If you’re not familiar yet with Yebba, it’s time to change that. The Grammy-winning artist—real name Abbey Smith—has emerged as one of the most sought-after performers in the music industry, collaborating with everyone from Ed Sheeran to Drake to Chance the Rapper to Mark Ronson.
The singer first gained recognition in September 2016, when her captivating performance of the song “My Mind” at a Sofar Sounds presentation went viral on YouTube. The attention was enough to jumpstart Yebba’s career—but then, just weeks later, Yebba’s mother, Dawn, died by suicide. glamour
Yebba started writing songs in her bedroom as a way to cope, as she found ways to honor her mother through her music. She offered free downloads of “My Mind” on her website and asked fans to donate to Bring Change to Mind, a mental-health-awareness charity. Her stage name is also a tribute—Yebba is Abbey spelled backwards, a nickname her mother used for her. glamour
And on September 10, her debut album, Dawn—the result of those bedroom writing sessions—was released by RCA Records. The album title has a dual meaning for the artist, whose genre blends alternative, pop, R&B, neo jazz, and other influences. Dawn is her mother’s name, but it also refers to the first glimpse of light in the sky after the darkness of night. It invokes the sense of possibility that this debut brings. glamour
The 12-track album features key collaborators like Questlove, The Roots, A$AP Rocky, Kaytrananda, Pino Palladino, Smino, James Francies, and Smokey Hormel. She also worked closely with executive producer Mark Ronson, who shared a deep, heartfelt post on Instagram about her work. “This is one of the most gorgeous, heartbreaking, perfect vocals I’ve ever recorded,” he wrote of the lead track, “October Sky.”glamour
I remember discovering Yebba, an evening in my little room on Portobello Road. I watched that sofar performance and teared up. I have never heard a voice like Yebba's in my entire short lived life. And every time she puts out a performance, she somehow manages to impress me and make me love her musicality more and more. I hope that we'll be gifted with many many more future records and collaborations from Yebba. PLEASE don't miss out on her INSANE tiny desk.