to people all over the Earth.
Dennis: And I (as a music fan, your fan) am too!! As you stated, your influences range from old school funk, R&B, Soul, etc and you definitely did a phenomenal job fusing those influences into your sounds today. Did you always know that you wanted to be a performer?
Only1 Theory: Thank you! I’m so happy to hear you are vibing with my music! No lol, I did not. Actually, I have been told to my face that I would never be able to do anything with my music. That it wasn’t good lol. I’ve been laughed at and have had people try to hurt me. And my feelings were very hurt at one point. I cried so bad and my heart literally felt pain.
Dennis: I am so sorry to hear that and can related in a limited way. I wish people could just built each other up instead of tearing each other down all the time.
Only1 Theory: Me too. Then I had a deeply spiritual experience and it changed my perspective of what life is. My mother always taught me to be bold, and have confidence in who I am. I realized now that those were the most important and amazing lessons and situations that could have happened to me. It allowed me to focus on my purpose, focus on how I wanted to touch the world, and know myself at the deepest level.
It taught me the true meaning of self-love and also my power. I learned how to let go of my ego, have more compassion for others and the power of forgiveness. People only project what is in them. Once I realized that, it let me know “don’t take it personal” lol!
Dennis: Even knowing that doesn’t always make it any easier, but I am sure it helps a great deal. Tell me about your producer and engineer work that you’ve done.
Only1 Theory: I produced, engineered and had vocals on songs with multi-platinum artists and I hate to name drop lol, it’s on the internet lol! One song is Dope Boys, Yo Gotti. My vibe and music has evolved so much since then. I’m currently working on two major collaborations and I’m scoring for a movie. I’ve worked with a lot of amazing independent artists that will have major success in music.
Dennis: Amazing! Keep it going! Tell me some things you’ve learned or techniques you’ve developed in your production work.
Only1 Theory: I’ve developed my drums to be a specific sound and pattern. I use echo/ reverb on my instruments. I don’t want to give away too many of my secrets! I also learned the magic of parallel compression.
Dennis: How about Rare Gold Music Group, what sparked the desire to form it and you already have IMU Yana as your first artist… where would you like to see it be in five years?
Only1 Theory: Yes, Rare Gold Music Group started when I realized I needed to have ownership of my work. It also puts me in a different space from artist to business owner. I dealt with bad deals, scammy people and just learned how to move as an entity greater than myself. IMU Yana is such a dope person and young artist.
We are currently developing her sound and working on her first single! Another artist that is going to go crazy on the scene is DJ Snap! We are working with her and I’m excited. She is also my tour DJ and has an amazing stage show! I also have to shout out Zelihanna. I think she is very talented and will impact the game.
Dennis: Very cool! Tell me about your film directing experience(s).
Only1 Theory: I have a degree in film and started doing small commercials and promo spots for local businesses in Baltimore. From there I shot my first movie directed by Tre Veredos and started to do a lot of movie trailers lol.
That’s before my music popped off the way it has. I also have a number of music videos for artists and dancers. My partner and I created Made By Bae Productions. We are working on a music video project with B.Y.D. Build Your Dream. We take on projects sparingly. There is so much time involved, so the projects we focus on the most are our own.
Dennis: How about H.E.A.L?
Only1 Theory: H.E.A.L. stands for Help Empower Another Life. This program will not only empower and bring together entire communities but also change the dynamic of how people are able to connect to help and receive these resources. The IOS/ Android app will be a fully customizable experience to connect one to the resources/ learning materials/ dynamic content/ based on their age and their gender.
This will allow victims, offenders, and community members to connect to the education and emergency help resources specifically for them. Also, I will never sell anyone’s data. There will never be enough money in this world to make me compromise the purpose of this project and the impact it will have on people’s lives.
Dennis: It sounds like H.E.A.L. can literally be a lifesaver, I really hope that you can get the app together quickly for those who can benefit from it now. I look forward to following the progression of the app as it develops.
With all of your involvements, your intelligence and talent, it sounds like you at least at one point struggled with self-doubt and depression, how do you cope with it and do you have any suggestions for anyone else struggling with it?
Only1 Theory: I realize that emotions are good servants but poor masters lol. Life is so dynamic. We all come to Earth with a purpose, to learn certain lessons with free will. Everything is about a choice. My key is balance. The mind is so susceptible to “thinking traps” Anyone reading this that deals with depression or self-doubt…know you deserve to be and feel happy. You are divine and you are powerful.
Self-love comes from the source and it is the most powerful form of love. It allows the space for us to give love. The last thing is, perception is reality. A change in our perspective will change our reality.
Dennis: To me, it has always been how you respond to the events that happen to and around you that can make all the difference. Where do you record your music?
Only1 Theory: At a private underground lair lol! No, I’m just kidding, I do own a private studio that I invite people to very selectively. I am opening up a public space in Baltimore later this year.
Dennis: Nice! Though an underground lair would have been pretty sweet too! Do you have any songwriting processes that you follow?
Only1 Theory: I don’t physically write songs. Everything I sing, produce and create comes off the fly. I sage, set my intentions, and let the words/ music flow through me. The key for me is memorizing my songs after I make them lol!
Dennis: For sure…! lol. How about your live shows? How would you describe your live sets?
Only1 Theory: So lit lol!!! I love interacting with people. I sing with my soul and give people what they came to see. My shows always have great energy. I dance, I talk a little shit sometimes lol. I love it!
Dennis: Well, hopefully you’ll swing on into the Chicago area so we can all experience your live show. What do you have lined up for the remainder of the year?
Only1 Theory: The Somewhere Ova East Tour, I will be the Cutting Edge Music Festival, we are locking a couple of Pride performances and I will be dropping new music all year. After this Summer, I’m going to relax and take a “baecation”.
Dennis: Sounds like there is [Something Good] for everyone in those plans (pun intended). Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Only1 Theory: Be the light you want to see! Wishing you all much love, straight out of Baltimore! Yes, I’m somewhere ova east ayyyeeee!
Dennis: Thank you very much once again and I wish you all the best!!
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