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Onliest is a New York City based rock/soul band created and fronted by twins Tiffany "Zelle" James and Ganessa "Dez" James. Onliest explodes onstage: their irresistible earnest delivery, harmonies, and lyrics implore you to listen and be moved. Zelle and Dez explore their own cultural diversity and eclectic musical tastes in their songwriting, drawing on urban, Caribbean, Latin, folk and jazz influences.

Bitten by the musical bug early on in youth, both Zelle and Dez played in their school bands and orchestras. By the time they reached high school, the twins had developed a musical authority which allowed them to co-found a popular a cappella singing group called Illusion. As part of this group, Zelle and Dez created arrangements and performed in various school productions. Eventually, Illusion’s notoriety was such that they were tapped to play the role of the Greek chorus in the theatrical production of 'The Song of Jacob Zulu'. While working on the play, Illusion met and performed with the incomparable Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Self taught singers, Zelle and Dez followed what they felt to be a natural progression and began to try their hands at various instruments. Zelle gravitated towards guitar while Dez gravitated towards bass. It was during this time that Onliest came into being. Says Dez, "We had a vision of a project with a heavy focus on harmonic vocals, but we also wanted a hard hitting rhythm section. Basically, an a cappella group attached to a bad-ass band, with Zelle and myself on both sides of the equation."

As twins, Zelle and Dez already had a remarkable vocal blend, which they flaunted at various Brooklyn open mics, including the erstwhile poetry/music renaissance known as the Tea Party. Seeking to expand, Dez invited Novella Bailey and Jasmine Lee (from their Wesleyan University a cappella days) to join the group on vocals. For their very first show, Onliest worked with Swiss Kriss on drums (currently on tour with John legend), who tuned right into the ethnic/hip hop fusion sound the band was seeking. Audiences were spellbound.

Since then the members of Onliest have rotated and changed, though Zelle and Dez remain constant. Presently featured are: Jibrail Nor [drums], Albert Amigo [bass], and Novella Bailey [vocals]. Continually striving to become better musicians and songwriters, the twins actively participate in several bands on the local scene in addition to Onliest. "I'm in love with the independent music scene," says Zelle. "So much great music is being generated just below the radar." Zelle and Dez continue to listen, play, and learn.

Onliest has performed at various NYC venues, including SOB's, Continental, Knitting Factory, Triad, and the Nuyorican Poet's Café. Much like their music, Onliest is constantly evolving. The sound is a blend of sweet sultry vocals, and lyrics that focus on personal experience, introspection, and activism. Shifting swiftly from a cappella, to acoustic, to full band grooves, Onliest seeks to create a unique experience out of each performance, with the idea that spontaneity generates honesty, and honesty moves masses. In short, Onliest is not to be missed.

They are currently at work on their first CD, to be released in winter 2005.