Music Spotlight: O.N.E The Duo

Aug 11, 2023 at 03:14 pm by Bethany Bowman

O.N.E The Duo is a mother-daughter duo from California. Daughter Prana Supreme is the daughter of Tekitha and RZA, the de-facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan.

O.N.E stands for Observant, Noetic, and Effervescent. (I learned a new word, ‘noetic’ which means relating to mental activity or intellect.) There's intentionally no period after the "E" because effervescence goes on and on. And after listening to their music, especially their debut album, Blood Harmony, I think these three words are the perfect adjectives to describe the pair. The music is purposeful and diverse with a little something for everyone. And if you aren’t smiling after hearing “Feels Good” you don’t have a pulse.

Besides the obvious connection, Tekitha’s grandmother was a singer who wanted to pursue it professionally but was discouraged by her father. Everyone in the family said she had a “voice like an angel.” Her paternal grandfather from Arkansas also had a silky voice and sang regularly in church.

Singing is in Tekitha’s DNA. She recalled, “Both of my parents are avid music listeners – soul, blues, gospel, county- my father loves country music but he called it ‘country-western.’”

And while Tekitha and Prana hail from California, the influences from her parents’ Arkansas and Texas upbringing combined to make them lovers of all kinds of music.

I first met O.N.E the Duo at CMT’s Next Women of Country event in January. The network prides itself in discovering artists, especially females, who are a little outside of the box, and they certainly fill that role. CMT Executive, Leslie Fram assured them that there was absolutely room for them in the genre.

“Our pathway to country music was always in us and deep-seated and we found our way which was not intentional,” Tekitha explained.

Now 22, Prana was the one who came up with the idea that they should be a duo when she was a young teen. However, Mom, being a backup singer for the Wu-Tang Clan had experienced the music business for 30 years and was hesitant. She felt Prana was too young.

Because of Tekitha’s strong work ethic, it was something to consider changing their relationship from mother/daughter to singing together as a career.

Tekitha told me, “Everyone knows about the hip-hop side, but we were also heavily involved in house music, R&B, Soul, and Pop which is where our creativity comes into play.”

With both of her parents being professional musicians, Prana was not deterred. She certainly had the talent, and she eventually wore her mother down.

Now, eight years later, it is all smiles. They have put in the work and proved to themselves and the world that they are a force to be reckoned with.  

With access to the tools they needed in L.A., I wondered how the pair ended up in Nashville. Prana explained, “We found ourselves in country music because we wanted to explore a lot of live instrumentation. We wouldn’t be able to explore that fully in L.A.”

Because Wu-Tang has such a large presence in the industry and especially in L.A., it would have been hard for them to explore something new without someone laying down their preconceived notions about who they should be.  

“Nashville was like the other music community that is famous for having amazing musicians and producers and songwriters,” Prana confirmed.

They moved to give it a shot. They often sang acapella and would compose songs by singing them first without any instruments. The way that they sang together and wrote music which ended up with a very Americana, country vibe to it. When they came to Nashville, the producers and musicians added their take to the duo’s music, and it often morphed into country music.

O.N.E The Duo loves Americana, pop, country, and hip hop-- all kinds of music, and their eclectic style is evident on their newest album, Blood Harmony.

They were recently featured on the Today Show singing their energetic song, “Feels Good.” And while I am a fan of the song and have already downloaded it, Blood Harmony provides so much more.

On the record, there is a recording of Baby Prana talking that turns into “Til You Call My Name,” a song that will melt the heart of any parent, especially when one is required to raise a child mostly on their own. While the song has a “soft pop” feel, the lyrics are so exquisite that they will bring tears to your eyes like sad country songs often do. “Hearts Like Mine” echoes the same theme but with a more upbeat tempo.

Tekitha stated, “I wanted to impart to Prana the importance of being vulnerable with these songs. It was my commitment to becoming comfortable being vulnerable.”

One Minute to Midnight” sounds like it should be sung in a smoky jazz club with pretty people sipping their martinis and cosmopolitans. The song is timeless.

The harmony on “River of Sin” reminds me of a modern negro spiritual. If O Brother Where Art Thou were to be re-released, this song would need to be included. It is one of my favorites.

But in case you think, O.N.E The Duo shouldn’t belong in the country genre, you need to hear “Guilty” which has a detailed murder plot and should be included alongside The Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl” and Ashley McBryde’s “Martha Divine.”  When they sang it live at the Nashville City Winery, it caught my attention.

Stuck in The Middle” sounds very much like contemporary songs you hear on country radio as they admonish the guy to make up his mind and “Don’t leave me stuck in the middle.”

There is a saying in country music, “Don’t forget your raising.” For that to ring true to O.N.E The Duo, they would need to include at least a hat-tip to their hip-hop heritage. “HoeDown” does that but with lyrics that successfully tell a story while the fiddle saws.

It is only fitting that the record concludes with the song “Superpower” which is a conglomeration of the pair’s genre-less music that celebrates the superpower of being a woman.

Being from California with a hip-hop background, I wanted to know if they felt welcomed in Nashville. Prana said, “So far, our experience has been very warm and welcoming. People are excited to teach us more about country music and the history of it.”

They realize that those who want to keep country music “pure” may be a little hesitant to promote their style of music, but for the most part, the majority have been very enthusiastic to embrace the black mother-daughter pair.

Tekitha pointed out that some came before them like Risi Palmer, Brittney Spencer, and Mickey Guyton who were first to face the backlash that made it possible for their road to be smoother.

Inquiring minds want to know what Poppa RZA thinks of the record. While he had heard some of the songs before, it was over the Christmas holiday that Prana played the album for him. She told me, “He was so overjoyed and so proud. He loved it. He is enjoying watching our journey.”

Prana’s parents instilled in her to “love your music whether or not anyone else does or not.” Blood Harmony celebrates all the facets of loving yourself and your music. The record illuminates the power of unconditional love as a grounding force in a whirlwind world — especially the bond between mother and daughter. O.N.E The Duo’s debut album Blood Harmony truly offers something for everyone. Check it out today!

You can follow O.N.E The Duo on FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokYouTube, all streaming platforms.

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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blogInstagram, and Twitter.