Sound Check

Jay-Z taps Ontario teenager WondaGurl for ‘Magna Carta… Holy Grail’ album track


Brampton, Ont.’s Ebony Oshunrinde is in the spotlight after earning a producing credit on Jay-Z’s new album “Magna Carta... Holy Grail.” Now, it seems like the music world has opened their eyes (and ears) to the talents of WondaGurl after hearing the song, "Crown."

“A lot more people want to work with me now,” Oshunrinde told the Toronto Star. “It’s pretty cool … It’s a really good feeling. I want to show young people that they can do it … Anybody can be successful. It doesn’t matter where you’re from.”

The 16-year-old artist created the stage name WondaGurl as a take off from Canadian producer Boi-1da's moniker (pronounced “Boy Wonder”), whom she met while competing at Battle of The Beat Makers.

“I really like Boi-1da as a producer,” she explained to Complex. “I couldn’t figure out a name for myself. My first name is Ebony, so adding ‘Ebony’ into my stage name really didn’t work out for me. So I took Boi-1da’s name and switched it around and put ‘gurl.’ When I was going on stage for the beat battle for the first time, he was on the [judging] panel. He actually said to me, ‘I like your name.’ It was pretty cool.”

Oshunrinde’s beat for "Crown" reached Jay-Z by way of rapper Travi$ Scott, who has worked with both Hova and WondaGurl. The student says that the tune “has a lot of bass and a lot of bounce.”

“[Scott] texted me and said, ‘I’m about to change your life,’” she revealed to the Toronto Star about the moment she learned the amazing news. “Usually that doesn’t really happen to 16-year-olds.”

The young producer cites artists like Timbaland as part of her inspirations and tells Complex that she began experimenting with music at a time when her peers were probably more concerned with recess activities.

“I started when I was 9 years old,” she said. “I was on my computer watching YouTube videos of Timbaland—he’s my favourite producer. When I saw those videos of Timbaland, I fell in love with what he does in making the instrumentals, and I wanted to do the same thing. I started out making little beats on my keyboard, and then I went up to Magix Music Maker, then to Reason, and then FL Studio.”

On July 5, catch WondaGurl on MuchMusic’s “New.Music.Live” and follow her journey by heading here.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @GraceS35

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