The first time I heard of E ^ R T H was when YouTube suggested I watch a music video by the artist titled Coco Butter Skin ft DYLEMA.
The title and the main image seemed to be a bold statement emphasising the beauty of ‘Coco Butter Skin’, with ‘Coco Butter’ playing on the love of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter cream. The video accentuates youthfulness and positivity in black culture, which is constantly being pulled and tugged at by negative representations and extremism. I had a feeling that I was in for some powerful vocals, but I what I didn’t expect was just how much the message would resonate with me.
E ^ R T H’s voice radiates through the melody with phrases like, “mahogany crafted, sculpted from the ebony glands so naturally” encouraging black people to love the skin they’re in. Then spoken word artist DYLEMA comes in saying “Leave traces of your history…I want to know the terrains and landscapes that sculpted this fine melodic man”. To me, the song speaks volumes about the importance of unravelling black history and the value and depth of black men that remains constantly overlooked. It is an appropriate and needed message for the people.
The soul singer has since performed a rendition of Floetry’s classic Say Yes and Aaliyah’s beloved song Rock the Boat. The singer alternates between husky-soul and smooth-serenity demonstrating the beautiful and tender quality of sound that her voice can project.
I caught up with the artist, here is what she had to say…
An authentic interview with E ^ R T H
Why E ^ R T H? Tell the readers a bit about yourself.
I honestly feel as though I didn’t pick my name, but that my name picked me.
At the time I was in Amsterdam with some friends. We were having one of those ‘deep’ conversations about life. I was getting so overly frustrated with myself, because I didn’t know how to free myself from me. I felt stuck, life was sucky! Everything was either stagnant or going downhill and I was really sick and tired of waking up everyday feeling sh*tty.
I used to be my own worst enemy.
I battle with self-doubt on a daily basis. I fall short of not believing in myself at times and my biggest fear is failure – some negative traits of being a Capricorn (which just so happens to be an earth sign). So yes, as much as I love trees, nature and all things green and organic…E ^ R T H is a reminder for me to stay grounded. A reminder to stay true to the essence of me in everything! When I doubt myself or fall short of loving me, I remember to enlighten others, appreciate the life that was given to me, reciprocate love, teach kindness and create a heavenly space within me.
Wow. You seem so in touch with yourself. I guess that’s how life works, we never really know what anyone is going through behind closed doors. Yet, what an amazing journey you’ve had, a journey to finding who you are deep within, one which many of us are still going through. How would you define your sound?
The type of organic that grows in back gardens and allotments not supermarkets.
100% Nutritious content.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
There are loads, but if I’m gonna narrow it down:
Musically – Erykah Badu
Artistically – Nina Simone
Lyrically – Jay Z
Entrepreneurship – P Diddy
Unapologetic realness – Jill Scott
I think reaching the ‘entrepreneur realness’ that P Diddy is on would make a lot of people happy, haha. He’s always making money moves and knows how to market both him and his family. Unapologetic realness, I couldn’t have thought of a better way to sum up Jill Scott’s music. You can definitely find this in a lot of her songs and her music videos. An all-time favourite would have to be “A Long Walk”.
What is the main message you want young black girls to take away from Coco Butter Skin?
Do what you want to do and don’t let anyone tell you anything about it. Your life is your own. Own it, own the decisions you make and the consequences that they create. Love yourself first.
That’s real. Is there anyone you would like to collab with?
Terrace Martin, IAMDDB, Andra Day, Lalah Hathaway, Kokorokomusic, Boadi, The Composerz, Ego Ella May, Ezra Collective…the list could go on and on. I have a thing for musicians. So whoever has dope sound or is a vibe maker, I definitely want to collab with!
That’s a bunch of extremely talented artists. I love your individuality. I love how you embrace your roots and your culture and it’s great to hear how far you’ve come. What advice do you give to young people struggling to be themselves?
As much as I like to embrace who I am, I still struggle with REALLY being my true self most days. It’s not everyday that I feel like a superwoman, but I still try to embrace those days as and when they come. I can only share the advice that I would give to myself and that is to remember that there are over seven billion people in this world, but there is only one you.
Don’t waste your life by diluting the uniqueness of you to try to fit in with others. There’s a rare kind of beauty in individuality, so embrace it. Remember, if another person is willing to accept the uniqueness of you, then it is right for you to extend that right onto others.
It’s often a surprise to see musicians speaking on social issues, yet we continue remain curious as to what they think. Certain tragedies such as that at the Grenfell tower or the riot in Dalston has really captured the state and mind of the people. So many issues have been brought to light relating to inequality. Many feel invisible, forgotten and ignored. What are your thoughts? What things do you think the government should do to mend the broken hearts of the working people?
The recent events are acting as a mirror to the things that are happening to ‘us’ as a human race. I have no care at all for politics or government. For me, it is a broken system that was not built or intended to benefit ‘working people’. I care about ‘us’ as human beings living on this earth together.
How do we change our perceptions and interactions with each other?
It saddens me on another level to think that someone of responsibility, did not consider that it was a very bad decision to cut corners and play Russian roulette, with people’s lives. Simply because they are ‘working people’ and they don’t have the privilege of having a voice that is heard and listened to. Putting all of your faith in something that is broken is like burning a wad of cash when the rent is due. It’s a very stupid thing to do.
To end the interview, where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself happy. Still in music of course…maybe with a baby on my waist making power moves and letting that inner superwoman glow at maximum level!
E ^ R T H recently released episode one of her new three-part vlog series. The artist talks about her experiences, shares unreleased sounds and introspective insights.
‘The Woman Behind The Music’ – watch the clip below:
The singer has also become the co-host of Soul Surge Radio show. Soul Surge sets out to highlight some of the ‘best soul/jazz sounds around’ and document ‘soul culture through online platforms’.
Main Image taken by Tony Supreme.
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