A breakthrough is traditionally defined as an act or instance of breaking through an obstacle. For an artist, a breakthrough is the moment they reach their wit's end but re-emerge as a true creative force. When they recognize their artistic growth and command full control of their vision. For singer-songwriter-producer extraordinaire Tonye that breakthrough comes in the form of his newly released EP "I Am Indie: 4_U". A pulsating and melodic collection of original songs, "I Am Indie: 4_U" presents Tonye as a born again artist. Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Tonye always had a greater purpose for his life. He grew up in a single parent household with his mother raising two children all while pursuing a nursing degree. She instilled in him a sense of strong family values, determination and responsibility. In 1999, his mother married a member of the US Navy and the family moved from Florida to travel the world. His experiences definitely inspired his love for fashion, international culture, theatre and music.
In 2000, Tonye attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington as an Acting and Musical Theatre Major. Following high school he was accepted to Columbia College in Chicago as a Musical Theatre major. During his time at Columbia, he began experimenting more with music. His experimental journey led him to write and produce two R&B albums, “A Story About Love” and “Life After Love”. In 2005, he met fellow Columbia student and aspiring artist (B)rentley Willis. The two bonded through their mutual love for music and Tonye served as co-writer and producer for (B)rentley's first two studio albums, "Brentley 101" and "Handwritten". The latter won Best R&B Album of the Year at the Independent Music Awards in 2009. "I Am Indie: 4_U" serves as part two of Tonye's "I Am Indie" series. The EP features four memorable songs that Tonye eloquently describes as theatrical pop. This unique genre combines his love of acting and music. Tonye's songs will tell stories and speak to people through the universal language of music. The singer will also push the boundaries visually by creating music videos that bring each story to life. Theatrical pop is an experimental art form that will showcase Tonye as a multifaceted artist. One example of his many talents is the music video for "Dance Dirty", a track on "I Am Indie: 4_U" where Tonye made his directorial debut. He stretched his artistic muscle by creating the storyline and meticulously planning each detail from clothing, lighting and camera angles. Other tracks on the EP include "Last Dance", "Alive" and "Dance Dirty (Club Mix)".
The radio ready "Last Dance" represents the swag side of Tonye. Over a bass heavy production, the singer beckons a beautiful lady to move her body in a commanding yet sexually inviting manner. The track is also laced with a guest verse from Chicago rapper D2G. "Dance Dirty" was featured on Tonye's previous EP "I Am Indie" but he offers a reworking of the beat throbbing track on this new collection. The club mix will keep people dancing filthy in the best possible way. The EP's standout track "Alive" is an unapologetic pop anthem that features soaring vocals and inspiring lyrics that will resonate with audiences worldwide. The track also serves as the singer's personal testimony. "This song is everything I am right now! I love everything about 'Alive' and what it can make me become." says Tonye adamantly. "I look forward to properly displaying my vision of being alive as an artist and motivator," he continues. Tonye experienced a breakthrough. His sometimes tumultuous journey led him to a place where he can create freely with no boundaries or restrictions. His new found confidence is evident in this latest body of work. "I feel like I have so many faces and characters I want to display. So many people think of me as only being the average R&B male singer. I say no to the stereotypes and do whatever I feel. People will either like it or they won't." In this moment, he truly is alive.