Ekelle is an artist who is inspired by many things! “I make songs that don’t necessarily fit into one genre,” Ekelle tells Eat This Music in our interview about her newest single, ‘Dropped‘, “so I created my own, it’s called Hood Pop – Popular music with a street edge.” This type of genre is Ekelle’s own fusion of hip hop, pop and R&B. “I like to write about my life experiences,” she continues, “I’m not a musical artist I’m also a model, photographer, blogger, creative director and anything else I need to be for myself.”
“Pretty good actually. I know this pandemic hasn’t been easy on any of us, but I really enjoyed the time I had to work on myself, my art and the relationships in my life.” — Ekelle on how she is doing at the moment.
“[the song has only been out for a couple of days] so far it’s been good”, Ekelle expresses to Eat This Music. “People seem to be responding well to the track, from critics, fellows artists and listeners as well.” The thing that pains Ekelle however is as she releases this song we are in the midst of seeing another innocent man violated by police brutality. “I’ve been seeing Jacob Blake all over the news and it’s so crushing, it feels bittersweet.” Although, Ekelle is happy to be releasing this song, but now another Black life is at stake at the hands of police: “It’s definitely the right song for today and I really hope that it can help some people to process.” In fact, Ekelle hopes that this song reaches new listeners and helps them to see that people need to do better, “Black people don’t deserve to be treated this way.”
Dropped is one of the most personal songs Ekelle has ever written. “It details my experience being falsely arrested by police on my return home from a vacation,” Ekelle reveals in our interview. “The song isn’t so much about the actual arrest, more so about the after effects.” This song is about the negative stigma that made Ekelle too embarrassed or scared to tell friends, the anxiety of an uncertain future, the depression of attending multiple court dates, the exhaustion from working several jobs to pay for legal fees and the stress that built up from trying to keep it all together – only for the charges to be dropped three years later on the Friday night before the upcoming trial on Monday.
“I hope to provide an unexpected human face to the issues of racial profiling and police brutality,” Ekelle continues, “this isn’t something that happens only to the ‘thugs’ the media likes to portray.” Essentially Ekelle wants to shift perspectives and also send out a message of solidarity and support to listeners out there who may have dealt with or are dealing with the same thing she has gone through.
Speaking on the creative process, Ekelle tells Eat This Music that was interesting, but in a good way. “I worked with a new producer on these songs (Dropped is a part of my upcoming EP),” she explains. In fact, this was their second song. “B. Morales was great in hearing my story, not judging me and really picking up on the feelings of the song, crafting the beat around that.” Ekelle started with the hook, but the lyrics didn’t quite come until she was out of the country.
“I think there’s really something to writing on vacation,” she reminisces about being out of the country, “being away from all of our daily stressors makes it easier for us to access the creative parts of our brain.” From there, Ekelle wrote the first verse on a trip to Cuba with one of her best friends and the second on a separate Cuba trip with her mom. “I think being around people I love and trust helped me to be vulnerable,” Ekelle explains to Eat This Music about what the creative process was like for her single.
So much of Ekelle’s own life played in the creation of this single. “The charges didn’t drop until 2018”, she reveals, “but I always wanted to try and talk about this issue.” Ekelle thought about maybe doing a video to address things via social media and sje thought about a song too: “but to be honest with you I didn’t know what to say or what tone to take.:” With so much uncertainty and feeling like her life was hanging in the balance, Ekelle thought it would be insane to write without knowing the outcome.
“I mentally told myself I would prevail and I wanted the song to to speak to that, but imagine if I had the song prepared and then the opposite happened… Thank God I don’t have to explore that realm at all.” — Ekelle reflecting on the relevance of her single.
“I simply wanted to tell my story,” Ekelle specifically states on why she wanted to make the song. Ekelle wanted to bring more of her and her life experiences to her music so that’s literally all she did with this song. “The fact that it’s coming out at this specific time is what some would call a coincidence,” she continues, “but I think it’s actually meant to be.” When Ekelle wrote this song she had no idea the Black Lives Matter movement would explode the way it did, giving way to more political art in the mainstream. “I think the universe is providing me with some sort of cosmic karma for making it through,” Ekelle continues.
“It’s honestly because B. Morales was helping me arrange the track order,” Ekelle explains on why she released the single, “we went with ‘Gimmie’ first because it was meant to be released in Pride month.” Ekelle and her team wanted a pattern of upbeat song, down tempo song: “I think it’s really perfect timing because many of us aren’t talking about the fight for racial equality anymore so I think ‘Dropped’ will serve as a gentle reminder.” Ekelle is really happy that this story won’t fall onto deaf ears, and thinks that everyone is listening now and a lot of us want change.