Things have changed quickly for the people of Toronto Ebony since his first album ‘Good dick and weed fall. Ebhoni has been on the scene since 2016 and has since been armed with what has been described as her mission to “reclaim Toronto’s R&B crown.” Alas, the release of ‘Good Dick & Weed’ and several solo hits including the thorny ‘X-Ting’, has etched his name firmly in his pastures.
Its current ethos is a “contract for itself”; a kind of eternity. Although R&B is her first love, Ebhoni is branching out into genderless territory with female power, culture and fashion as her driving force. There is something particularly special about her niche and the pockets of Toronto she represents. While the city has been described by critics as in the throes of an “identity crisis”, backed by other cosmopolitan cities such as London and New York, it is now a hidden gem of untapped generation potential. Z.
The 22-year-old’s latest single, “Thats Your Problem (STANK HOEZ)”, debuted at JERK, a bi-annual rave showcasing the latest in experimental Caribbean and global club music, created by DJ BAMBII. Featuring production by Brazilian maestro Alexay Beats, the song is the first pot of the upcoming feast for this release from Ebhoni. Ahead of its release, we spoke with the Toronto singer about her Boiler Room cover, her new single, and the promise of a new independent era.
Who is Ebhoni now?
I hate this question because I don’t know how to answer it. The best thing to say is I’m not sorry…
That being said, since you are a year older, are there things that you have left behind, new lessons that you have learned?
I would definitely say stay true to myself. I feel like before I didn’t trust my instincts, I didn’t fully trust myself. I had situations; I kind of trusted everyone around me, which is fine, but you sort of lose yourself. In the process, you are doing what is not necessarily best for you; everything down to music and sound. It’s just about trusting yourself, because you’ll never head in the wrong direction.
Can you explain what the situation was?
I was already signed and I feel like because I have a Caribbean background I was a shoehorn. They were like, ‘You have to do this type of music, you have to sound like this – we think you should do this and you shouldn’t do that. I actually sat down to write the music and wasn’t happy to share it. I think that played a big part in that.
And now that you are independent, have you spread your wings and regained this autonomy?
I literally just had this conversation! I can honestly say that making music now is a lot more fun than it used to be. The pressure is having to share it with people. For example, with ‘STANK HOES’, I literally wrote it in my bathroom and recorded it the next day. Because I loved it, I just had fun. There was no pressure to say, “If I share it with these people, they’re not going to understand it or they’re not going to like it.” I was doing it for me.
How did the Boiler Room situation come about?
Boiler Room has teamed up with Jerk, which is basically a party hosted by DJ Bambii. It’s like a collective. It’s really big in Toronto, a showcase of Caribbean artists and DJs from around the city. Bambii actually reached out to me. I had no prior knowledge of Boiler Room at the time. But I say to myself: “of course, I will do it!” We went through the songs together – I sent him a bunch of songs and Bambii actually picked ‘STANK HOEZ’. If it wasn’t for Bambii, I probably wouldn’t have played it. Bambi basically helped with everything.
It’s so wavy! Regarding the Caribbean scene in Toronto – for those who don’t know – what are you guys doing? What does it look like?
I feel like Toronto is a melting pot of people from all over the world. You can go to a party and you’ll hear dancehall and then you’ll hear like afrobeats. It’s like a bunch of different vibes in one night, which is really cool.
You grew up in Toronto, so why did you choose to shoot the video in Atlanta?
I’m a girl from Toronto but decided to do it here because I spend a lot of time in Atlanta. I go back and forth. I have a good group of friends here. To be honest with you, that wasn’t meant to be the vibe of the videos; a group of people stopping outside a convenience store. That wasn’t the plan at all. It was supposed to be me going to the studio with my two friends. But they said no and I had to make a call and ask everyone in Atlanta to park.
What was the mood like while writing ‘STANK HOEZ’?
I was the one shooting my ex’s girlfriend. It wasn’t meant to be a fun song. It was just that I was petty! But then it ended up being a little more universal. I feel like everyone who heard the song made it a fun song, an empowering song. But when I wrote it, I was irritated and just needed to get some stuff off my chest.
What is the next step ?
I just build my sound. I am preparing to abandon a project and I know for a fact that this project is going to be really big. I’m really excited for this. Right now, I’m just working on my real projects. I mean, being independent, I had the opportunity to experiment and do things that I hadn’t done before.
And now we finally get to work together…
That’s what’s so beautiful about being independent now, because I feel like I’m surrounded by genuine people. It was the smartest thing I could have done, building my own relationships and collaborating with people like you.
To finish, words by which you live?
I would say just have fun. And fuck what everyone has to say. Stay true to yourself. That’s all I have to say. When you do this, you are unstoppable.
Words: Thandie Sibanda – @Thandietweetss