The question I hear most often is, “Where did you get the name, Ionne?” Honestly, I don’t quite recall. I must’ve heard it somewhere when I was younger. And I’ve grown into the name in recent years. There has been no Pauline conversion. It’s been more of a transition. As my discography confesses, I’ve tried on a few other names, but Ionne has a particular aesthetic that I aspire toward musically.
By some accounts, ionne is an ancient form of the word ion, a charged atomic particle, which seems fitting for an electronic musician like me. Others suggest that Ionne may be linked to Iona and Ionia, names with spiritual connotations, a deeper way of thinking about the responsibility of an artist. Some argue whether Ionne is a masculine or feminine name, an argument that evokes my resistance against gendered—and often racialized—conceptions of art. Ultimately, as a gay, cisgender, African American man, I’ve found that Ionne gives me license to transgress external notions about who I am and who I am becoming.
My career as a recording artist began in 1994 at the age of 19 when I took a job with Ligosa Records & Sound Studios, a production company in Cincinnati, Ohio later known as Legend Entertainment Corp. Ligosa was doing a lot of work for New York and Los Angeles based record labels and music supervisors at the time. I relished the opportunity to work with award-winning creators, and I filled my discography with major label remixes, independent releases, and original songs for television. By the early aughts, however, I found myself wanting more. I needed to re-calibrate — to hit the reset button — so that I could explore opportunities outside of commercial entertainment that would lend to both my personal and artistic growth.
My path has been unconventional to say the least. I’ve managed two identities for over a decade — one as an independent recording artist, the other as a creative director specializing in marketing and communications. It’s been a healthy symbiosis. Over the years, my creative process has become more intentional than it used to be. The music I produce today is designed to engage people across difference and drive positive social change. I write songs of protest and celebration. And I use electronic music to both shape and re-imagine the future.