Ebenezer hasn’t had the conventional come-up you might expect from a UK rapper in 2018. Rather than generating noise on social media or unleashing a tidal wave of songs online, the north Londoner has grafted and honed his craft by working alongside other artists.
Recent collaborations with artists like Duke Dumont and Jeremih are testament to his musical versatility. The rapper, singer and producer has a genre-encompassing, more international sound than his contemporaries - one that isn’t typical of the grime, drill or Afrobeats sounds currently dominating the UK scene.
“I never want to be boxed into a genre,” he says. “I can do them all.” Though he has been writing and producing for other artists for years, Ebenezer’s breakthrough as a solo artist only started with the release of low-slung R&B single ‘Cliché’ in 2017, followed closely by caramel-smooth EP ‘Bad Romantic’ in March this year. His voice lights up when discussing the positive reception of his debut release: “The love I got from it was ridiculous. People would say, ‘I’ve never heard of you before but your stuff is dope’.”
Alongside his self-assured ambition is a disarming humility - Ebenezer mentions his initial doubts on the reception of ‘Bad Romantic’ and his sound in general. “I was apprehensive about it because I didn’t think the UK would gravitate to the sound because it’s not grime or UK rap. But the way people have been has been amazing - people in France, Poland, Austria, everywhere have been hitting me up and I’m just like, ‘Damn, how did you even hear it?!’”
He’s already talking excitedly about his next project called ‘53 Sundays’ - “I’ve built an art piece around it. It’s conceptual,” he says cryptically. Beyond that, the 25-year-old has his sights on the rest of the world. “I want to break America. I’m just a boy from North London council estates and I know I’ve got my work cut out for me but there is nobody that wants it more than me or is willing to work as hard as me.”
Ebenezer’s ambitious confidence, tireless work rate and an underlying, grounded humility are a formidable combination for an artist on the verge of a big breakthrough.
WHERE: Tottenham, North London
WHAT: A uniquely British rap-meets-R&B hybrid
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Inhale (with Duke Dumont)’, ‘Survival’, ‘South Of France’
FACT: Ebenezer practices the 10,000 Hour Rule after reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.
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Words: Will Rosebury
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
Fashion: Josh Tuckley
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