A couple days ago, Tray Chaney hit me up to check out one of the artists he works with, Oogie Leo. The DC native's work is, as seen below, a mix of smooth lyrics with a splash of "R&B gangsta." After I checked out the tracks and saw that he and Tray had similarities in their work, I figured that I should try to reach out and get some more info, get into the mindset of Oogie Leo. The following is a Q&A with Oogie, where he details his origins (including his work with the go-go band HDB [High Degree Band] and how he started earning his acting chops).
Speed on the Beat: Can you give me the origins of Oogie Leo?
Oogie Leo: I started from singing in a church choir at Ebenezer Church, which led me to playing in a Go-Go Band called High Degree Band. I did that for six-to-eight years, which lead me to begin my journey into recording in a studio. Thanks to man Jones and DeUce Double.
SOTB: So, outside of High Degree and your solo stuff, how long have you been doing music?
OL: All my life
SOTB: How’d you link up with Tray [Chaney]?
OL: We grew up together. We met when we were around six to eight years old.
SOTB: If you had to describe your style in at least three words, what would they be?
OL: Smooth. Laid-back. R&B Gangsta.
SOTB: Did you expect “She Geeked” to get as much buzz as it has so far?
OL: Yes and no. No because I'm just getting on da scene, but I know I do good music. And by adding Tray Chaney on da track, [I knew] it would be a huge success.
SOTB: Can you tell me a bit more about Audio Love, the project “She Geeked” appears on?
OL: This project is my first project I have recorded. I’ve done work with several other artists from the DMV. It was a matter of time for me to drop [my own project]. Plus, everybody kinda wants me to do a solo project. So, I gave the people what they wanted.
SOTB: How’d the collabo with DeUce Double come about?
OL: Me and DeUce are involved in educational DVDs for kids over at www.edubasics.com. That's how we met. Also, I have a body of work with Royal District, which is the music company that got started by E One Letter, Kam Jones and DeUce Double that never got put out. So, DeUce put out the music on his second mixtape, Part DeUce, that's hosted by DJ Wats, Soulja Boy’s DJ. It has seen over 100,000 views on the Spinrilla website.
SOTB: Do you have any additional collabs with him coming up?
OL: Yes, we’ve talked about it (Laughs). Stay tuned.
SOTB: Speaking on collabs, who are some artists you’d love to work with?
OL: I would love to work with Shorty from Rare Essence, Tank, Terrence Cunningham, [more collaborations with] Tray Chaney, Wale, Chris Brown, Drake and Rick Ross.
SOTB: I also see you’ve done some acting. How’d that come about? Was it a natural progression, was it to show diversity, or was it just something you thought was fun and said “why not?”
OG: Well, on that, I’ve gotta give thanks to Tray Chaney. When we were kids he always told me [that] if he ever got on, he got me. Well years later, he jumped me out here with my first role in the movie Lorenzo and Monica, which he starred in and was directed by Frank Jackson Jr. After that role, we have done five indie films in the DMV. I did good, didn't embarrass him. So, his confidence grew with me handling more dialogue. So, my first real movie having a major role was 6 Hearts 1 Beat, starring Tray. Of course I played Jacobs, his best man, which was an easy roll because we have been friends for so long. It was also filmed in the DMV, since our model is “we bringing Hollywood to DC.”
SOTB: Do you have any projects on that end that are dropping soon?
OG: Yes I do. Everything's in the works, so stay tuned.
SOTB: Where can people reach out to you?
OG: On Facebook, you can find me at facebook.com/TorrenceHalljr. On Twitter, hit me up at @oogieleo. And my email is Torrence36@gmail.com
SOTB: Do you’ve any closing thoughts?
OG: If ya imagination ain't bringing you income, you not Living. #Leo