16 year-old Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (Toronto) native Ebony Oshunrinde aka WondaGurl makes beats. In 2012, the Nigerian-Canadian won the “Battle of the Beatmakers” competition that was held in Toronto, Canada. WondaGurl beat out over 32 up and coming producers. She was the only girl who participated in the competition. Probably one of her biggest accomplishments to date was one of the beats she crafted was used by hip-hop icon Jay-Z. “Crown” was featured on Jay-Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” The 2013, 4th of July release, was the 12th album Hov has put out. WondaGurl had a pretty dope summer this year.
Ebony aka WondaGurl has been making beats since she was 9 year-old. Ironically enough her interest of making music began when she found a video of mega producer Timbaland working in the studio with Jay-Z on “The Black Album” in 2003. WondaGurl says in an interview with HollywoodReporter.com about her music making discovery, “I always love the background music in songs, not the lyrics. I didn’t know who did that, so I did my research and I fell in love with the beats that Timbaland was making.” Making beats at 9 years old?!?! That’s crazy!
So you want to know how one of her beats was featured on “Magna Carta Holy Grail?” I shall tell you. After WondaGurl won the “Battle of the Beatmakers” in 2011, she was signed to Black Box Management Company. She emailed a beat to Houston rapper (G.O.O.D. Music/Grand Hustle artist) Travi$ Scott who listened to one of her tracks. According to OkayAfrica.com, Travi$ contacted her a few days later saying these exact words, “I’m about to change your life.” He played WondaGurl’s track to Jay-Z. Then she got the phone call that her beat was going to be on “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” And that track on the album was called, “Crown.” The track described by RookieMag.com, states that the producing phenom used “the snarling bass sample” of Reggae artist Sizzla’s “Solid as a Rock.” In a XXL.com interview, WondaGurl explains how “Crown” was crafted: “I took it and I cut it up and I put it in the software FL Studio and I started building around it, just adding 808s and the more I built, I knew what I wanted.” Initially the track was made for Travi$ Scott or Pusha T to use but Jay-Z liked it. And the rest was history.
“Crown” is considered one of the best tracks on the album. This makes WondaGurl, according to HollywoodReporter.com, one of the youngest female producers to have a credit on platinum selling hip-hop album. Pretty cool huh? Since her success with “Crown,” WondaGirl has been a busy young lady. She has worked on beats for fellow Canadian Drake on his September 2013 release for “Nothing is the Same”. She is also slated to work with Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, her favorite producer Timbaland, and Keri Hilson. She is also behind the beat on Travi$ Scott’s track “Uptown.”
So How does WondaGurl make those super dope beats? WondaGurl explains in TheFader.com interview,
“I made my first beats on this really small Casio keyboard. There was these little tiny circle drum pads, these turbo drums on it, so I’d just make drum sounds and loops. It was kind of weird how it popped up and I just started. My mom was surprised, because when I was smaller I didn’t like music and I always went away when someone was playing music loud.”
So this talented lady transition from making beats on a Casio keyboard to now crafting them on professional production equipment. Pretty impressive.
Here are some facts about WondaGirl:
#1: She doesn’t always make bangers. She says in TheFader.com interview, “I started off making like, techno. Then I went on to house, R&B and hip-hop. Now I try to mix everything into one. Or I try to do something that no one else is doing. Or I do something that someone else is doing and do it 100 times better. That’s it.”
#2: Not only she started making beats when she was 9, but she also liked fixing computers. I am taking that she still likes to fix computers.
#3: Her beat making was self-taught.
#4: The software that WondaGurl used to craft her beats were Mixcraft and then FL Studio.
#5: Mainly WondaGurl keeps to herself. She is active on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and SoundCloud.
#6: She loves Bollywood music.
#7:Another favorite producer of hers is Ryan Leslie.
#8: She wants to take piano lessons to help her beats be better and more melodic.
#9: In 2010, she entered in the “Battle of the Beatmakers” competition. She almost wasn’t able to compete because she was only 14 years old at the time. The age limit was changed from 19 and up to all ages. She didn’t win that year (made it to the quarterfinals).
Despite the fact that WondaGurl is making a name for herself in the producer world, she is still in high school. She is the 11th grade. Education is still a top priority. Her mom, Jozie Oshunrinde makes sure that studies come first. WondaGurl states in OkayAfrica.com, “I just make sure I get my credits cause I know if I don’t, my mother will not be okay with that at all, and possibly take all my music stuff away.” Even though she may create a little bit of mass hysteria in high school, WondaGurl still stays focused. Making sure that she gets her studies in.
WondaGurl’s talents have gotten her many fans including actor Jonah Hill, fellow Canadian beat maker Matthew “Boi-1da” Samuels (she met at the first time she entered the “Battle of the Beatmakers” in 2010), R&B singer Jill Scott, and many others. Ms. Scott gave WondaGurl some good advice while she met her a NAACP brunch. “She told me that I needed to stand up for myself as a woman in the industry,” she shared in a HollywoodReport.com interview.
The 16 year-old futher explains:
“I notice that a lot of people will go on my Twitter and say, ‘Wow I really respect her because she is a female.’ Before all of the beat battle stuff I thought there were a lot of female producers. Now that I am in the industry, I see that there are none. It would be great to see more females in the game. You are never too young to just do it.”
Not only she is extremely talented and smart individual but also full of wisdom.
WondaGurl is a true role model for young girls as well as anyone who wants to still pursue their dreams. Her love of crafting dope beats makes her music reach the masses. Transcending age, race or gender. The music speaks for itself. After she graduates from high school, WondaGurl wants to attend college and get her degree at some point. But she will continually perfect her craft and be the awesome wonder that she is. An awesome producer.
If you want to hear some of WondaGurl’s music check out her SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/wondagurlbeats
Also check out her website: http://wondagurl.com/ where she has all her links to her Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages.
Stay Classy, Homies ^_^.
Beat Construction: WondaGurl (October 2, 2013) http://www.thefader.com/2013/10/02/wondagurl-interview/
Meet WondaGirl, The 16 Year-Old Producer Behind Travi$ Scott’s “Uptown” (June 5, 2013) http://www.complex.com/music/2013/06/wondagurl-producer-travis-scott-uptown
16 Year-Old Ebony Oshunrinde aka WondGirl Crafts Beats for Jay-Z (July 9,2013) http://www.okayafrica.com/2013/07/09/jay-z-magna-carta-holy-grail-wondagurl/
Saturday Links: WondaGirl the Wonder Girl Edition (July 6, 2013) http://rookiemag.com/2013/07/saturday-links-40/
Sixteen-Year-Old Producer, WondaGirl Explains, Crafting Jay-Z’s “Crown” (July 6, 2013) http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2013/07/16-year-old-producer-wondagurl-explains-crafting-jay-zs-crown/
16 Year-Old ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ Producer ‘Wondagirl’ Now Working on Beats for Drake (August 13, 2013) – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/earshot/16-year-old-magna-carta-604250