Catching up with 2022 Emergent Artist Andre Louis (Onj)

A portrait photograph of a man with short black hair wearing black headphone and a burgundy and white checked shirt sitting down.

Let’s catch up with another talented Drake Music Emergent 2022 Artist, Andre Louis. Andre (AKA Onj) is a versatile musician from London. Gigging and composing many styles of music from drum and bass to jazz, he has been at the forefront of helping to make Native Instruments products more accessible to those with a visual impairment.  

We’re so excited to dive into Andre’s creative journey! From teaching blind students music production skills, to exciting upcoming releases. You can come and see Andre live at the upcoming Drake Music event as he delivers a presentation on Ableton Note. Join us as we discover Andre’s unique perspective on music and his valuable advice for fellow artists. 

Andre bought a Zoom F6 field recorder using his bursary. Unfortunately, he experienced significant delays in receiving his new kit.  

What have you been up to since you received your Drake Music emergent bursary?  

Well, despite my long-time issues with getting the bulk of the equipment I wanted, I simply haven’t been anywhere exciting enough to take it out for a spin, over half a year later. This makes me sad. I’m just waiting for that special moment I can take my Zoom F6 out of the house to go and record some amazing sonic goodness, whatever that might be. 

I know the right time will come and I’m excited for that moment. It’s just one of those situations where perhaps you’re waiting to cross a road and 15 busses are coming all at once. You finally cross and get to the bus stop, but of course all the busses have already gone, so you’re stuck waiting for the right number to come your way. 

Have you got any advice for other artists? (or specifically Disabled artists?) 

It’s corny, it’s cliché, but yes. Follow your dreams, your hopes, your thoughts, your ideas and ideals, even if they may perhaps seem insurmountable at this very moment. 

If you can’t do so on your own, get someone you care about and who cares about you, to help you achieve your goals. Merely thinking about them isn’t enough. You need to make them happen to the best of your ability. 

There’s sometimes a stigma with being disabled, where we don’t like asking for help, or we think we’ll be a burden on whoever we ask. If we don’t ask, we’ll never know, so it’s better to pose the question and find out, rather than have regrets for the rest of your life. 

Can you share any top tips / creative wisdom with us? 

Hmm, I think I accidentally jumped the queue and covered some of that in the previous answer, but I believe that you have to be proactive. I wanted to start teaching blind students how to use Logic. I had nothing but word-of-mouth, my YouTube channel with a handful of tutorials and just a willingness to pass on what I knew. I made it happen. It is, and has been, one of *the* most rewarding things I have ever done. 

Not only am I teaching, I’m being taught. Not only am I giving people the tools to learn, but I’m learning on-the-job too, which is utterly fascinating. This is not something I thought I had the fortitude to do under any circumstances, but one day I wanted to try it, so I did. I have never looked back. Life has a habit of behaving in strange ways sometimes, and they can surprise you. Roll with it when you can and say ‘Nope, not happening’ when you can’t. 

Have you got anything coming up you’d like to shout about?

A few tracks are likely to release but on a schedule I’m not 100% sure about, under my stage name ‘Onj’, which you can find on Spotify, Apple Music and my website. This is with Bruk Rogers, a producer friend of mine who’s brilliant to work with. 

I’m also presenting at an event on Wednesday 26th July for Drake Music, which seems fitting. I’ll be discussing an iOS music-making app called Ableton Note which I think is one of the greatest and most joyful things I’ve used in a long while to make music on-the-go. 

Huge thank you to Andre for chatting to us, we can’t wait to hear the new releases! Don’t forget to check out details of the public DM Lab event on Wednesday 26th July, which Andre will be presenting at. 

Find out more and follow Andre on his socials here: