“After I separated myself from how everyone else was doing things, I said, ‘Okay Oshanna, who are you?’”
Glowing and radiant is Oshanna, sitting in a white room, joyous over her upcoming single. Gracious as ever, she sat with us to discuss her upcoming single and EP.
Her newest single, Energy, is set to be released Friday, May 5th. This song holds much importance to her as it is about her close friend, Dona. She tells us that “growing up, I had one very close friendship. I had to learn that it wasn’t a good relationship.” Oshanna goes on to tell us about finding out that this person would talk about her behind her back. This distrust impacted her and gave her a perspective that she would carry on for years, impacting her ability to allow others, especially women, to get close to her. Reflecting on this inability to get close to women, she tells us, “High school was one of those where I had a couple girlfriends but we were never as close as my first one because I carried it with me throughout my days even into my adulthood.” Oftentimes, women are taught they are each other’s competition. When someone Oshanna is meant to trust and find comfort in further enforces the idea that women cannot be trusted, it was hard for her to think of women in other ways.
All that changed when she met Dona. “I met her and it was very—it was different […] over time we learned each other. It was a healthy way.” This relationship allowed Oshanna to mend the broken way she viewed relationships with other women. Until Dona, Oshanna’s other relationships with women were surface lever, never allowing herself to be fully understood.
“We grew with each other. […] I learned unconditional love with her.”
As an artist who writes everything completely by herself, listeners get a chance to connect with Oshanna in ways so few artists allow. Some of the most notable songwriters who write their own music without co-writers are Taylor Swift, Adele, and Bob Dylan. The songs contain, as Oshanna says, all her energy, all her time, and all her vulnerability. On the thought of adding a co-writer, Oshanna says she is open to the opportunity. “When I write my music I can genuinely feel it. Even when I sing someone else’s song, I can’t feel it to the core of me writing this and [as though] this is coming through me,” she tells us of her hesitations towards adding a co-writer. When asked about her writing process, Oshanna mentions her car as being her creative space. When driving somewhere one day, she had a beat on and Energy came to fruition.
“There was a point in my life where my car was my home and that’s where I did everything.”
Oshanna is able to find herself in her music. She’d been singing for longer than she can remember, recalling how her parents told her that she would sing before she could speak. Never going through a phase of stage fright, Oshanna would find a mic at any wedding, barbeque, or family function and start her performance. Growing up around people in the music industry, her family recognized her talent and encouraged her to pursue singing as a career. “My dad used to take me to the studio with him a few times,” she says of growing up, “I also had my uncle, my cousins; they were in the music industry too.”
While she makes sure she keeps a distinct voice separate from her family, she does credit her dad for having a significant influence on her regarding how she went about the creation process. Once she figured out how she wanted her career to look, she was able to separate herself from his vision and honour herself, as she says. “I remember my first performance,” she says of having that exposure to the music industry and performing in front of audiences, “I was singing Alicia Keys’ Fallin’ and I remember after getting off that stage, my family was so receptive to it.”
After that experience, she remembers getting in the studio with her uncle, a rapper at the time, to have her first recording experience. Flash forward a few years and she’s still singing and creating songs. Oshanna speaks of her time at Red Lobster, singing and baking. People in the kitchen would encourage her and ask what she was doing if not pursuing music. She credits her coworkers at Brampton’s Red Lobster for helping her take on her career the way she is now.
Flash forward to her recent months: Oshanna is travelling to perform and being invited to attend the Rose Theatre Showcase and the Drake Underground Showcase. She calls these monumental moments. “I prayed for that,” she says. She remembers walking around Yonge-Dundas Square and telling herself that she will be on one of those screens. As though he heard her prayers, her friend Jemane Kent called her a month later about the Rose Theatre Showcase.
“I would do it ten times over if I could.”
As for the Drake Underground, Oshanna’s first experience there was an accident. “I remember hearing music and I remember going to the Drake Underground;” she says she went in and watched the performance of a band she hadn’t heard of before and fell for the energy. After that moment, she told herself, “I want to perform here.”
A few years later, she receives a call from another friend asking if she’d want to perform at the Drake Underground. These are crowds she’s dreamed of on stages she’s strived for. She recalls these memories with surreal wonder at how everything seemed to align.
“I felt like I hit another level in my career.”
With her career lining up exactly the way she wants it, it’s incredible Oshanna has stayed as humble and grounded. With her friends entering her apartment and all the people she credits by name, Oshanna is someone whose energy and joy radiate through them.
The next monumental milestone she’s looking to achieve is her upcoming EP which is set to release in August of this year. She teased it by saying it covers years of her life: “I’ve been sitting on this for about two years.” With Energy releasing in a few days and her EP coming out in a few months, Oshanna is not stopping. Always going after what she wants, she is bound for a career with no limits.