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Onyx is one of the hottest traditional R&B groups in America today. To me they represent the best of the best!


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Thanks for the spotlight Crystal! Wow, you did a great job. Maybe we can feature them in the Magazine too.

Thanks for Highlighting our group. We appreciate it. The following is an interview with Wendell of Onyx1 conducting by the Soul Treasures.

Interview with Onyx1/Wendell Basey...
- Could you briefly tell us about your background?
Suffice it to say that we have been around for awhile. We were raised in the San Francisco Bay Area specifically Oakland and Alameda California. We grew up singing in our School and Church Choirs. We all began singing in quartets while we were teenagers in Junior High School. Malvin sang in the group Morry Williams and the Kids and they had a national hit titled 'Are You My GirlFriend'. The Basey brothers sang with a number of groups in California none with any recording history. The Basey subsequently were the founding members of the Natural Four and after that started the singing group with Malvin "Onyx".

- What did you grow up listening to?
We all were influenced during our teenage years by groups like the Spaniels, Moonglows and later the Temptations and Whispers. We also loved the sound of Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind, and Fire.

- When did you start singing? And at that time, who had been your biggest inspiration in music?
As stated in response to question 1 we began singing in Junior High School. At that time the Spaniels and Moonglows were who we tried to emulate.

- Could you tell us a little bit about the Onyx? Like, when was the group formed, and who were the original members?
The group Onyx was formed in 1972 with the members being Aaron and Wendell Basey, Malvin Scott, and Ronald Busby. Ronald left the group to pursue other interest and was replaced by Cornelieus Weekly.

- How did you get hooked up with Yew Records?
Marty Dahl, who wrote and produced several of our sessions, made the contact with Yew Records through people he worked with in the record business. Yew had previous success with the record "In a Moment" by the Intrigues.

- Why did you established your own label Nia records?
We were looking to get our own identity as a business. We were attempting to keep the majority of the ownership of musical property in house. We searched for a name in the swahelli language and the word NIA meant purpose.

- Please tell us a little bit about Marty Dahl.
We actually met Marty while he was playing piano in a practice room one night at Cal State Hayward University. He was a musician with his own group, playing drums, keyboards and singing. He was also doing promotion work for various record companies. He has continued writing and recording over the years.

- Moving up to date, why did you change the group's name to Onyx 1?
Because there was a RAP Group that went by the name Onyx, during the period that we had left the music business, we felt we had to change the name. We opted to go by Onyx1 since we were the first group called Onyx.

- Your first album 'Right Now' was released last year. Could you tell us a little bit about the album?
Like, what was the road like to get there, and how about your impressions about it?
The Album "Right Now" contains music that is a cross between the sounds of the Temptations and Whispers with an Ole School flavor. It is an album primarily about love in its many facets. We believe the CD is very good because of the high quality musicians who performed on each track. In some cases we waited to get, who we felt, were the right arrangers and/or producers. As a result it took over a year to make the CD but in the end it was a labor of love.

- How has the response been so far?
We have had a good response particularly in Europe where the CD was number one on the Solar Radio Chart for two weeks and most of our sales have been from Europe. We find it very difficult to get airplay here in the United States since most music is either Hip-Hop or Old Classics. There seems to be little room for new material like ours here in the USA.

- How about your impressions about the experience working with Terrence Forsythe?
We can only say very positive things Terrence Forsythe. He is an extremely talented artist. He brought out the best of our musical talent in the studio. He arranged all the vocal backgrounds for each song. His soulful lead rendition of each song with out question is the heart of the album.

- What really drives you or motivates you to continue to play music?
We love music. There is nothing else that needs to be said.

- What is music for you?
Music is a means of expressions. It reflects what is good in the world. It expresses all the emotions whether sad, happy, good or bad.

- Would you like to say something to your fans?
We want our fans to request our music to be played on their radio stations and to continue to support our music by purchasing our CD. Without continued record sales we will be unable to continue to make music.
Well, I for one am playing the music of Onyx 1 on a radio show that I produce at Lake County Community Radio, KPFZ 88.1 fm in Northern Cali called In The Free Zone. Response has been very good. We've got some young folks hankerin' for that Old School Flavor. When Onyx goes on tour, which I'm told is in the planning stages now, I expect them to blow up and stand next to the Whispers where they belong!

T. Watts


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_________________________ PHIL POLING



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