Highsnobiety

You read that right, it's Onda (no relation to DONDA) leading the creative charge. ⁠ ⁠ You've probably seen some of Onda's impressive work without knowing. Even if not, he's off to a great start: his first-ever music video — the visual for Pusha T's "Diet Coke" — is already nominated for a VMA.

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⁠ If you're wondering where the name came from, let me reiterate that it has nothing to do with DONDA or anything Ye-related.

Simply put, Onda believes names are integral to success so at a young age, he decided to replace his birth name with a new title.

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Onda's favorite sample of all time is Cassiano's "Onda," which appears in NxWorries' "Link Up" and a few other tracks.

"Onda" also just happens to mean "motion of water," adding another level of depth to Onda's new moniker.

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⁠ After meeting Kanye West through Diddy, Ye was so impressed by Onda's work and name that he insisted on mentoring the young creative.

Ye even once told Onda, "I'm Pai Mei, and you're Beatrix," in reference to Uma Wang's mentor in Kill Bill.

⁠ Onda came from humble beginnings, born and raised in low-incoming housing in Miami. Eventually, he made it to college and studied business.

But even that had its ups and downs: he flunked out at first, but returned and made dean's list, eventually graduating with honors. ⁠ ⁠ Afterwards, Onda continued his education by pursuing a master's at USC film school. He was quickly told not to waste his money by a teacher, however, and was encouraged to instead begin pursue his directorial dreams immediately.

From one inspiring mentor to another, everything's coming up Onda.

How’d you get your start?

Onda: I started off editing videos for Will Smith’s production company and then I was recruited to work on Diddy’s team.

It wasn’t until this party where Ye pulled up and he was like, “Bring me that photographer. I need him."

How was working with ‘Ye on Diet Coke?

"Diet Coke" was such a cool video because it was probably the first time Ye has been that happy in a video since, like, "Otis."

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Where did you learn your trade and hone in your sense of style?

I had to rely on myself to learn things. YouTube University! You can find everything. But I also watched a bunch of movies to find my style."

What do you say to those that reach out to you about breaking into the industry as a creative?

The question is, "How do you stand out? How are you are you different?"

I push any creative that DMs me to either move to gain a new perspective or do a bit of everything to see what you actually like.

There are a million people doing this shit. A lot of people think they want to direct until they're on set with 100 people and they shit the bed.

It’s about being prepared.

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