By JORJA HETA.
Brooke and Starce Oneill, AKA The Oneill Twins, are taking the entertainment industry by storm. Their new single Boss As Chick brings a fresh flavour to urban hip hop.
With a history of entertaining as dancers in The Royal Family, working with Jennifer Lopez, and acting in the New Zealand film Born To Dance, Brooke and Starce have a lot under their belts. Especially considering they are only 22 years old.
At the age of seven, the twins were first exposed to the art of dance when they attended a hip hop class in Manukau. From that moment, they never looked back.
Joining The Palace Dance Studio in 2012, they were taught by choreographer Parris Goebel how to refine their art and push their bodies to the limits. They also learnt how to really excel in their craft. “Work ethic is the main thing we learnt from The Palace,” says Brooke.
In 2012 The Palace went on to win gold at the World Hip Hop Champs in Las Vegas in the Mega Crew division with both girls being part of the experience. Brooke’s crew Sorority won a silver medal, while Starce’s crew Misfits also competed in Las Vegas.
From there came opportunity after opportunity. The duo performed alongside Jennifer Lopez in season 11 of American Idol, danced in her music video Goin’ (which has over 200 million views) and competed with ReQuest dance crew in San Diego at the Body Rock Competition, placing 1st.
These two modest girls – who used to play netball on Browns Road in Manurewa, and do kapa haka and Cook Island dance – have achieved a lot.
In 2015, the twins auditioned to be the opening acts for Ciara in Melbourne. They were up against 100 other candidates, with only two positions available, and the girls were “hungry for the spots”. Both Brooke and Starce were selected to open for the American singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, record producer and fashion model.
This year the Oneill twins are heading in another direction and have signed with Sony Music.
This all came about at a barbecue, when friend Stan Walker encouraged the girls to perform. Later, Vince Harder, New Zealand recording artist and producer, asked the girls if they were interested in singing.
With the debut of Boss As Chick, the girls are excited to share their sound with Aotearoa. Starce describes their style as a hip hop feel that “makes people want to move” because “as artists we… want people to feel something more than just watching a video.”
“We want five year olds and sixty year olds to enjoy our music,” adds Brooke.
With such an upbeat dance anthem, it’s easy to want to groove to their hypnotic sound. It’s a feel-good song that shows the stage they are in their lives. Taking control of your career and being boss in what you do is a message they send in the hopes of empowering tomorrow’s women.
The music video, shot in Auckland, portrays a dance battle between the twins’ individual crews. It illustrates a rivalry but shows they are just as boss as each other. The song and video were inspired by recent events in the USA and worldwide, including the #blacklivesmatter movement, police violence and the American presidential campaign. Brooke says they hope to “raise awareness for our people. We need to be boss with what we do and believe in ourselves.”
Their advice to youth who want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry is to simply believe in yourself.
“Go for your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, no matter what status, where they’re from or who they, are because they don’t know what you can do, only you,” says Brooke.
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