Country-Americana act O.N.E. The Duo has signed to Visionary Media Group, the nascent Nashville media and technology company founded earlier this year. The mother-daughter duo, consisting of Tekitha and Prana Supreme Diggs, has been recording and co-writing in Nashville since 2015, with plans to release a debut single in late summer, and the two have already secured a TV placement for another track, which will be heard in the first episode of Season 2 of Hulu’s “An American Saga.”
Yet the group’s background is notably different from those of your average Music City aspirants: Tekitha was once the in-house studio vocalist for the Wu-Tang Clan, appearing on the group’s multiplatinum 1997 album “Wu-Tang Forever,” and Diggs is the daughter of Wu producer/founder and film director the RZA.
The roots of O.N.E. can be traced back to Diggs’ childhood, when she pitched the idea of making music with her mother after an all-night jam session at their home, and the two gradually began writing songs together. They eventually alighted from L.A. to Nashville in an attempt to, as Tekitha puts it, “get some distance from the Wu-Tang stuff” as they developed their sound. From there, they began working with co-writers Rebecca Lynn Howard and Elisha Hoffman.
For both, the traditional Nashville process of co-writing was a novel one. “This is my first professional foray into music, but growing up and seeing how my parents made music, I always assumed it was a very solo process to write songs,” Diggs says. “So doing a lot of co-writes and collaborations is great. It’s a balance of us being outsiders in terms of the country realm, and so we’re coming with our own approach to it, and then them coming with their knowledge of how a traditional country song looks, and then meshing those together so it creates something new.”
Judging by a listen to upcoming single “Love Will Break ‘Em Down,” there’s no shortage of Nashville in the duo’s sound, which also incorporates heavy doses of ‘70s folk rock and classic soul, and is grounded in the sort of close harmony singing that has distinguished so many of country’s family affair acts.
Tekitha is keen to stress, however, that despite her Shaolin-to-Nashville trajectory, there was nothing contrived or strategic about her and her daughter’s move into country. “Prana and I did not set out to make country music,” she says. “It wasn’t until we came to Nashville and started meeting executives, we’d be singing a cappella or with guitar accompaniment, and I would say, ‘I guess this is folk music,’ and they were like, ‘no, this is country, this is Americana, that’s what this is.’
“And getting back to the roots of country music, there is a strong tie to Black people and Black music where country is concerned, and we just kind of got sifted out a bit. So I think it’s something that must be in our DNA somewhere, because we are literally not trying [to make country], we’re just creating as it happens naturally for us.”