“All American Singer” Zephaniah OHora Hopes for Connection Through Music

For those who are just hearing of Zephaniah OHora for the first time, if the warble in his guitar and the slight lilt in his voice bring forth the assumption that the singer-songwriter hails from one particular musical metropolis in Tennessee or some other country music-fueled locality in the U.S., think again. Though OHora sings with the love of country music in his heart, he forged that passion on his own in the back rooms of Brooklyn, NY clubs. In OHora’s case, one could say his enthusiasm first sprouted not from growing up around the sounds and sights of country’s character but from one quintessentially New York City setting of record shops lined with bins, some holding well-loved country vinyl.

Fast forward to the present and OHora exudes the spirit of country’s unofficial motto – three chords and the truth – from a place of personal aspiration in his new single, “All American Singer.” This song comes off OHora’s forthcoming sophomore LP, Listening To The Music, due out August 28, 2020.

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Despite the fact that OHora’s latest unfolds with a melodically lighthearted demeanor – complete with some pristinely executed harmonica performance by none other than Mickey Raphael – the music’s fundamental inspiration encompasses a breadth of sentiments and current event topics that tend to give one much more pause.

“The inspiration for “All American Singer” came from my personal experience, my observations of events playing out in our society, and our collective struggle. There are many injustices and ongoing problems that people have good reason to be angry about. I took the opportunity to reflect on some of those issues through the writing of this song,” says OHora.

The song’s friendly jaunt of a tempo and the neatly resolving half and full cadence chords at the end of each verse insulate “All American Singer” with an overall feeling of control and balance, while the lyrics reflect a society that continues to undergo change of not necessarily good intention. It takes what seems like an easy listen and gives it an extra layer of unexpected compositional form thanks to that stylistic contrast.

They’re rolling out big plans today
passing laws to change what you can say
And at home we’re fighting in the streets
over politics and the way things used to be

There’s good in music that encourages active and reflective listening and OHora’s heart is coming from a good – if perhaps idealistic – place with this single. Hopefully one day, like “All American Singer” suggests, a new reality of connection, understanding and shared joy can arise through a positive catalyst like music.

“I truly believe that music is a great equalizer in our society and brings people from all backgrounds and walks together,” says OHora. “And that’s something I want to continue to be a part of.”

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