What’s up Power Nation, today we’re going to be talking about the history behind my music, filmmaking and creative arts production company One Blood Hidden Image Entertainment Group Pty Ltd. OBHI formed in 2005 when me and four other rapper friends we wanted to make a rap group. I was buzzing off the release of my single at the time Homeboyz, and I also just did an underground LP called Untouchables. If it wasn’t for Homeboyz Mau Power/OBHI wouldn’t exist. When I was based in Brisbane I joined my first group named Poverty Ass Production Crew and through that learned how to make a home studio. Using that experience I then built a home studio in Horn Island. In the first week as a group we produced four demos and within three weeks we finished our first mixtape.
During the Homeboyz era we were based in Horn Island which had no infrastructure. Even though we were constituents of Thursday Island a lot of the focus was on developing the infrastructure of other Islands and not Horn Island. I’d be playing with my new Charles Barkley Nikes in dust. So a group of us, we built our own basketball court out of plywood and planks and made our own playground. There were 50-100 kids there every afternoon, and we had a lot of life experiences there. We were able to create something that was our own and allowed the community and family organisations to start advocating to the government entities to invest in infrastructure for the youth because of our basketball court. At that point in time I learned something that I carry to this day, a do it yourself mentality. We didn’t have anything, and we built everything with whatever resources we had, and we carry this philosophy to this day with OBHI.
Once we had all the recordings, I then had to press about 500 CDs and stomp labels on them by hand. I did it all in-house by buying a printer and burner, then we started selling our CDs on the streets. This is how Torres Strait communities first started to hear about our music. We were literally walking up and down the street selling our CDs. That was the start of the group. From 2005-2009 we had produced four mixtape albums, and I produced three other solo mixtape projects for a total of seven projects.
After that the band members started travelling apart and our careers have taken us on different journeys in life. From 2009-2012 I was focusing more on solo recordings and solo performances. At the beginning of 2012 I started recording my debut solo album The Show Will Go On. We have also been touring since it dropped in 2014. Being an independent artist and sole trader, I knew I had to build a company mainframe around the music recordings and film production at that time, so I built a company and called it One Blood Hidden Image Entertainment Group in honour of what the rap group represented at that time. It was the voice of Torres Strait Islander people.
After The Show Will Go On came out the company was built and structured to support the artist. From 2012-16 I had produced fourteen film projects for various broadcasters including NITV, SBS and ABC. OBHI is currently an audio and film production and distribution label for the creative arts. After the successful release and tour of the first album The Show Will Go On, including singles such as Island Home and Freedom, in 2016 we started working on the upcoming second album which we will be releasing mid-2019.
Under OBHI I have produced work with Joey Tapau whose album Peace, Love and Respect was released in 2016 which is available here. I have also worked on a compilation called the My Island Home project which is a compilation of 19 different unknown and emerging community artists from the Torres Strait region coming together to perform their own songs.
The first film we ever produced was a music video for my song My Blood My People. That was followed by a series of short 15-minute documentaries for an NITV initiative called Our Stories. That was my introduction to the Australian film industry. Following the success of making short films for NITV I was invited to participate in the Screen Australia Indigenous Producers Initiative which led to me being immersed in the industry, as well as allowing me to build a network in television, film and various screen agencies that I have to this day. Following that I had the opportunity as OBHI to work with a very successful production company Wild Bear Entertainment to produce a half hour documentary for one of the NITV/SBS Screenworks series called Elements. It started in 2017 and completed in 2018 and is where I met director Sio Tusa who I have continued to work with on projects such as the music videos for my upcoming album (who you can read more about here).
In the start the reason I built OBHI as a company was simply because no other business wanted to work with artists in very remote regional areas as it was perceived as too high risk. To create an opportunity for myself I needed to build my own company and pathways. Understanding and knowing how hard it is to make an impact or career from a very remote region is at the heart of the business, which is why in 2019 and moving forwards we are passionately working in these areas where there are limited opportunities and trying to create our own industry particularly in rural communities and regions. OBHI as an entity is now looking to build a footprint within the creative arts industry in Far North Queensland with the vision and mission to create more opportunities in employment and in putting on new creative talent.
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