In the age of the internet, innovators are no longer bound by the gatekeepers of media. With only an idea and internet connection, a creative person can do what they want and market however they want. This is becoming the new standard.
“It’s something that grew out of a lot of intentions and things we hold true to ourselves,” said 23-year-old Anala Tefnut, one half of the modeling/musical duo ChannelPYRO.
Alongside her partner and boyfriend Rob Ohtis, ChannelPYRO independently hosts, performs, designs, models and more. They’re millennial jacks of all trades.
Formed in 2016, Ohtis and Tefnut’s ambition to promote their art thrives from the belief that their art holds an important message for the masses.
Inspired by astrology, ChannelPYRO gets its name from the two artists’ zodiac: Sagittarius, a fire sign. Both claim to channel fire, passion and hard work into the different avenues they cover. The group’s mission statement is to spread the encouragement of black love through their music and photography.
Tefnut describes black love as “strength, vulnerability, its balance, understanding from a whole other level of trauma of history. It’s like the connection that we have from being American. A connection that we have to our homeland because that is the breeding ground for love.”
Ohtis handles the majority of the rapping while Tefnut’s voice floats on hooks and verses with her singing throughout their project “Afro Pyro: A Love Story.” Sonically the mixtape rides the resurgent wave of jazz-rap that has been brought back by artists like Kendrick Lamar.
The project revolves around love yet and focuses on black themes. Songs like “Sundance” teach on the power of the sun, “Strength” reminds us that black is beautiful, and “Dancing With Flames” catches them both awestruck by love. Like the otherworldly topics they discuss, Afro Pyro: A Love Story is packed with intergalactic imagery fitting the themes.
“If it’s about the culture, let it be for the culture,” insists Ohtis of Cap 6 fame. “And in our particular relationship I wanted to put it on a pedestal as well, so what better way to do that by making a mixtape about black love? It’s quintessential.”
Tefnut has been on the opposite side of the camera lens since 2014 taking part in freelance modeling. She attended Florida A&M University, but did not join any troupes on campus because she felt they added extra pressure to modeling. She revolves her style around comfortability. ChannelPYRO says fashion is overrated and fickle. Different fashions come and go every decade but simply being stylish is forever.
“If you look into their eyes you see passion,” said Aurielle Skipper, a DJ for 89.7 WVFS.
Ohtis and Tefnut have hosted hip-hop/R&B concerts at venues around Tallahassee and do not intend to stop. They are currently nominated for Best duo/group via Mieux Magazine and also nominated for a Tally Award for best musical entertainment group.
They have new music and photo shoots on the way. They say they won’t stop till they get what they want and their message is heard.