Written by Leo Baldi
Eckoes is a singer/songwriter based in London who is inspired by hip-hop and R&B and is making some of the best electro-R&B music today. BBC Introducing have described her voice as [one] “that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up“. Her tone is her biggest asset, imagine chocolate icing being spread over a luxurious cake, smooth and velvety at it’s best. We got together with Eckoes to find out more about her music processes, her influences and inspirations and what we should expect next.
How did you first get into music?
“I think like so many other musicians, its a case of stopping not being a musician, rather than when you start doing it. So I have sung since before I can remember. That’s how I think about it.”
Do you have any particular memories of being in the early stages of music?
“Yeah, I was really young at school, I was always the girl that would like sing to people on their piano recitals or dances, that sort of thing. I used to get involved with a lot of stuff at school, especially the choir.”
Have you had any formal musical education?
“Yeah, I’ve been to a few music colleges. I went to Point Blank in London, which is a great music school, and I went to Vocaltech on the other side of London in Ealing. I have an amazing vocal teacher that coaches me.”
How many instruments can you play?
“I play keyboards well enough to right but my main instrument is my voice. You can write melodies and top lines from that because the rest is from inside.”
When you have an idea for a song, do you record it on your voicemail? Or is It more of a chord or just a vocal idea that gets you started?
“A lot of the time, it is usually something that I’m humming and then I will put it down into my phone and I think ‘Oh there is something I can do with this” and I co-produce and write all of my stuff with another producer, so I will send it to her asking her what she thinks of a melody or try to play some sort of drums whilst banging on my cupboard.”
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
“There are just so many, I think sound wise; I do loves Sade’s calmness and stilleness and a lot of music these days feels really loud and it very much washes over you. I grew up on a lot of hip-hop and R&B so I do like big phat drums, something closer to Missy Elliot. “
In terms of lyrics, do you draw inspiration from Missy Elliot and those kinds of artists?
“No not really, I think for her it is more about the sound and the soundscape. Lyrics are very much mine, I wouldn’t say they are necessarily based on anybody else’s and they are quite story-based and random, I’d say”
Who are you currently listening to?
“I’m in love with NAO, I think she is incredible. Always listen to Kwabs, I see him around town a bit, I absolutely love him. His baritone just shakes the floor.”
What is the cheesiest song you have on your iPod?
“The cheesiest? Oh good question, I’m not sure if he is cheesy anymore because he has crossed into the mainstream but I am a Belieber. Since Diplo got involved, I think he really changed it all around.”
We have been listening to your new single, Blue Deep, on soundcloud. How did that song come about? What was your process?
“That is one that started in the room, rather than someone coming with an idea. There were three of us in the room. Myself, Dee Adams, who has co-produced everything and Ralph Aletti, they are a great team. One was at the keyboards and I’m kind of humming away, and we started some chords and put some melody over it and if you just follow your nose, it is a lovely process. You’re always asking ‘keep that, but where can we go from here’, it’s great. Really organic. It was done in an afternoon, it just erupted and were happy to go home.”
It sounded really spontaneous, when listening to it, the structure of it sounds like something you would never really overthink.
“Yeah, it really wasn’t. It was all written and recorded by something like 4 o’clock. I love it when that happens. We like people to feel as if they are joining us on our journey, it’s what we really want.”
If you could pick two words that embody your sound, what would they be?
“I would say, truthful and smooth.”
We completely agree here too.
What do you do outside of your music that contributes to your music?
“Music really does take up almost al of my time. I do all the normal things and I also do some volunteering, there is a centre for asylum seekers and migrants where I help out on Sundays by helping with distribution or helping with the food. Things that give you another perspective are important to help you understand life.”
Is it the small things in life that inspires the most or do you think it is something deeper?
“Yeah I think that it is definitely the sall things and those are the small things that you wouldn’t expect to affect you or change things but can be huge to other people. I think that life is in the detail a lot of the time.”
Going back to the truthfulness of your music, what have you made of the comments from BBC Introducing and Q Magazine?
“I have recorded the majority of my album already and I am putting it out there and it is ready made and nobody can sway how it already sounds because this was done beforehand. It has been something I’ve been meaning to do and it is very easy for people to get caught up in the feedback and makes them deviate from that they want to do in the first place. It is very much ‘this is who I am and this is what I do’ irrespective of anything.”
Do you have any advice for young musicians who are trying to make it in the industry?
“I would say practice every single day. It is so easy to get caught up in the social media and booking as many gigs as possible. The fundamental is to make sure you, your instrument and your music is the best it could possibly be. Don’t get lost in the noise. You can go out and book gigs but if you haven’t practiced then what’s the point?”
What was it like to open up for The Streets? That must have been an insane experience?
“Leo is the guy I know form The Streets and he is amazing. It was so well done and when you’re doing smaller gigs and not really sure how to put things together. When you start playing bigger events, its all so professional and well put together.”
Who would be your ultimate collaboration?
“From the past, I think it would be Michael Jackson. When I was younger, I had a thing of wanting to say ‘dark child’ on the start of records like Whitney and Destiny’s Child. I think Will.i.Am is a genius. He does a lot of classical music too which people don’t really know about and he worked with MJ quite a bit too. I say MJ like he’s my friend.”
What is it about the likes of Kwabs and Jessie Ware that makes you relate to them?
“I think it is that quiet strength that they both have. Jessie Ware’s songs are just so beautiful, Kwabs too; they both sing like they mean it. You can tell they are trying to say something and I think it’s beautiful. I don’t always think you have to shout to be heard.”
If you could be a cocktail, what would you be and why?
“My friends and I are currently hooked on Espresso Martinis at the moment. It is basic coffee and alcohol, essentially a one-stop shop for everything.”
Big phat drums, honesty and humility are the things that make Eckoes, Eckoes and it is so clearly translated into her music. Eckoes is an experienced musicians and her advice for young musicians as well as her judgement of the current state of the industry will not only help herself but others around her too.
Eckoes’ new single Blue Deep is currently available on Youtube and will be on all major platforms from tomorrow.
Credit: E C K O E S