Meet WondaGurl, The 16-Year-Old Producer Behind Travi$ Scott's "Uptown"

Meet WondaGurl, The 16-Year-Old Producer Behind Travi$ Scott's "Uptown"Photo: Elliot Clancy-Osberg for Ellivision

On Travi$ Scott's Owl Pharaoh mixtape, he linked up with A$AP Ferg for the track "Uptown." The producer behind the beat, Ebony ‘WondaGurl’ Oshunrinde, is a 16-year-old producer and  high school student from Brampton, Ontario (a Toronto suburb).

WondaGurl left the 2012 Battle of The Beat Makers with a 1st place trophy—which led to encounters with Boi-1da, Hit-Boy, and most recently, Travi$ Scott. Female producers in the industry are far and few between, but Wondagurl is just getting started. We spoke with the up-and-coming artist about learning from Timbaland videos, working on "Uptown," and what's in her future.

Interview by Lauren Nostro (@LAURENcynthia)

How did you get started in production?
I started when I was 9-years-old. I was on my computer watching YouTube videos of Timbaland—he’s my favorite producer. 

 

When I saw those videos of Timbaland, I fell in love with what he does in making the instrumentals, and I wanted to do the same thing.

 

When I saw those videos of Timbaland, I fell in love with what he does in making the instrumentals, and I wanted to do the same thing. I started out making little beats on my keyboard, and then I went up to Magix Music Maker, then to Reason, and then FL Studio.

What led you to link up with Travi$ Scott for "Uptown?"
I met him in November in Los Angeles at Hit-Boy’s house. 

How did you link up with Hit-Boy?
I’ve been trying to get in touch with him for a while before that. I messaged all his people, and his photographer got back to me. He showed Hit-Boy my beats, Hit-Boy followed me on Twitter. When I went out to L.A. in November, I ended up at his house. We were just listening to beats, and I met a whole bunch of new people.

I sent beats to Hit-Boy’s guys, Audio Push. I said, “I want Travi$ Scott on that beat if you guys do something to it.” They sent the beat to Travi$, and Travi$ messaged me on Twitter the next day saying that he wants that beat.  

Before all of that, was Hit-Boy the first major artist that you had linked up with?
Boi-1da was, we met at Battle of The Beat Makers. I was very nervous [at the competition]. It was my second time going. I was running out of beats because my computer crashed the same day when I was trying to take beats off. I wanted to take 15 beats, and I only got to take 12.

I was the only female producer that year [at Battle of The Beat Makers]. But two years before, a female producer won.

Is that where WondaGurl comes from?
At the time, I was about to join the Battle of The Beat Makers. I really like Boi-1da as a producer. I couldn’t figure out a name for myself. My first name is Ebony, so adding ‘Ebony’ into my stage name really didn’t work out for me. So I took Boi-1da’s name and switched it around and put “gurl.”

When I was going on stage for the beat battle for the first time, he was on the judges panel. He actually said to me, “I like your name.” [Laughs.] It was pretty cool.

You mentioned Timbaland earlier, who are some of your other inspirations?
I really like Bollywood music. And Ryan Leslie, I watch his production videos, too. A whole bunch of electronic music, too. That inspires me—just the sound, it’s very cool.

 

I sent beats to Hit-Boy’s guys, Audio Push. I said, “I want Travi$ Scott on that beat if you guys do something to it.” They sent the beat to Travi$, and Travi$ messaged me on Twitter the next day saying that he wants that beat.

 

It seems like a lot is happening right now for you after "Uptown," but you're still in high school. How are you managing your time?
I’m not really working with anybody right now because of school. Right now it’s exam time, so I’m trying to get everything done before I start working with other people again.

Have a lot of people reached out to you after hearing the “Uptown” beat?
Yeah, a lot of people reached out to me on Twitter.

Who would you ideally want to be working for once exams are over?
Hit-Boy of course. Hopefully I get to meet Timbaland and work with him a little bit with him. I think he’s like the hardest guy to contact. I’ve been trying to contact him since I was 10. 

In terms of your sound, where do you want your production to go?
I’m testing out everything.

What's it like being a female in a male-dominated industry—and being the only female in the Battle of the Beat Makers last year?
I don’t know. It’s very easy. I haven’t really been through anything right now—yet.

This summer, what can we expect from WondaGurl?
Me and this producer, Francis GotHeat, that I work with, are planning on making a beat tape. We’re both collaborating on beats. I first met him at the beat battle. A year after, we ended up being in the same program called The Remix Project. Our beat tape should be coming out after this summer.  I also did one song with Rich Kidd and SonReal called "Money Money," it's been played on MuchMusic, and everything. I'm hoping to be on his new album.

Check out more of WondaGurl's beats on her Soundcloud.

RELATED: Mixtape: Travi$ Scott "Owl Pharaoh"

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