Labrinth Protégée Etta Bond On Why She Made Her New EP Title Spells Out Something Very Naughty
The Debrief: Cool Urban New Talent, Etta's first EP, spells out what you think it spells out, but believe us, she's far from being one herself...
The phrase ‘dance like no one is watching’ was basically coined in answer to Etta Bond. See Labrinth’s protégée in her natural habitat of east or south London’s underground hip hop clubs or on any number of stages the UK over and you’ll notice one thing: she has no problem being 100% herself.
Her latest EP – and the first since signing to Simon Cowell’s Syco label – Cool Urban New Talent is no less sweary, no less uninhibited, no less willing to challenge anyone who's listening to tacklet the darkest corners of themselves.
We caught up with Etta to talk finding the balance between not oversharing, pointless chart positions and why she’s ecstatic she’s flat chested.
The Debrief: Hey Etta! We love your new EP Cool Urban New Talent. Is the title kinda in answer to people trying to label you?
Etta Bond: We were just sitting around brainstorming names and, obviously it spells out C-U-N-T. As artists everyone wants to define us or figure us out... It’s a bit of a tongue in cheek middle finger to the industry or to whatever, especially as I just got signed. I don’t know what people think but… I don’t care, that’s basically the point.
DB: You started writing by keeping a diary from the age of seven; does it ever trip you out to know so many people are going to be listening to your innermost thoughts?
EB: Yeah, I tend to say that it’s the difference between writing a diary and publishing one. It’s only over the last few years that I’ve started to come to terms with the idea of actually ripping out some of those pages and giving them to people. You can ask my mum, my friends – if you come to my house and there’s a notebook on the table or I’m writing and you try and peer over my shoulder I will cuss!
DB: Funny, as you’re also super active on social media. How do you find that balance between sharing but not over sharing?
EB: Since I was little I’ve always been on social media. I’m just one of those nerds. [But] if I’m gonna tell people something, I’m gonna tell them through my music. If you know everything through someone’s Twitter, why are you gonna buy their songs? Or if they’re gonna tell you all of their emotional shit on twitter, but then they write a song about going to the club like… what the hell? Have you got this the wrong way round or…? You’re crying on Twitter and you’re talking about jackshit in your music!
DB: It does feel like a lot of music in the charts isn't about all that much though...
EB: Maybe I just don’t get the music industry, but I don’t really think many people give a shit who’s in the top 20. Obviously, number ones are nice and whatever, but you can have a great career without having a number one. As artists we just need to keep pushing forwards and one day, hopefully, the rest of the world and the charts will catch up with us.
DB: What’s your definition of success then if not a number one?
EB: I feel successful everyday, because I’m where I’m supposed to be and I’m doing something I love. I don’t see success as money – success to me is personal growth as a person and, obviously, that then reflects on me as an artist. Sometimes other people look in and might see different things, but I don’t have a lot of money right now, at all, and I’m cool with that. I don’t need to sleep in a fucking mansion.
DB: It’s funny how people seem to think that as soon as you release a song or are on TV that you must be super rich
EB: Yeah! I remember when Forgiveness came out with Wretch 32, that was like the first public thing I’d ever done musically and I remember tweeting a picture of me on the bus not long after the song came out and someone tweeted Wretch, like, ‘Oi Wretch, why is she riding the bus? Sort it out!’ I was hardly in that video… I’m in the dark for, like, five seconds and what people think I’m not riding the bus anymore?
DB: Haha! Other than people thinking you’re loaded, what’s your pet peeve?
EB: I really do try and not get so pissed off; it wastes time nowadays. But please, everybody, understand the difference between ‘their’ and ‘there’, ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. Those are the things I would really like. Maybe I’ll even do a lesson, a grammar workshop on YouStream or something…
DB: Hahah! We’d love that. We’ll, you’re definitely not a boring bitch. You just got your hair buzz cut, too! How did that come about?
EB: I’ll just wake up one day and think, ‘Hmm, I’d like to do this.’ And I’ll do it because I feel like it. Other people would think about cutting their hair short, then they’d be like, ‘Oh no, but I’d look ugly!’ I remember somebody I used to know telling me a few years ago, ‘You could never cut your hair off,’ basically because my head is so big, and… I did it, motherfuckers, I fucking did it. Why? Because I wanted to and I felt like it. I guarantee you anybody can pull off anything, it’s all to do with whether you think you can or not. The only reason people can’t pull something off is because they think they can’t.
DB: So, to finish up, who do you aspire to musically?
EB: When I was growing up the music that really hit me was India Arie or Jill Scott or Lauryn Hill… women that were really saying something. I haven’t got big tits, so I don’t have the option to shake them, but sometimes I look in the mirror and I’m like, ‘That is why I didn’t get given big tits!’ Because maybe I’d be up here shaking them about while I’m singing, but I don’t because I don’t have them. It’s a blessing. I’m up here with my flat chest; look in my eyes! Don’t look at my tits; I’m saying some real shit! We just need some more real shit in the world. The other stuff is fine, we need it to fill the gaps, for the shading, but I want to be the real shit. I don’t want to be the fucking shading and all the shadows, I want to be the real shit.
DB: Byee Etta!
Etta Bond’s Cool Urban New Talent is out now.
Follow Alya on Twitter @moorizZLA
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