10 things you need to know about etta bond
The shaven headed singer is taking her feminist soul music to the world.
Etta Bond isn't interested in the ordinarily. The Cambridge born, London living singer isn't trying to sit down and fit in. Making her music as much about feminist expression as it is about creative gratification, Bond is opinionated, forceful and she has a point to make, artistically and politically. And The Word is spreading. Etta is not only signed to Labrinth's Odd Child label, but over the past few years, she's smoothly worked with everyone from Wretch 32 to Plan B, Bonkaz and Skepta, testament to her individuality as an artist that she's attracted such top-tier talent.
Her most recent video, Seen and Never Heard was as visually striking a statement as it was lyrically. Co-produced with Chris Loco (Kwabs, Wiley) and directed by Mike Gripz, Etta Bond ends the year on an important note by reimagining the way in which women are portrayed, not just in the music industry, but at large.
We caught up with Etta and asked her what ten things about her we all need to know…
1. Etta recently shaved my head because…
"I felt like it, and I do what I feel." SNM.
2. Her latest single, Seen And Never Heard, and accompanying visual are brave, bold and to the point.
"The statement I made with Seen and Never Heard is don't give someone else control over your life. Our bodies are something we often find ourselves feeling insecure about. As women, we are objectified for our bodies and in the same breath can be made to feel ashamed of them. In the video, we were embracing our bodies whilst using them to say something important. Celebrating our bodies in a positive, healthy way -- not something I think women get the chance to do very often. I also thought it was an ironic way of getting men to pay attention to the message and to slyly prove my point (laughs).
3. She has strong thoughts on the notion of feminism in 2015.
"We are encouraged to spend more time focusing on things that don't really have much substance. Which means we're not being encouraged to have much substance. There are posts all over social media about the right way to look, act, think and even feel! Like there are rules to being a woman! It's laughable. I see both men AND women setting standards for other people like it's their business. Do you, man, what the hell… in a world where we share more selfies than conversations, there is so much pressure. Contour this, big ass that. And I love a good contour, but not everyday, do you know what I mean? I didn't wake up like this, can that be okay? Is it alright that I'm human? Can't I just put on a Peacocks tracksuit and let this pimple breathe? YES. I feel like we all leave the house now like we're gonna get papped. Who knows who you might bump into - you better be prepared for those surprise snapchat appearances. You have to recognise if and when these things are affecting you and take necessary action. Try putting your fucking phone down for a while. Go in search of something that feeds your soul. Meditate! Spend time with nature. Go on an adventure. Adventures don't care if your eyebrows are on fleek or not.
4. She makes music because, well, she has to.
"Music is the love of my life. Music is my template. It gives me freedom and restores all balance. It's me in my purest form. It's an expression to me, like smiling or crying. It's something that can't be taken away from me. It's a love I can't lose. A love I can have faith in. It's the one thing I can give all my energy to knowing that I'll get it right back. The feeling I get from music makes everything in life worth it. Music has given my life constant purpose. It's my saviour."
5. Etta is signed to Labrinth's Odd Child. The pair go waaay back.
"We met on MySpace, almost 10 years ago now. He became music to me. We went through a lot of growth together. He's an incredible musician. Undoubtedly a genius. We don't see each other any more as much as I'd like, but we're both doing our thing. And he's there for me when I need advice (or a melody). I'm anticipating our next collaboration."
6. She has lots of influences and all of them are pretty great.
"Labrinth!! Jill Scott, Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu, Michael Jackson, Dilla and D'Angelo."
7. Etta grew up, kind of, in Cambridge and it was, by all accounts, just fine.
"I'm not sure how much growing I'd done by the age of 13, but the air was fresher and the stars were brighter."
8. She got into knitting recently.
"It's a therapeutic route to arthritis."
9. She's worked with loads of people, but don't expect her to choose favourites.
"Making music with someone is far too magical to go around declaring favourites. That's not my personal style."
10. She's working on her new album but won't reveal exactly who is doing what. So secretive Etta!
"I can't disclose the who's and why's, but I'm surrounded by inspiring creatives like Kojey Radical, Avelino, Chris Loco, Raf Riley, Bonkaz, Ashnikko, Nadia Rose, The Hics. If none of them want to get involved I'm just gonna make it all by myself using that acapella app."
Text Hattie Collins
Photography Rosie Matheson
- ETTA BOND