While you are wondering what you will do after Lady Gaga’s climatic death, Ebony Bones is owning it. People have tried to pinpoint a label for her music, but from afropunk to electrofunk, I can only describe it as indescribable. Bones is not the regular kind of artist, and I use artist in the strictest sense here. While a lot of people are complaining about the outrageous costumes women are wearing nowadays to get attention, Bones is coming from a long tradition of musicians who have included fashion in their art. From Grace Jones to Bjork, Bones is stepping out in her own style and she’s no poser.
Bones began her career at twelve years old and attended London’s Sylvia Young Theatre School with classmate Amy Winehouse. Eventually she scored the role of Yasmin Green on the UK television show Family Affairs as one of the youngest cast members, but Bones quickly tired of it. Frustrated by the limits of acting, she began using her dressing room as a recording studio. It was in her own bedroom that her first single, “We Know All About U,” was recorded. With her single uploaded to Myspace, Bones quickly became popular through word of mouth and received comparisons to ESG, Nona Hendryx, and Talking Heads. “We Know All About U” was immediately labeled “The Hottest Record in the World Today” by BBC Radio One and became the most-played unsigned single on the channel.
Her second single, “Don’t Fart On My Heart,” was released and devoured by the British public in a frenzy. It received the same treatment as her first, gaining “The Hottest Record in the World Today” label and heavy airplay. It was soon after that she supported The Slits on tour and music festivals around England. “Bone of My Bones,” her first full-length, was released in 2009. Today Bones, while she might be more obscure in the states, has made her mark in the music industry. She opened for Cee Lo Green during his European tour, and I believe will be headlining herself in a few years.
It’s clear that her acting training was preparation for her theatrical concerts, which consist of an eight-piece band, over-the-top costumes, and, of course, music–all composed by her. Oh, and by the way: there’s no synchronized dancing here. Her band mates use creative instruments: glass bottles and spoons make delicate clinking noises, plastic whistles tweet, and a saxophone fits in perfectly without sounding cheesy.
And unlike her contemporaries, Bones prefers to design her own clothes. Apparently Bones’ costumes are so fantastical that one of her original designs was copped by Rihanna in her “Rude Boy” video. While some might describe her look as clown-like, I think it’s got the right amount of ridiculous mixed with the ironic. In one interview she even claimed to be “not really into fashion.” Perhaps this her way of showing it?
In an interview with Nylon, Bones said she began making music, because she was bored with what she was hearing on the radio, which really isn’t so different from many artists who first start out. What does make Ebony Bones different? She gives it her all, and she’s not selling her soul to do it.
Video for “The Music,” created by videos sent in from fans.