Take a Walk with Vocalist 1-O.A.K…

Brandon “1-O.A.K.” McFarland is an Oakland kid; a young man who has been influenced by the Oakland players and the church prayers.

R&B vocalist isn’t exactly the title I’d attribute to the 26 year-old cool kid of the Honor Roll crew. Although he is the singer in the squad, his act differs from that of your father’s Motown stars. He is the culmination of elements of Q-Tip’s thought process, Stevie Wonder’s ear, and Too $hort’s pimp limp — 1-O.A.K is an R&B singer; only for lack of a better term.

1-O.A.K. & Cool Hand kick it lakeside ... photo by OGpenn.
1-O.A.K. & Cool Hand kick it lakeside … photo by OGpenn.

He is an asset to the new generation of Oakland talent; a flock of lyricists with few vocalist. From a town known for it’s singers.  When asked who his influences are– he immediately said soul singer Raphael Saadiq was at the top of his list. When asked what music has influence his music- he stated that the British sound has heavily influenced his flair. When asked who writes his songs- he makes it know that is a collaborative effort of his life experiences, his Honor Roll crew and even his mom has input on his lyrics.

His first project is eclectic, to say the least. He touches on Brazilian Jazz, funk, and even spits something that sounds like a rap on one track. He references the church as his starting point on the drums, which served as a foundation in mastering the art of his production. And when it boils down to it: 1-O.A.K.’s strongest point are his soulful vocals. The “feel good” music is good. And the funk is a must, especially dealing with the East Bay. But nothing hits like the soul tracks.

When listening to his album, I imagine a young man who stayed after services to play the piano- a smooth melodic tune- one that sounds like Stevie Wonder is in the room. And when the drums kick in, the words come out- and… well, the words wouldn’t be suitable for church… But that’s 1-O.A.K : influenced by the church’s prayers and the Oakland players.

He says that this album is the process of going through a relationship. I understand.

This is what 1-O.A.K.’s first project sounds like :