ONE The Duo could’ve taken the easy way into the music biz. The mother-daughter duo of Tekitha Washington and Prana Supreme Diggs was already hip-hop royalty – as in Prana’s father is RZA, while Washington (known professionally by only her first name) can be heard on a number of Wu-Tang Clan group and solo tracks across her 25-year career – and likely would’ve coasted into a secure space within the rap or R&B worlds pretty easily.
Instead, ONE (which stands for “Observant, Noetic, and Effervescent”) decided to delve into arguably the most difficult corner of the music realm they could enter: country.
As the only Black mother-daughter combination in the country – a genre which has often been challenging for women and minorities alike – the Nashville-based duo is carving their own way forward. But that wasn’t a distinction they sought out. For that matter, they weren’t even sure it was going to be a country project when the idea first popped up.
“ONE The Duo is not something that I created or even thought of. It’s her brainchild, ”Washington says, referring to her daughter. “She brought me into the conversation of what a great project it could be, and I was like, ‘Wait… You know, if you want to be in music, your dad could help you out.’ She had to sit me down like, ‘No, mom. That’s not what I said. What I want is to do a project with you. ‘ The music that we started making together came so organically and so natural that we didn’t even know what it was called. Is it country? Is it Americana? What is it? But it brought this new vibrancy to my love and appreciation for creating art. “
Genre aside, bringing the parent-child relationship into the music world presented its own challenges. Washington knows several aspects of the industry inside and out, while Diggs has effectively grown up in the midst of it. At the same time, neither of them necessarily knew how to balance their lives as both a musical act and a family going into it.
“We’re friends at this point and have been forever, but now it’s about learning how to create while not helicoptering as a mom,” says Washington. “I’m managing a lot of different aspects of bringing the music to the forefront, and I’m just enjoying the process so much more than I ever have before.”
“I usually feel like my mom and I are on the same page creatively about 80-99% of the time,” Diggs adds. “Just the other day, our label was sending us stuff to book a room for filming, and I had chosen a place. Then my mom finally looked at the email and was like, ‘I don’t like this place.’ It’s funny, because that’s only happened a handful of times. Even when we disagree, I feel like we’re just so good at communicating with each other. She’s willing to listen and willing to hear a different point of view, and so am I. “
Musically, ONE The Duo blends a little bit of everything into their country / Americana sound. Hints of both Washington’s R&B history and Diggs’ pop sensibilities flow through their breakthrough single, “Guilty,” and the pair’s appreciation for rock music carries through all of their tunes. They’ve got the makings and sound of a group that’s far more experienced than one that technically just hit the scene last year. Of course, that’s not surprising considering both Washington’s extensive career and all of the musical lessons Diggs picked up at an early age.
“Everything that I learned from my parents has really shaped this moment and how I approach it,” says Diggs. “I definitely think it’s given me an advantage, because I really got to learn so much in my short 21 years of being on this planet.”