2013 Texas Solo Artist Award Finalist, One who May Ascend (OMA), arrived on this planet in Madison, Tennessee in June, 1994, and was raised in Madison, Bronx, New York; Fort Worth, Arlington, Corpus Christi, and College Station, Texas. Representing the Dallas/Fort Worth area and the world as a whole, OMA is not your cliché drug-slinging wanna-be thug rapper. His style is – to say the least – different. With intricate lyrical content and concepts that can only be explained by some level of divine intervention, OMA has many titles, among them: leader, lyricist, martial artist, entrepreneur, underdog, and philosopher, but above all, he is a human being.
One who May Ascend’s upbringing was not that of a normal childhood. In everything from his birth name containing Arabic and Egyptian roots, to his diet, OMA was raised as a demigod, and was expected to live up to his name.
The first born son of two educated middle-class Afro-centric radicals, and offered to God in keeping with the covenant with Abraham as the first born in the family, OMA was taught the value of manners, service, appreciation, hard work, and humility, amongst others, but most importantly, the sacredness of his name. OMA kept all of these principles at heart, however it wasn’t until his early teens that OMA developed an interest in expressing his experiences and all he learned rhythmically and poetically through music – more specifically, rap.
The lasting psychological effects of OMA’s early childhood played a significant role in his thinking as a teen. OMA was often conflicted between the divine way of life he was taught, and mundane life on the day-to-day basis. He was also ostracized regularly, being labeled a “nerd” or “not black enough” for being different (and at times, more intelligent) than the other children at school. With no personalized outlet to expel this negative energy, he would constantly find himself getting in fights, behaving recklessly, or following ‘the wrong crowd’ in futile attempts to fit in a society which he shared nothing in common with. It was in one of these encounters with the wrong crowd of people where One who May Ascend discovered what was soon to become his passion.
In the beginning of his musical career, OMA was unfamiliar with rap sensations such as Tupac Shakur, Biggie, or Eminem, but after hearing an exhibition from one of the local rap artists, OMA developed a keenness for poetry in its rhythmic form. OMA saw emcees as people of struggle, people with unique life experience – not unlike his own condition – relating their stories and those experiences to the rest of the world. OMA greatly admired their skill, openness, and bravery in which they shared their lives and ideas to an imperfect world. Intrigued, the teenager delved into the world of hip-hop, and in doing so, he discovered a newfound peace which he had never known in expressing himself through his music – without limitations, and without restrictions, and for the first time, without fear.
Finding sanction in a new world of creativity, One who May Ascend’s music harbors the same essential principles instilled in him at an early age such as: perseverance, excellence, self-awareness, as well as his unpleasant personal experiences; emotions such as feeling lost, empty, and that of hopelessness, all in attempt to educate the global community of the human race’s interconnectedness in hopes of a better tomorrow.
OMA’s work has not gone unnoticed. In the short years following the writing of his first poems and songs at the age of fourteen, OMA has had the privilege of being granted some of the nation’s most prestigious awards, coveted features, and has performed alongside some of hip hop’s premier talent, but one of the most important things he has gained remains his newly gained friends. It was these same friends who gave him the name “One who May Ascend” (for rapping so well that he would ascend into the heavens) and urged him to pursue rap as a profession, rather than just a hobby, leading to the release of his first mix-tape, “ASCENDING; The Best of One who May Ascend”, at eighteen years old.
Since the release of his debut project, “ASCENDING; The Best of OMA” (Released May 17, 2013), One who May Ascend has performed in multiple events such as the 1st Annual Texas A&M – Corpus Christi “APOLLO” 2013, the Corpus Christi Music Walk June 2013, the Corpus Christi Art Walk August 2013, the 2013 Battle of the Bands at the Texas House of Rock, the Dallas Music Conference and Showcase (DMCAS) 2013, the 2013 “Rap-Zilla” showcase in Austin, the 2013 Texas Solo Artist Award Finals, the Wakarusa Waka Winter Classic 2014 after being one of five North Texas bands chosen to compete at the “Battle for Wakarusa” showcase at Trees in Dallas Texas, the 26th SBSLC (Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference) freestyle rap battle in 2014, worked on numerous collaborative projects (including the release of the Metal/Rap EP, “Breaking Even”, Released August 3, 2013, with Corpus Christi native band, The Fallen), has been streamed on numerous radio stations such as: the Come Up Radio, the Core 94, HNS Radio, Unsigned Hype Radio, NewTribez Radio, Radio Airplay, and KANM Radio, (including his interview on KANM), has had his premier demo, “ASCENDING”, featured at the Austin Mic Exchange’s Mix-tape Market Place after being selected as one of the twenty local artists to be featured at the 2014 MLK Block Party hosted by the Austin Mic Exchange, performed at the unofficial South by South West event, “Pawn Takes King 4”, hosted by the Austin Mic Exchange, performed at RAW: Natural Born Artists at the Belmont in Austin, Texas, at the 2014 Dallas Music Festival at the Liquid Lounge, the Curtain Club, at The On the Come Up at Club Karma in Austin, the M&B Lounge in Arlington, and has received many awards, including the Scholastic Silver Key award for poetry on the national-level. He is currently unsigned and a student in the Texas A&M system, which has played a major part in his success; from his original compositions being studied in Dr. T.J. Curry’s Introduction to Hip-Hop Philosophy Class (PHIL 252-500) on campus, to being featured on Texas A&M’s Department on Hispanic Studies’ Facebook page for an original five minute song written fully in Castilian Spanish, to winning the 26th annual SBSLC (Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference) freestyle rap battle hosted by DJ BANDCAMP (Official DJ of Stalley, the Indiana Pacers, and BET 106 and Park) and Texas A&M drawing audiences of 200+, and has been featured on The Eckleburg Project’s (Official Literary Magazine of Texas A&M) blog as a featured artist for a week. He has also opened for major hip-hop acts including Travis Porter, Gorilla Zoe, EST 19XX’s own, Tezo and Dub-O, all while attending Texas A&M in the Bryan/College Station area, however, the journey continues…
Awaken from his dormant state of being, OMA now knows that he is One who May Ascend.
He hopes to help you understand that you are too.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What city and state are you from?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: Although I was born in Madison, Tennessee, I have also lived in Bronx New York, Fort Worth, and Arlington Texas (where I was raised most of my life). However, I am currently residing in Corpus Christi, Texas.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: I’ve been indirectly involved with music since I was about nine years old. Whenever I liked a song, I would tell my dad, and then he would make a mix-tape of the songs that I liked. I was sure to keep close tabs on the reoccurring artists (namely DMX, Ludacris, and Kurtis Blow). When I wasn’t listening to music, I used to perform in musicals. This is when I first became accustomed to performing musical compositions in front of large crowds, and when I learned about singing. This era ended abruptly, however, when the director got cancer, and had to close the school. Soon after, I enrolled in piano classes, and began to develop as a pianist. This too, was short-lived, given the increasing financial pressure on my family to keep paying for the classes, and my formal piano education was discontinued, and until I reached high school, my growth as a musician was stunted. From time to time, I would return to the piano to compose original pieces, or whenever I came up with a tune. For the most part, I would not return to music until hearing the local artists whose talent urged me to learn more about hip-hop culture, and ultimately use it myself for self-expression, as I have been doing to this day. The rest is history.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Why do you want to record and release your own music?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: From the first time I ever wrote a song until now, I have discovered a new found peace which I have never known in expressing myself through my music without limitations, without restrictions, and without fear. In the short years that I have been recording and releasing music, I have come to realize music is not only my livelihood, but also a way of life. My music is not just a hobby, but a physiological necessity. I am literally unable to function in my daily routine activities if it’s been too long since the last time I have written, recorded, or performed a song.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: My songs portray principles such as perseverance, excellence, self-awareness, as well as less pleasant personal experiences, such as feeling lost, empty, and at times, hopelessness. All of this is portrayed in an attempt to educate the global community of the human race’s interconnectedness in hopes of a better tomorrow.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who is your fan base directed towards?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: Given the mission statement of my music and myself as an artist, to “portray principles such as perseverance, excellence, self-awareness, as well as less pleasant personal experiences, such as feeling lost, empty, and at times, hopelessness, all in attempt to educate the global community of the human race’s interconnectedness in hopes of a better tomorrow.” It would only be logical that my fan base would be directed towards people of all ages, races, religions, creeds, sexual orientation, and any other identifying attributes we use to segregate ourselves as human beings.
With that said, as my primary genre is hip hop, most of my preexisting fan base is composed of those aged between 16-35, and located in the central Texas, Dallas/Fort Worth, Corpus Christi/coastal bend regions, as that is where I am currently residing, but with intention to branch out to other markets more accepting of my genre.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: I admire any artist who is serious about their craft, and who produces their work from their heart, whether well-known or not. I was very unfamiliar with any artists in the beginning, in comparison to focusing on expressing myself to my heart’s content, rather than trying to sound like any other artist. I am using myself as the main source of my inspiration. However, as I became more familiar with my craft on the journey of my career, I have been influenced by hip-hop greats such as: Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, DMX, Nas, Eminem, Canibus, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Mos Def, Big Pun, Immortal Technique, Deltron 3030 (Del the Funky Homosapien), Jedi Mind Tricks, NWA, Wu-Tang Clan, Jurassic 5, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, 8 Ball and MJG, Cannibal Ox, The Fugees, Cunninglynguists, MF Doom, Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee, LL Cool J, Kool G Rap, Apathy, Necro, Virtuoso, One Be Lo, Pharoahe Monch, and many more, in no particular order.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: My music is unique, intricate, lyrical, complex, smooth and consistent. It is original and heartfelt. These are all adjectives that I’ve heard from others when explaining my lyrical content, flow, and musicality, which I myself use in turn to describe my music to others. Cliché aside, my music is in fact unlike any you’ve ever heard before, hip-hop, rap, or otherwise, straying from the conventional Top 40 singles heard day after day on the radio.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: In addition to my music, and a captivating stage presence that demands the attention of my audience, other qualities I possess that make me stand out from other artists are characteristics such as my work ethic, determination, age, marketability, branding, professionalism, understanding of the music industry, and my touring record.
I love what I do. I love the studio environment, touring, performing, and the instant gratification I receive in return from my fans, new, or old, after forming a bond during an unforgettable performance that will last a lifetime, making a day’s hard work all worth it. Given my work ethic and the longevity of my career as a musician (6 years), it goes without saying that music is truly my passion as opposed to impostors who “make it” in the music industry from a popular hit single, and are dropped from their label shortly thereafter due to weak resolve, unprofessionalism, or simply because money was their only incentive.
Although I’m only 20 years old, I’ve already accomplished more than many others had hoped to accomplish by my age, or in some cases, even twice my age. Not to say because other artists are older than me they can’t accomplish what I have done, or that I am content with where I am now, but it just goes to show my full-fledged dedication to my craft. Nobody my age that I know personally has opened for acts as big as the likes of Travis Porter, Gorilla Zoe, and Machine Gun Kelly’s label mates, Dub-O and Tezo, or have both regional and nationwide fan bases. Furthermore, my young age only makes me that much more marketable to the major consumers of music – the youth. Since those who are my age are inevitably most likely to relate to the content of my music, it only makes sense that they would be the primary investors.
Other traits that distinguish me from my fellow artists are my professionalism and my understanding of the music industry. Having attended various A&R meet and greets, sessions, and conferences, I am knowledgeable about everything it takes to make a star. From branding, to consistency, and from licensing to publishing, I am certain that I have a basic understanding of the difference between a hobby musician and a professional musician. Granted, there’s always room to learn, but I have been well versed in my fundamentals.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are some upcoming projects you are currently working on?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: Having recently released my first official EP, “XPLOSIVE” this past December, I am currently working on my first official LP, “Humble Beginnings”, due June 30th, 2015, on my 21st birthday.
“Humble Beginnings” has been overdue for nearly a year now, and highly anticipated by all of my fans, particularly after the 1 year hiatus from releasing any full-length projects following the release of my first demo, “ASCENDING”, and my Metal/Rap EP, “BREAKING EVEN”, in collaboration with the Corpus Christi native group, The Fallen, which were released less than three months apart from each other.
Not only will “Humble Beginnings” be my first official LP, but it will also serve as a reminder between my fans and I where I came from, as it was them who have transformed my dreams into reality by making all of this possible.
Unlike anything I’ve ever done, “Humble Beginnings” will be one for the books.
I’m super excited for this project!
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: I want to be on top in the future – the near future. I want to be the “him” that everyone talks about. I want to be “it”, and to milk life for what it’s worth, experiencing the vastness of that which we call “life”, as well as give others the chance to experience the opportunities that I’ve been fortunate to have. I’ve been granted so much in my life, and I’ve done everything I could with everything I have, and given my position, I expect to get everything I deserve within 10 years, not a penny less.
My list of long term career goals include: releasing my first official LP (Humble Beginnings), receiving commercial radio play, earning a Platinum record, paying off student loans, and family debt, purchasing a vehicle and a house, making my family and friends proud, helping others who helped me gain my status achieve their goals, earning international recognition, ending poverty, hunger, disease, and famine, achieving peace both globally and within myself, getting a GRAMMY, or at least nominated, although the main focus is making good music, as many iconic figures (including Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Mos Def, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Snoop Dogg, Queen, Katy Perry, Kid Rock, Journey, and more) have yet to win.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
ONE WHO MAY ASCEND: My fans can access my music virtually anywhere music is sold online;
And may contact me via any of my social sites, including my official website, www.onewhomayascend.com
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