First Listen: J.S. Ondara finds the "American Dream"

(February 24, 2019) Nairobi, Kenya born and Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter J.S. Ondara is clearly an artist on the rise, and he is now making his mark in America with his brand new Verve release, Tales of America.

 Ondara fell in love with Bob Dylan and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota when he was 20 to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. He began making his way in the local music scene, continually writing songs about what he saw, felt and experienced in a place far different from home. His debut album is an examination of the American Dream from an outsider’s perspective; an introspection on a universal matter.   

(February 24, 2019) Nairobi, Kenya born and Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter J.S. Ondara is clearly an artist on the rise, and he is now making his mark in America with his brand new Verve release, Tales of America.

 Ondara fell in love with Bob Dylan and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota when he was 20 to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. He began making his way in the local music scene, continually writing songs about what he saw, felt and experienced in a place far different from home. His debut album is an examination of the American Dream from an outsider’s perspective; an introspection on a universal matter.   

The completely acoustic album was produced by Grammy-nominated Mike Viola (Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis) and recorded at Boulevard Recording and East West Studios in Los Angeles. All lyrics were written by Ondara and the album features collaborations with artists including Andrew Bird, Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes and Joey Ryan of The Milk Carton Kids.

Of the album, Ondara explains, “When I came to America five years ago, all I wanted to do was to make a record. I had no leads, no knowledge of how to go about it, I couldn’t even play the guitar at the time. But I loved records so much and I had this dream that someday perhaps, I’d make one of my own. Many a times along the way, I was dealt with challenges that made me doubt my path, but I was too far from home to turn back, so I forged forward. The journey has been long but also short, tumultuous but also excitingThis record is a documentation of my time in America; a deliberation on the times and a search for wisdom and the American Dream. I hope you will all enjoy it as much as I do.”

For our latest First Listen, we’re featuring the first single from the album, “American Dream.” It is an acoustic album that recalls Tracy Chapman at her peak, but with a mild world music feel that gives the song gravitas as well as a groove. Check out “American Dream” below, and tell us what you think! 

 

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