Born: May 2, 1964 Primary Instrument: Piano
At an early age Ovaciir caught the vibe. The vibe was a love of music. A passion for music, in all its styles and forms, and like a cosmic force it’s been guiding him through the universe ever since.
Born Frank Randall III, Ovaciir grew up in a tight-knit family on the shores of Thread Lake in Flint, Michigan. He taught himself how to play drums at the age of 5, studied piano at the age of 7, and by the age of 9 had added bass, electric guitar and keyboards to his talents. It was about that time OVA took an interest in jazz, soaking up everything from the virtuoso piano playing of Oscar Petersen, to the jazz-rap fusion of Roy Ayers and Herbie Hancock. “Trendsetters always go outside the boundaries,” says OVA about his legendary predecessors, “and that’s what I try to do too. Predictability is the enemy of creativity.”
OVA’s awakening to jazz was further enhanced by his father’s devotion to the craft, who for over 50 years has been a fixture in the Flint jazz scene. Watching his father’s band rehearse in their living room and observing his dad’s passion, focus, and desire had a deep impact on OVA’s approach to music and life. “He’s the real deal,” OVA says fondly. “Been married over 50 years, raised four kids, and he’s still playing. Commitment is everything to him, and it’s a quality he taught me early on.”
After graduating from high school OVA set out to see the world, so he enlisted in the Army. While stationed in Germany OVA continued to hone his musical skills by playing in various jazz-funk ensembles and touring alongside the S.O.S. Band and other acts. When he returned to the States, OVA continued his musical pursuits and soon caught the attention of Gene Perry, a Philadelphia based talent manager. With Perry, OVA produced and recorded his first two singles, Futuristic Girl and The Time Has Come. The two funk flavored tracks went into heavy rotation on Flint and Saginaw radio stations, but without national distribution the discs gradually died out and went out of print.
Hungry for a change of atmosphere and direction, OVA moved to Los Angeles and immersed himself in the local music scene. Playing keyboards for such R&B Jazz groups as Mystique, Beta Soul, and Asha, OVA quickly gained a reputation for being a dynamic performer as well as a talented songwriter. His ear for music led to him to produce and collaborate with an array of artists, producing tracks for the R&B Jazz singer India, an album for the rap group Dope Poets Regiment, and the rock infused rap single Cause Corruption for the movie soundtrack Animal Instincts 3, among others.
But now with OVACiiR, his first complete solo album in his enduring career, OVA has come creatively full circle. Alternating between cool & breezy instrumentals (Laxin’), and hot & funky grooves (Attitude), the album demonstrates OVA’s unbridled range by capturing the mood of jazz while infusing it with hip-hop flare. On Ride 2 Night and Mikafone, two tracks with a driving bass line and deep drum beat, OVA displays his wizardry as a producer and keyboardist by rendering the songs with such authenticity that you could swear it came from a four man band. Equally impressive is First Time For Everythang, a sultry song about a memorable female encounter that pulls you in, sits you down, and beckons you to ree-lax, showing OVA’s ability to be a romanticist while still jamming with power and finesse. Intermixed in this genre-bending set is the R&B flavored What’s The Reason Y and the smooth jazz duet Stay With Me, both of which reveal the depth, insight and passion that OVA lays bare on every track.
From his early days in Flint to the jazz scene of LA, OVA has and continues to evolve as a musical artist. His album OVACiiR, due in 2005, masterfully blends the spirit of jazz with the rhythms of soul and funk, resulting in a work that sheds labels while still shedding light on the artist. With the creation of his own label, Silent Warrior Productions, along with his focus on being a soloist, OVA is ready to take his career to the next level, and if talent and desire are any measure then the musical universe is about to get another star.