In celebration of Black History Month 2022, Arts Help is partnering with Canadian music non-profit Waveland to highlight over twenty up-and-coming artists as part of our Black Artistry Series, a year-round initiative showcasing Black talent. Each artist featured in this year’s event is performing in Waveland’s Black History Month Virtual Music Festival and giving an exclusive interview with Arts Help.

Since the age of two, R&B/Soul artist Osé has been singing, with the church choir being the first place she became hypnotized by music. After teaching herself how to songwrite in her bathroom, she started her music career at the age of sixteen, and just a couple of years later, she has already made a name for herself and gained the attention of industry veterans.

In the following interview, Osé discusses what inspires her, the causes she is passionate about, and how music can make the world a better place.

What inspired you to get into music?

I think what inspired me to really pursue music comes a lot from my dad and the stories about my grandmother he told me growing up. Growing up, he always told me that she was a singer too, had her own band, and they did small festival shows within her city. She even met my grandfather at one of her shows, because he was a drummer at the venue and she was performing.

Unfortunately, due to the environment that she found herself in, she wasn’t able to share her talent on a bigger scale, so the gift died with her — however, it found life in me. Music has been a huge part of my life and acts as an escape for me. I love telling stories with my music and painting pictures with lyrics to bring listeners into the world I create with my sound. My inspiration spurs from my grandmother’s dream that she couldn’t fulfill, which fuels my own desire to keep going.

Do you have a go-to song or artist that you’ve been listening to lately?

At the moment I wouldn’t say I have only one artist that’s a go-to listen for me, because I listen to everything and everyone. I’ve been listening to a lot of new school and old school R&B/Soul like H.E.R., Lucky Daye, Janet Jackson, and Erykah Badu. I’ve also been listening to a lot of new school and old school rap like J. Cole, Cordae, DMX, and 2Pac.

As a singer and songwriter, there’s never just one artist or specific style I’m listening to. I try to immerse myself in everything — that helps to develop a dope pen and a sharp ear.

Why do you think music is such a powerful tool for creating positive change?

I think music is such a powerful tool to create positive change because it’s a language that can be understood by everybody that has the power to make everyone feel something. As someone who strives to be a translator for the voice of people in my music, it helps to have someone who can vocalize and tell a story or struggle that you can’t put into words. Being able to be that emblem for people and create a community of shared human experience with the music that I create is what I believe helps to create a positive change.

Guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Arts Help believes that art is a vehicle for social change. Out of the 17 SDGs, which one are you the most passionate about?

I think all of these United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are important to the world around us, because you can’t have one without the other. All of these goals work together to make a better environment for everyone. By providing better education and opportunities for people, this also helps to empower the youth and create better job opportunities for people, which in turn can help to potentially reduce poverty, etc.

It’s a system, therefore every part of the machine is important. I’m passionate about making sure every single goal is at the forefront and a work in progress to getting where we want to be.

What steps can we take to make the music industry a more inclusive space for everyone?

I think steps we can take to make sure the music industry is a more inclusive space starts with checking on the mental health of our peers. The industry can take a toll on anyone and it’s important that we make the mental health of artists, executives, or whoever a priority above anything. This creates a safe space to talk about mental health, and offer programs, resources, and solutions to combat feeling alone in these situations.

Learn more about Osé and listen to her music here.

Follow the Black Artistry Series on social media with the hashtag #ArtsHelp365

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