Atlanta is a place where hip hop and black culture has thrived for decades. Home of hip hop royalty and Zonnique is the daughter of two of the biggest legends. Tameka “Tiny” Harris & Tip “T.I.” Harris-but don’t write her off as just the daughter of Grammy award-winning parents. She is a star in her own right. Currently on The Great Xscape Tour, Zonnique is taking this opportunity to show the world exactly who she is. No stranger to the spotlight she was a part of the musical group OMG Girlz and has starred on reality shows that include T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, Tiny & Toya and Growing Up Hip Hop.
It was a rainy Sunday as I arrive at The Pearl on High Street. I walked into the restaurant and spotted two women at a booth in the back of the restaurant. I walked up the table instantly recognizing Zonnique and introduced myself. She had her hair in a top knot and a completely natural face. Sitting across from her was her manager and they both invited me to sit with them in the booth. Zonnique asked me again what my name was and complimented my name which immediately put me more at ease (she’s just as talented as she is kind). After that we got to the interview which after a while felt more like a conversation than an interview.
FP: Describe what it was like working on your EP “Love Jones”
Zonnique: It was definitely a learning experience. I had to figure out a lot as far as how I wanted to sound and what I wanted to talk about. Making your first project is fun but nerve wrecking. When I first became solo-not immediately but soon after, I started working on music with people. I took a year before I actually put a project together. The songs I originally worked on, I sounded like a baby. Even when I was in the OMG Girlz I wasn’t confident in my voice. My voice wasn’t my favorite in the group.
FP: How long have you been a songwriter and what is that process like for you?
Zonnique: I have been trying to write songs since I was 8. My old diaries have fake songs that are really bad. I’ve been writing a lot more. Writing isn’t my strong point but I am continuing to work at it.
FP: What are the major differences between being in the OMG Girlz and now, as a solo act?
Zonnique: Performing is different. I have to get my wind up. I have to do all the singing and all the dancing. The crowd is always looking at me. I always have to be entertaining in some way. After the show it can be boring. Especially on this tour. I’m kind of the youngest and I miss having their company.
FP: Who are your major musical influences?
Zonnique: Definitely Missy Elliot, Timbaland and Aaliyah. Those three together. Brandy, Whitney Houston, Monica who is a legend, Erykah Badu, anything she does and John Mayer.
FP: Who are some artist you hope to work with in the future and your dream collaborations?
Zonnique: H.E.R, Bryson Tiller, Daniel Caesar, Kehlani, Dreezy, Rihanna and Drake. Those last two I know will come once I get a little bigger and my dream collaborations would be SZA, Jhene Aiko and Rihanna.
FP: Describe what it’s like growing up parents who are such big names in the industry?
Zonnique: It has a lot of perks. When I was younger I was able to meet celebrity crushes or my dad would call me with someone on the phone that I liked. As I have gotten older it definitely has its downfalls. People feel like they know you. There have been times when people have asked for pictures even when I’m not feeling up to it. They’ll tell me “you look cute girl” but for me, I just might not want to be posted on Instagram like that. The best advice my parents have given me is all talk is good-positive or negative. The negative doesn’t get to me anymore though. I think growing up my parents have gotten me to the point where I can’t even see the negative. None of that means anything to me.
FP: Describe what it’s like having been on several reality shows. Would you ever sign on to have your own show?
Zonnique: It’s fun and every show is different. My favorite has to be Family Hustle. Tiny & Toya was a learning experience because I didn’t have much experience with reality tv and now Growing Up Hip Hop is always interesting. I’m still getting the hang of it. We have a new season that’s about to air and hopefully we get picked up for another season. I would sign on to do my own show if anyone felt like following my life all day (laughs)
FP: What do you want to say to people who credit your success to who your parents are?
Zonnique: Maybe you should come to a show and you will see how talented I really am. People don’t check for the talent when they know you have parents in the industry. Check out that EP, it might make you like me a little more.
FP: Describe what it’s like touring and especially sharing that experience with your mom? Have you learned any tips from her on tour?
Zonnique: Touring is fun. We like to explore whatever city we are in. Before the show I do a meet and greet with my mom. My hair is what takes the longest because I wear a wig every night and before I walk on a stage we make a big circle and pray. I get nervous every night but having my mom on tour makes me comfortable. Watching her on stage inspires me to do more in my own performances. I learn a lot from watching her.
FP: Outside of your music, are there other business ventures that you want to pursue?
Zonnique: I want to be an entrepreneur. I want my own clothing line, bag line, perfume. I also want my own hair line, natural hair products. I want to model, be on covers, magazine spreads, billboards in Time Square- and not just for my music.
FP: In the next five years where you see yourself?
Zonnique: I see myself at every award show. I see myself walking on stage to get an award. Having my own lines-with a s. Tons of projects and music videos and modeling work.
Zonnique is paving her own lane and showing people that outside of being the daughter of two music legends, she is a force to be acknowledged in her own right. You can check Zonnique out as the opening act of The Great Xscape Tour and on Growing Up Hip Hop on WEtv and be sure to check out her EP Love Jones.