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Owano Beryl: A star in the making

 Musician Beryl Owano [Instagram]

Afrobeats singer O1O is not your average girl next door. She clawed her way up from mopping studio floors to owning the airwaves with anthems about making it on her terms.

She began her musical journey in 2013, lending her background vocals to various artistes and collaborating with live bands, particularly within the Congolese music scene.

Her journey started with a bus ticket to Nairobi. The city was not the bed of roses she imagined. Faced with hunger and rejection, some “professionals” offered to “help” her career- for a price. But O1O was not buying it.

She swallowed her pride, took on odd jobs, and even sang backup for Congolese bands, all to keep her music dream alive.

Then, in 2016, her hard work paid off. She met producer Omae Lions and landed a feature on a hot single. Fueled by this win, she released Mafisi, a song that put everyone on notice.

But O1O was not done. She teamed up with Jacky B to drop Namtafuta, a declaration of independence from a bad relationship. Nabaki was not just a song – it was her story.

Formerly known as Beryl Owano, O1O’s fire is not just for show. Raised by a pastor mum, she started singing in church.

But the industry’s darker side – fame seekers disguised as gospel singers – pushed her towards secular music. Still, her faith remains strong. She has written for gospel artistes and has her own inspirational tracks on the way.

O1O sees the struggles of upcoming artistes. The big names can be cold, demanding outrageous favours just for a chance. But she is a fighter. “This industry is cutthroat,” she says. “But girls, stay focused and protect yourselves!”

Inspiration strikes O1O from everyday challenges. Her passion and unique sound quickly set her apart, leading to her breakthrough as a solo artiste.

Her career properly took off in 2017 when she won the Female Artiste of the Year at the Kisumu Teeniez Choice Awards with her hit Slowly, featuring Tanzania’s Matonya. This accolade marked the beginning of a series of notable achievements.

In 2018, she received a nomination for Best Breakthrough Video at the Pulse Music Video Awards for her song, Utafilisika.

The musician’s momentum continued in 2019 with another nomination for her track Kalipso.

O1O ’s Talent and versatility shone through in 2021 with the release of two Fire Emoji and Usiogope under Origarmi Boy Entertainment.

2022 saw O1O embarking on her first solo project, releasing singles like, ‘More’, ‘Dakika’ and ‘Be There’, the latter featuring Kelechi Africana and achieving the highest number of streams among her songs.

In 2023, under the CMG Record label, she dropped the electrifying hit, Bad Girl Energy, which generated significant streaming success. She closed the year with a return to her roots, featuring Harry Richie’s track Owano.

O1O is now an independent artiste. Her latest release Nkuwe Ki is a testament to her artistic growth and determination to spread her sound across the continent and beyond.

With an experienced team and official sponsors backing her, she is set to reach new heights and touch more lives with her music.

“This single was inspired by my long-term relationship with a couple close to me. I have seen them grow together - from grass to grace - and I just love their love,” she says.

This project, she says is just a stepping stone to great music coming soon.

“Producer Giddy Vibes helped with the writing too. Then one and a half years later, I met the CEO Harold Mbati Foundation Mr Harold Mbati and I played him the song during one of our interactions: Having a musical background (he played the saxophone in the song), he suggested we re-do the song and release it. The rest is pure bliss,” she says.

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