The Making of our First-Ever Music Video

Lead Onboard Entertainer extraordinaire, David Onka, composed an original song, Ama Means Love (Family), showcased in AmaWaterways’ newly released music video, which was filmed on location in Budapest, Hungary in July 2020. Learn more about the man behind the music and lyrics of our first-ever original composition, his AmaWaterways journey and the inspiration for the song.

What inspired your career in music?

I grew up in Nigeria in a musical family. My dad was a successful African music producer and songwriter who also worked on international projects – including for Philips Records (now Universal Music Group) and directing music projects featured in Britain’s Broadcasting Cooperation. I composed my first song at age eight and by the time I became a teenager, I was already performing on a professional stage with my father and other experienced musicians. I started playing drums, then added guitar, bass, percussion and a tiny bit of saxophone to my repertoire.

Tell us a little bit about your AmaWaterways journey.

I currently live in Germany where I was contacted by a recruiting agency after one of my TV performances about the possibility of working for AmaWaterways. I joined the AmaFamily in 2018 as an onboard musician where my role included preparing my repertoire, rehearsing and entertaining guests. Now that I supervise and train all the onboard musicians in Europe, the beginning of every sailing season demands much more planning and preparation. This includes assessing musicians’ previous performances to help them enhance their future performances, reviewing their repertoire to ensure it meets AmaWaterways’ standards, traveling to as many ships as possible to connect face to face with the musicians, and, of course, preparing my own music and rehearsing for when I play on board as well.

What does your typical day on board look like?

I generally walk around the ship about three times a day to read the mood of our guests. That’s highly important in how I choose the music or amend the repertoire for the next performance. I also wake up three nights a week around 1 or 2 am when the guests are all asleep to write songs in the lounge or rehearse for hours.

What inspired the sound and lyrics of AmaWaterways’ first original song, Ama Means Love (Family)?

When AmaWaterways pitched the idea of this song to me, they made it clear that the message of the song should carry love, joy and strength in unity – especially at a time when so many people around the world feel separated or divided. Additional key words such as family, which is so important to our company culture, were also shared, and this built a foundation for the lyrics. As for the sound, I wanted something positively energetic yet easy to sing along to. That’s how the song was born.

Did anything interesting happen during filming of the music video?

We filmed the music video outside in Budapest, Hungary at iconic sites like Fisherman’s Bastion and the Chain Bridge and I did a lot of singing and dancing in each place. I didn’t find out until afterward, but apparently during the shoot I was dancing so hard that I lost a part of the heel of my shoe and left it behind!

What do you hope people feel when watching the music video?

It’s simple: I want people to feel love, joy, good energy and all the positive experiences AmaWaterways represents.

While most of us are in our individual homes right now, we are kicking off our holiday celebration with this music video and hope it makes you want to dance and sing along with us. Our holiday wish is that the catchy lyrics carry you through the time until we can sail together again.

Watch our music video of Ama Means Love (Family) now and subscribe to our YouTube Channel to ensure you never miss an update! Listen to the song on repeat so you can sing along by downloading Ama Means Love (Family) on Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music

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