EBIE is the “next big pop/rock superstar,” in her own words. The 28-year-old has been surrounded by music her entire life, especially drawing from her mom’s side of the family. Growing up in the valley somewhere between Woodland Hills and Calabasas, the “Girl Crush” singer-songwriter states “there’s no place like Los Angeles.”
Having travelled the world, EBIE loves nothing more than to come home to the city of Angels. But her biggest obstacle is convincing her peers that she’s not a recording artist in the urban space, but rather draws influences from music’s greatest pop and rock stars such as Ellie Goulding and Halsey. Essentially if Kanye West and Avril Lavigne had a baby, you’d get EBIE.
With her father, the legendary Eazy-E, passing away when she was 4 years old, she continues to live out his legacy by doing what she loves every single waking moment of her day: music. In the future, EBIE sees herself as one of the greatest to ever do it, following her own vision and path with no ties to the assumptions you’d expect from being a rapper’s daughter.
Most recently, EBIE unleashed her new single “Heart Hurts,” inspired by a recent break-up. Each release comes equipped with real-life experiences and emotions, something her fans can relate to in any given situation. Flaunt Mag caught up with EBIE to discuss her musical background, her lip piercing, linking with Sonny Digital, and more.
Why do you say you’re a cross between Kanye and Avril?
With Kanye just being a creative genius overall, him really speaking his mind and being true to himself no matter what. Even his fashion sense is very similar to me. Then Avril of course, she’s my idol. She’s literally what I grew up on. Musically and artistically, I definitely have a lot of Avril Lavigne influence in my music and me as an artist overall. Also, I’m mixed too. [chuckles] With my background being half white and half black, it just makes so much sense. It puts you in my mindframe, my artistry, just me as a person.
I like your lip ring, it’s super cute on you.
Thank you! I lost my little ball. This is 9 years deep. I’m getting ready to get a bunch more piercings though. I’m a piercing person. No tattoos, piercings.
My dermal piercing is the worst.
Crazy story: when I went to go get this done, I’d been debating on it for 6 months. I wanted a piercing, I didn’t know what I wanted. I was 18, it was a while ago. One day, I decided “we’re going today.” Actually, I was going to get a dermal here in my face [points to cheek]. My friend’s like “I’m taking you to the best piercer!” We go there that day, her piercier is not there. It’s this other girl, but I was set on “today is the day to get my piercing.” Miley Cyrus happened to be in there getting tattoos with her friend.
Where was this?
This was in Studio City on Ventura, Miley just started talking to me. She’s like “what are you getting?” I said “oh I’m getting this dermal…” She told me her brother had gotten it and it got infected, and it was the worst piercing. She’s like “don’t get it!” I’m like “fuck it, I’m here. I’ma go ahead and do the lip.” So the girl ended up doing my lip. She wasn’t the best piercer, my lip blew up so much. It hurt really bad because she was fighting to get through, but I still have it to this day and I love it. Shout out to Miley Cyrus.
How does LA influence you musically?
To be honest, I don’t even have the answer for that. My style of music, most of the artists that have influenced me… like Avril is Canadian. Other than Gwen Stefani, she’s from here. I draw a lot of inspiration from Nashville, different places. LA has an influence on me as a person, but not necessarily strictly my music. I’m very worldly. I’m well-traveled, I draw inspiration from everywhere.
Congrats on your new single “Heart Hurts.” What were you going through?
I actually wrote that record based off a break up. It’s something that most people can relate to. Not even just girls, guys too. Everybody experiences heartbreak at some point. Not even in relationships, it could be friendships ending. You lost somebody, whatever. I really just tapped into my own emotions when I went in there. I remember doing the hook first: “my heart hurts…” [sings]. I actually sat with that for months before I even wrote the verses, it just felt so emotional. The beat itself drew out so much of my personal emotions. Again, it’s so relatable. It’s my own personal experience, which is a breakup. [laughs]
Has he heard it?
Actually, yeah. He hasn’t said nothing yet, but I know he has heard it.
Talk about going the pop route, and being compared to the likes of Ellie Goulding and Halsey.
It’s so crazy because for many years, it was hard for me. People who knew my background or where I came from, it was really hard to step out and be a pop/rock artist. I’ve been doing music my whole life, but now the music industry and the world has changed so much. It’s more accepted to be who you are.
When I first started doing music, it was at a time where the only other mixed girl who was doing my style of music was Fefe Dobson. It was really hard to get out there and break that barrier and become Avril. Now, it’s more accepted. Now, it’s my time. There’s a time for everybody and everything. I grew up on Gwen, Avril, Hayley Williams, now Ellie Goulding, Halsey. This is my life. I’m looking to be like Ellie Goulding and be on big movie soundtracks. I do have a band. I have my drummer from Toronto, so I’m gearing up. I’m just ready. I’m about to finish my EP and get ready to start going on tour.
Talk about the trap production on the record, and your selection of beats.
For this particular record, it’s more a fusion of all my musical influences. It’s very EDM, it’s very pop. There’s some urban influences in that. I just asked for something… because I was working on different styles of records at the time. One of my old singles, “Girl Crush,” I had worked with Sonny Digital. Around the time when Katy Perry had put out “Dark Horse” (or a little before), that was the first time people heard mixing trap with pop vocals. It’s crazy because I thought I was so ahead of the game. I remember talking to Sonny being like “let’s do this!” Because he was so big in the urban world. He’s one of my best friends. I’m like “look, let’s come together. Let me do my vocals on this.” Back then, people didn’t even really understand how to mix that. I remember I put out “Girl Crush” and not too long after, Katy Perry came with that “Dark Horse.” I’m like “I told you! This is what it is.”
I’ve always done my same style of singing, same type of vocals. I’d compare it to maybe a B.o.B and Hayley Williams’ “Airplanes.” Even if I was to do something urban, you’re still going to hear my pop and rock influences a lot. I have a few other records but I chose this one because I did feel it’d bring together all the different fans I do have already — which is in urban and also in the pop/rock world as well.
How did you link with Sonny Digital?
We’re actually family friends, so through family. He became one of my best friends. When he first got going, his first big thing was “Racks on Racks” [by YC and Future]. Being from Atlanta and coming out to LA, he didn’t know anyone or know anything so I was always his point person out here. We’d go out to eat at all the poppin’ restaurants. I’d take him to different clubs, etc. Throughout his whole rise, he was bringing lots of other people out here. I remember Metro Boomin before he really blew up. People like Migos, they’d always come here. Whether they’re doing their own thing or whatever, they’d still link up with Sonny and I’d always be his LA point person.
Is there anything you learned from him just being in the studio?
Um… no. [laughs] He might have learned something from me. Sonny’s more to himself, I’m a lot more outgoing. He’s more producer, I’m more artist. I’d say we’re both kind of weird. We’re both water signs. We do completely different types of stuff. It was like an opposites attract type of thing, we just worked.
I know you want to separate from the hip-hop assumptions being Eazy-E’s daughter, but can you bring us back to your upbringing?
Being my dad’s daughter, it’s very bittersweet. He did pass away when I was really young, I was 4 years old. What I do remember being around him is really just him being my dad. It’s not like I knew at that age he was going to be some legendary rapper or he’d have such an impact on people. I remember just having a lot of fun with him, spending a lot of time in his office. I spent a lot of time in his office. Just him coming home late at night, lots of my memories are him kissing me on my forehead in the middle of the night.
Because I do completely different music, I don’t really like that stigma of “you’re Eazy-E’s daughter, you have to be this certain type of artist.” I’ve gotten that for many years. I’m really trying to break away from being Eazy-E’s daughter, I really just want to be EBIE. I want to get to the point where people don’t know at all and they find out: “oh, Eazy-E happens to be her dad.” Not that EBIE is Eazy-E’s daughter thing. I don’t want to push that first. It doesn’t really give my music a chance because you’re already expecting me to be a rapper or to do strictly urban music.
If I say “oh I’m a singer,” people are like “do you do R&B?” Absolutely not, I’m a rockstar. I’m completely different. My musical background doesn’t even come from my father’s side, it really all comes from my mom’s side of the family. Everybody in my mom’s family sings and plays instruments. Growing up, I didn‘t get into music because of who my father was. It wasn’t even until I was 9 that I started learning “oh my god, my dad was somebody famous.” But I was already in the choir in school. I had already started doing music, that was just in me.
Did you feel that pressure?
I’ve never felt pressure, absolutely never. For years, it’s always me fighting: “listen, I’m not just Eazy-E’s daughter. Whatever you’re expecting of me, that’s not it. You’re going to get something completely different so you might as well just get that out of your brain.” Even earlier years of me doing music, people would be like “well why don’t you just do this? Why don’t you do kiddie rap?”
When I was super young, I’m like “okay, if I’m going to have to rap or do anything, I’m going to at least be like Lauryn Hill.” Because I know how to sing. I know I wanted to sing. I started to do a little bit more of that stuff, I’m like “heck no, I’m not this. I am Gwen. I have to do a whole different style of music, this is not working.” Being an artist, you have to be true to yourself. If you’re not authentic, it’s not even going to come out right. If I even try to be more like my father, it’s not even going to work. You’re going to look at me on stage like “this does not even fit this girl, at all.”
Where did you get the name EBIE?
So my real name is Erin Bria Wright, but I’ve basically been called EBIE my entire life. My grandmother gave me the name EBIE so it’s obviously my first and middle initial, then she ended up spelling it out E-B-I-E. Most of my life, it was just E.B. But every birthday card, Christmas card, my grandmother signed it EBIE. A couple years ago I actually changed my name to honor her. It’s actually 10 years this month since my grandmother passed away, so that’s my ode to her.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Whew, it depends because I do so much. Especially right now being independent and trying to get this record off, every day is something creative. I’m getting my merch done right now, coming up with a concept for the music video. The music videos that I have done I’ve creative directed and I’ll be doing the same for this “Heart Hurts” video. Right now, I’m in the middle of sending out the record for a remix.
Who’s on the remix?!
Nobody yet, I do have some good options though. Everyday’s preparing to get on a tour. I’m trying to get my drummer back from Toronto out here, I’m trying to work on getting his Visa. [chuckles] My brain’s scattered all over the place. Usually I wake up. I haven’t worked out in a couple of weeks but typically I’ll go workout. I have to eat, I’m a foodie. If I don’t eat, I’m in the worst mood ever [laughs]. I have to eat something. Most of my day is spent working, grinding, being creative and just working my brain.
What are your go-to food spots in LA?
Oh my gosh, everywhere. My favorite restaurant is BOA, that’s my favorite place. I’m a caesar salad connoisseur, that’s the best caesar salad in the world. I usually get it with prawns. I used to get a spaghetti that’s not on the menu, you just have to know about it. Sometimes a lobster tail. Oh, the cajun crab. I don’t think that’s on the menu either, but it’s fire. It’s so good, I’m obsessed.
3 things you need in the studio?
Hot tea. I need it to be dark. I have to set the vibe. I have to eat whatever I’m craving that day or I’ma be so cranky. That’s literally it, I don’t need too much. I be pretty cold, but I like to record at night time. I’m a Cancer, I just come alive in the night time. I’m really a vampire, I be up all night. I usually like to get in my zone at night. I don’t require too much.
Usually when I record, it’s me and my engineer. Sometimes I’ll have one or 2 extra people in the studio but as far as recording, I like to zone out by myself in the dark. Writing, it depends if I’m writing the record by myself or with other writers. But hot tea, darkness, late night, some food. That’s it.
How important is social media for your career?
Social media is unfortunately important for everybody. [sighs] It’s so important, even trying to build up that fan base. I’m actually reworking my page right now. I had 2,000 posts on there from the start of when I had social media, so you could see my entire life. I had to archive everything, like “okay, literally make it all about my music.” So people can really get into me as an artist and what I have coming now. Social media is everything. These things, these little black mirrors [points to iPhone], this is all we have now at this point. This is your TV, this is your radio, this is everything. It’s extremely important.
Favorite person to follow on IG?
Maybe Will Smith. Will Smith because his page is exciting. It’s very adventurous, it’s motivational. It’s a lot of things in one. Other than that, I follow all these spiritual pages. Then also Cancer horoscopes. I know everything about myself. There’s nothing they can write to tell me about myself, but I still follow them anyway.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I actually just had this conversation the other day, it’s so funny. Outside of music and food, my life is all about sports. I love being a tomboy. I was obsessed with basketball and football, I love football more now. I honestly would’ve ended up being a sports agent or just working in the field. Maybe PR with sports. Or I probably would have started my own record label and had my own artists, if I wasn’t an artist myself. Maybe one day.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself in 10 years already having done a few world tours. At this point, I might be like Gwen judging some show like The Voice [laughs]. I do plan on having a clothing line.