J.S. Ondara is a singer/songwriter from Kenya. Growing up he was introduced to musical greats like Radiohead, Nirvana, Death Cab For Cutie, Jeff Buckley, Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses, and Bob Dylan. His family couldn’t afford to buy Ondara a guitar so, instead, he focused on writing songs and poetry despite not having anything to play to. In fact, this is how Ondara learned English. He wanted to know the meaning behind the lyrics he was listening to. His example stands as a reminder that you can make your art despite your limitations. Simply begin.
“I heard all these songs and developed a kinship for a long time, and used them to study English because I wanted to understand what Cobain was saying, or [Radiohead’s] Thom Yorke or [Death Cab’s] Ben Gibbard,” he says. “I was curious about the language and the spirit and that spurred me to learn English, and I built my vocabulary listening to these songs.”