On Sunset 20N with OKENYO and FLEX MAMI

 In its inaugural year, Sunset 20N celebrates music, food and culture in Sydney’s spectacular Barangaroo Reserve over twelve spectacular sunsets throughout February.  We sat down and had a chat with OKENYO and FLEX MAMI ahead of their sets in this festival tomorrow evening.

So great to see you both on the inaugural Sunset 20N line up amongst some equally fabulous acts throughout Feb. What opportunities do you think curated events like this provide for Sydney’s live music scene?

FLEX MAMI: It provides much needed visibility for the multitude of talent that Sydney has to offer. We’re at a point where the city has to start nurturing their creatives through opportunities like this, to avoid all our – for lack of a better phrase – best people from sailing ship.

OKENYO: Events like this allow people who wouldn’t otherwise be programmed in main stage festivals. A lot of the time POC (People of Colour) and women don’t get programmed and especially if you’re a new artist it can be super hard to be seen. Sunset 20 sets the bar and I am so happy to be part of it.

The  lineup for Sunset 20N is pretty incredible— what acts have been a highlight for you and what are you still looking forward to?

OKENYO: I’ve known Wallace for a long time and have watched her go from doing cover gigs (gobsmacking covers) to writing her own stuff and soaring into a whole new plane. Also of course I love Flex Mami cause I mean, duh. Always. Not many DJ’s know how to keep it fresh, on time, on point and popping ALL the time.

FLEX MAMI: Stahp it! I’d have to agree, (the bit about Wallace) She’s an extremely gifted musician who’s managed to capture the essence of nostalgic jazz in a very modern format. OKENYO is a sensational performer with an unmatched presence and is definitely not one to miss– and I’m not just saying that

Compliments all round, love the mutual support. You’re both very busy women, with a lot on your plates (See what I did there? I did) OKENYO, you recently released the single ISO off of your forthcoming EP, while rehearsing Antony and Cleopatra with Bell Shakespeare. What’s it like balancing life as an actor and a musician? How do they feed into each other?

OKENYO: Ha! It works really well for me working concurrently in different disciplines and expanding my artistry. Music and acting are at the same time completely different and kind of the same. It’s definitely fed into my confidence as a performer and opened up new possibilities and ways to perform. I love fluctuating between the two.

FLEX, you’ve been racking up frequent flyer points, sharing your wisdom on panels, giving us the hottest takes with MTV and squeezing in some incredible support acts for SZA AND Kaytranada—let’s not forget the sweet new merch you’ve just gifted us with, and it’s only February. What’s your go-to self care routine that helps you live your best life in the healthiest way possible?

FLEX: My biggest tip is to never forget your purpose. While it’s always fantastic to be at the forefront of every fantastic opportunity, it’s far too easy to become disillusioned and lose sight of your goal. Life has a way of dragging you left and right, when you know you should be going straight … and it’s often at the expense of things that matter most to you wellbeing i.e. mental health, relationships, self esteem. If you remember WHY you’re working so hard, then you’ll also remember WHY you need to be in tip top shape to continue doing what you do best. Look after yourself – there’s only one of you.

You two are #goals–What’s up next? What should the people know about?

OKENYO: Like you said, I’m about to open Antony and Cleopatra for Bell Shakespeare at The Sydney Opera House (SOH), doing a Haiku Hands Block Party for the All About Women fest at SOH. I also have a new EP coming out around May with a cute lil tour with a revamped live set up (don’t worry you’ll still get your all female goodness) I’m really looking forward to sharing this EP with y’all.

FLEX MAMI: An insane amount of DJ gigs, as always. Here are the next few!

George Maple Sydney Support – 22 Feb

DJing for Miss Blanks @ Secret Garden – 23 Feb *SOLD OUT*

Time Out Bar Awards Sydney – 25 Feb

Time Out Bar Awards Melbourne – 26 Feb

House of Discovery 8-10 March

UTS Summer Fest – 9 Mar