Herstory 29: How Wondagurl Carved Her Way To Hip-Hop's Upper Echelon
A Producer Reach Is Further Than You Think
If you are an experienced Hip-Hop lover, you probably have pride in knowing who is responsible for the production of the songs you hold dear, whether you have a particular interest in music production or not. It’s easy to acknowledge how important a producer’s role is in the music you enjoy for a few reasons:
Artists tend to credit the producer in the song they created the instrumental for
Audio tags are placed in the throughout a song serving as a sort of watermark to give proper credit
There is a list of music platforms that shed light on a producer’s creative process and challenge them to create on the spot (i.e Genius’ Deconstructed, All Def Music’s The Crate, FACTMagazine’s Against The Clock and Mass Appeal’s Rhythm Roulette)
Here we draw our attention to Wondagurl, a 22 year-old music producer who has already made a notable mark in Hip-Hop’s deep landscape.
Before The Wonder
Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde was born on December 28, 1996 in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, to Jozie Oshunrinde. Ebony doesn’t own the typical origin story you’d expect a music producer to have. She wasn’t passionate about music in the beginning, in fact, whenever she was in a place where music grew too loud for her taking, she’d find an escape. To her mother’s surprise, Ebony found her niche for beat making at 9 years old when her grandmother bought her a Casio keyboard, which included drum pads where she could record drum pattern ideas and loops.
She then began using music software Mixcraft on her family’s home computer. Anxious for people to hear her work, she began to release beats on SoundClick and Facebook.
“I took production seriously from 11 years old. I didn’t have many friends so it was easy to focus.”
While other children were outside letting their screams loose and rummaging through the earth, Ebony was alone in her room, converting discipline into play. For hours on end she would make beats and indulge in YouTube tutorials on FL Studio, but her real desire to be a music producer didn’t kick in until she came across an excerpt from Jay-Z’s The Black Album documentary, working with Timbaland in a studio session.
The Come Up
In 2010, Ebony saw an advert for the Battle of the Beat Makers competition on FL Studio’s website, but was unable to register because the age limit was 19+. She then got in contact with the organizer expressing her interest in competing and he decided to change the age restriction to all-ages. The following year, she entered and made it to semi-finals.
A year later she re-entered the competition with a new bag of new tricks she learned from her mentor at the time Boi-1da (a fellow Canadian, former Battle of the Beat Makers winner, and long time collaborator of Drake). Ebony met Boi-1da through The Remix Project, a Toronto-based mentorship program geared towards young creatives from disadvantaged, marginalized and under served communities trying to enter into business, recording and the creative arts.
Her win led her to produce for many staple acts in the industry. Here’s some of her early works:
Success Is When Opportunity And Preparation Meet
Since then, she’s worked with the likes of Drake, Rihanna, Young Thug, Big Sean, Ab-Soul and Kanye West. Her resume is impressive to say the least. Though its great to be associated with highly respected artists, having a musical landmark in the history of the region you belong to is more rewarding. She’s had a hand in developing a number of local Canadian artists, from Sean Leon to Jahkoy.
Womxn Are Dodging Erasure
“I’ve seen a lot of people post pictures of their daughters, saying “You inspired this girl to make beats.” That makes me feel really nice.
Ebony is carving out a solid blueprint for generations of young womxn to follow. She is doing her part in normalizing what womxn are capable of achieving in the music industry. With more than a decade’s worth of experience, Ebony is just getting started. Maybe her name is an outfit she’ll keep trying on until it fits perfectly.
If you want to explore more stories about womxn behind the scenes in the music industry, you can start by checking out our previous posts (See: Herstory 1, Herstory 2, Herstory 19, Herstory 23, and Herstory 26.
Thanks for reading! This blog series is brought to you by Solidarity in Sound, an educational platform for the global, music community.
For our Herstory Lessons blog series— we're retelling the stories of womxn in music that have been misheard, mislabeled, or erased completely from our history books.
If information looks incorrect, please let us know! When we're retelling stories that are left out of our history books, finding info can get tricky. We want to make sure we're portraying these stories as accurately as possible!