Growing up in the spotlight is nothing but a dream for most people. For singer Zonnique Pullins, referred to professionally simply as Zonnique, growing up in the spotlight has simply been a way of life.
Born the daughter of Tameka “Tiny” Harris and the stepdaughter of T.I., it seems the flowering artist has always had a musical path laid out for her, and at 20 years old, she’s more ready than ever before to set out in her own lane.
“At first, when I was younger, it was a little rocky,” she recounts, speaking on the public nature of her upbringing, specifically on reality television, being featured on shows like BET’s Tiny & Toya and VH1’s T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle. “I don’t feel like it’s taken anything away.”
Lounging across from me on a red couch in a Decatur office space, Zonnique casually spoke as reddish-orange curls from an exceptional hair day bounced freely around her face, leaning in and speaking freely on her transition into a solo career following a six-year run with the now disbanded OMG Girlz.
“Closer to the end, we had more mature songs. We just hadn’t released them yet. It was kind of something that I was already growing into,” she began. “We were talking about these things that nobody got to hear. So, when I went solo and started writing a little more, I figured it would be a little more shocking to listeners, but it was something I still wanted to people to hear.”
It was in 2009 Zonnique would begin her first steps as a professional artist in the girl group known as OMG (Officially Miss Guided), a group put together by her mother and Kiesha Miles. After several changes in group members, years of touring and performing, even gaining a nomination for Outstanding New Artist at the 2013 NAACP Image Awards, the group called it quits in 2015.
“We definitely still support each other. We talk everyday,” she says, referring to group members Bahja Rodriguez and Breaunna Womack, who have also embarked on solo careers. “We have a strong relationship. We all support each others’ solo projects. We don’t really talk it about all the time, but if we hear it, or one tells the other about it, we’re definitely supportive of each other.”
Since venturing out on her own musically, Zonnique’s gone on with her original fan base while gaining a substantial new following, most recently, collaborating with Young Thug on the single “Nun For Free,” initiating the establishment of her personal sound.
“I write a lot more than I used to. I have a lot more creative control over what I do now,” Pullins says of her involvement in making music for herself and her fans.
“My fans have definitely grown with me. I try to wrap the music around my feelings and what I’m doing…I try to keep my music somewhere in between because I know I still have younger people listening and looking up to me, but a lot of things I write are for people my age, college students–people like that.”
Citing a spectrum of artists ranging from Future to Jhene Aiko and fellow emerging artist Alex Isley as individuals she’d like to collaborate with, Zonnique describes her efforts to break out of any one box as far as her music is concerned.
“…My music now it’s pretty much R&B. I just want to broadcast myself in different [genres], and let people hear me in a different way.”
Currently working on an upcoming project, as well as a video treatment for her latest single “Worst Friday,” the budding performer is laser-focused on creating her own lane, and is determined to take down any boundaries, even hinting at adding a future in acting to her list of endeavors in the near future.
“[Agents] are asking me what kind of roles I want to play. The easiest thing for me would be to play a mean girl,” she laughingly confesses. “I could be like the bossy girl…yeah, I would like to be Regina George.”