Every once in a while, a new musician comes along that makes us hold our breath, grab the sides of the monitor and hope to sweet baby Jesus that he or she becomes a huge hit. This is the case for Aussie artist Okenyo.
Her intro video was enough to capture the attention of Jinja Safari, who asked her to support them on their upcoming ‘Bay Of Fires’ tour, and after one week her track ‘Broken Chest’ is sitting at number 16 on the Triple J Unearthed indie chart.
Before she began making music Okenyo was an established actress, performing for the likes of the Sydney Theatre Company. Then she got a broken heart, and as we all know there’s nothing more therapeutic than writing some rhymes and singing out the heartbreak while standing poetically next to a wilting rose. Or for those of us without pens, a command of poetry or flowers, we just take a drive and switch the radio to Mix 106.5. Fortunately, Okenyo has a little more dignity. Her musical influences include Erykah Badu, Thelophilus London, Grace Jones and Frank Ocean, but the main inspiration comes from writers and novels, translated into her brand of neo-mystic soul music.
A creative wrecking ball that smashes the daylights out of idleness, Okenyo also found time to make a zine called O.zine for the Bay of Fires tour, limited copies of which can be found at the venue merch stands. The pages are stunning, and we have a preview of a select few below.
But first, let’s do a proper introduction.
My name is Zindzi Okenyo. I grew up all over Australia, from the middle of the Tanami Desert to down in cold little Tassie. My cultural background is point 5 Kenyan, point 5 Aussie and it influences me during late night Dancehall parties. When I was eight years old I was always running everywhere. Apparently I barely ever walked! I got into music because I wanted to explore other facets of myself as an artist as opposed to acting which is my regular job. I’d describe my sound as a strange mix of storytelling, melancholia and 808’s. I decided to make O.zine because I love crafternoon. The idea behind it is a dreamscape into the Okenyo mind state. During the tour I’m looking forward to The Forum gig in Melbourne. I have family and some dear people in my life coming. I’m packing: don’t you mean, (I’m wishing) I could pack my kitten? The first thing I’ll do when I get home is go for a ride on my bike. The last idea that kept me up at night is why do those women on The Batchelor feel like there is something wrong with them when they don’t get a rose? The thing that makes me laugh hardest the quips my best friend Ben makes. The next thing I want to buy is a whisky flask. I wish I’d invented Channel Orange. I’m craving romance. If I could live inside one movie it would be Spirited Away.
Now a glimpse of O.zine and some Instavids below for that sweet, sweet sound…
JINJA SAFARI presents THE BAY OF FIRES TOUR with special guests Cub Sport & Okenyo //presented by triple j, Street Press Australia
ON SALE NOW www.jinjasafari.com/shows
Wednesday 11 Sept: Woombye Pub, Sunshine Coast
Thursday 12 Sept: Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
Friday 13 Sept: The Hi-Fi, Brisbane
Saturday 14 September Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast
Wednesday 18 September: ANU, Canberra
Thursday 19 September: Uni Bar, Wollongong
Friday 20 September: Cambridge, Newcastle
Saturday 21 September: The Metro, Sydney [ALL AGES]
Wednesday 25 September: Loft, Warrnambool
Thursday 26 September: Barwon Club, Geelong
Friday 27 September: Forum, Melbourne
Saturday 28 September: Karova, Ballarat
Thursday 3 October: Adelaide Uni Bar, Adelaide [ALL AGES]
Friday 4 October: Settlers Tavern, Margaret River * (Okenyo not appearing)
Saturday 5 October: The Astor, Perth [ALL AGES]
Sunday 6 October: Prince Of Wales, Bunbury