When I was sixteen I immersed myself in Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”, listened to Black Flag, and plotted out my future of counter culture criminality. I’d started singing for bands but it would be many years before I found my own voice beyond my adolescent nihilism. That’s what is so remarkable about Alexis Onyango from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
She is sixteen years old and judging by the videos on her YouTube channel she is grounded, focused, and filled with respect and love for life. She is the antithesis of my sixteen-year-old self. I find this fascinating. Oh, and she can also sing. I mean, she can really sing.
The lyrics of “Watch The Sun” are basic love song prose but the depth of her voice commands them with an ageless force. Underlying the purity and innocence is an inherent soulfulness reminiscent of Laurel Canyon in the 1970’s. The song is sparse and open allowing the emotional strength of Alexis’s voice carry the melodic weight. When she sings
“I’ll just stand around and watch the sun until I’m found”
I’m certain it’s only a matter of time until that happens. Her performance comes across as effortless and that is a gift that few possess.
My sixteen-year-old self and Alexis have seemingly little in common. The trajectories appear to veer in opposing directions What they do share is a deep love of music and a need to create it. Alexis is just a little more ahead in the game than I was. Her growth as an artist will be very interesting watch.