Singer-songwriter Yebba has taken the industry by quiet storm with her debut album Dawn. The set, which marries folk, pop and R&B in her own unique way, has songs that seem to linger long after you’ve pressed play. The studio versions of the songs have their resonance, but as Yebba has shown us before, her songs really bloom when they’re performed live. We get another chance to hear just that through her Live At Electric Lady EP, which she made in collaboration with the Spotify Singles campaign.
The set reimagines four songs from Dawn — “One More Smile,” “October Sky,” “Louie Bag” and “Paranoia Purple” — as well as a cover of John Mayer‘s “The Age Of Worry.” She works with a stacked deck of backing musicians such as Questlove, Pino Palladino and Charles Myers, who help her bring her emotional songs to life. In some cases, she leans more into the folk feel, as the singer does with this haunting version of “October Sky.” In others, she’s spinning hip-hop influenced R&B into something more ghostly and haunting, as she does with this bare-bones take on “Louie Bag.”
The intimate feel of the sessions also brings a different light to “Paranoia Purple,” which gets a boost from the addition of a string quartet that brings out different emotional chords than were initially struck on the album version. The biggest moment, however, is her cover of “The Age Of Worry.” A soft pop-rock tune in Mayer’s hands, it becomes something almost akin to Simon & Garfunkel‘s “Scarborough Fair” when Yebba sings it (a feat that even garnered praise from Mayer himself when he heard her version).
“Rerecording some of these songs with fresh eyes and ears really changed the way we approached them,” said Yebba’s band leader James Francies. “Having the core members of the band from Dawn really brought that feeling of what it was like the past few years when we recorded it. From Questlove, to Pino, to Charles [Myers] and the string quartet, I think we all found comfort in being in a familiar space with familiar people. It felt like a family reunion.”
That family vibe is felt on Yebba’s Live At Electric Lady. The EP is a Spotify exclusive for now, but you can stream it right here and take a peek at the EP’s live recording sessions with videos for “The Age Of Worry” and “Louie Bag.”