Daily Discovery is a feature that highlights a new or recently discovered artist who we’re excited about. See the rest of our Daily Discoveries here.
Ebhoni Cato-O'Garro—better known as simply EBHONI—is only 16, but the Toronto singer already winning over thousands of new fans, and this is just the beginning. It started on YouTube, but over the last eight months she's been finding a more unique lane, and SoundCloud is being extremely receptive. She combines some traditional songwriting elements, like clean R&B melodies and memorable choruses, with a youthful, modern approach and forward-thinking production. Get familiar with EBHONI below.
Can you introduce yourself? Who are you, where are you from?
My name is Ebhoni Cato-O'Garro, I go by EBHONI and I am a 16-year-old singer/songwriter, born and raised in Toronto.
When did you start making music?
I began recording when I was 10, and discovered that I could actually express myself, in my own words, through music when I was 11. That was my first time writing and recording my own song. It was called "Just Smile." It wasn't bad for my first go at it. It actually didn't do bad at all on YouTube.
Around that time, much like a lot of other artists, I started using YouTube as a platform to share my original music as well as covers. That was a great outlet for me.
What kind of music did you grow up listening to, and what are you listening to now?
Thanks to my dad, I grew up listening to some of what I consider to be the greats... I am in love with DMX, Biggie, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Erykah Badu, and of course Beyoncé... that's to name a few. To be honest, I still listen to all of those same people now. Of course I listen to Drake. I mean, if Canada had a president, he'd be it!
The first song I heard from you is "BYE BABY." Can you tell us a little about that song?
"Bye Baby" was produced by a fellow Toronto native who goes by the name XELARAIN. What's interesting about this song was that both XELARAIN and I appreciate a darker sound—which isn’t exactly the case on “Bye Baby.” When he sent this beat amongst a few others, as you heard, it is so different, almost what I would call bubble gum pop. I loved it.
Writing to it was FUN! It allowed me to bring out a different character and share annoying experiences I feel a lot of people can relate to but at the same time, I still tried to keep it that light feeling that the beat has.
XELARAIN and I really work well together and we have some more songs that we will be releasing together very soon!
What do you look for in production? The beat on "BYE BABY" is crazy, feels very fresh.
I find it interesting that you say "Bye Baby" sounds "fresh," as XELARAIN's signature sound in a lot of his production is water. In production I really look for what sounds different, what makes me feel good or brings an emotion out of me. Either that, or I look for production where there is room for me to bring something different vocally, something more creative, that will compliment the song.
Is music a full-time thing for you now, or are you still focused on school and other things?
Considering I am still only 16, I am in school, in grade 12. But music is my full-time focus. I go to school in the day and I’m in the studio most evenings and weekends. Luckily for me, I do have some online courses. That definitely helps.
What's it like making music in Toronto right now? On one hand, it seems like it's an inspiring place with a lot of resources for young artists. On the other hand, competition must be high. Is it hard getting noticed when so many other artists from your city are on the rise?
I agree there is some really amazing talent in Toronto, definitely some people to look up to and admire.
I don't see anyone as competition though. I feel like I am in my own lane and I have found my own sound, which isn't easy to do. I am focused. I make moves very strategically and I plan carefully when it comes to my music. Most of my fan base is within the US and Europe. I wouldn’t say I’ve really even broken out in my own city, yet.
On the other hand, I have a very close and experienced team mainly from Toronto that understands me and my vision well. My main producer and engineer is OPIUM, another Toronto native has worked with me since I was 13. I feel with that type of support system, it might not make your journey any easier, but it does help you uncover who you are as an artist, push some boundaries, stay consistent, but more importantly make quality music. I think that has played a part in my success so far, separating me from other artists in general.
What's your ultimate goal with music?
To have my music heard and loved by as many people as possible. Ultimately, to be iconic!
What are the next steps?
I am wrapping everything for my EP up now. I will be dropping my first single from the EP in early December and the EP will be released in February, I am super excited for that.
There is just so much in 2017 that I can't wait to share with everyone!!!