Erica Cody: Our New VBF

R&B singer from Dublin has put in the hustle to make her passion a career

Erica Cody: ‘Growing up in Ireland, I found it difficult for people to accept my image, especially my skin tone and hair.’

Erica Cody: ‘Growing up in Ireland, I found it difficult for people to accept my image, especially my skin tone and hair.’

 

For the last 18 months, there’s been hype building around the Dublin R&B singer-songwriter Erica Cody, who has shared a stage with established and respected acts like the incredible UK singer Mahalia and living legends En Vogue, but with the release of her debut EP, Leoness, she’s getting ready to match the hype.

With a knack for calling it like it is, Cody doesn’t shy away from big topics, like being black and Irish, on her EP but she exudes a confidence in her identity that she’s literally bottling up and selling for us. Joining the ranks of Ireland’s incredible growing R&B and hip-hop scene, she’s using her mahogany voice to speak up for people who haven’t found theirs yet, while giving us some serious beats to bop to (see: Over and Over). And that’s the kind of generosity we like from our VBF. 

Music wasn’t always Cody’s main focus. The Baldoyle local split her time between songwriting and playing basketball as a kid, with an eventual goal to move to the United States to pursue a professional basketball career but an anterior cruciate ligament injury forced her to rethink her future.

Cancer

Luckily, the drive she had for sport was easily transported to her music. As a child, she kept a journal to document her feelings when her mother was sick with cancer, and these notes, she realised, could be turned into songs. A Christmas present of an iTouch meant that she began producing her own work when she was 15. With a background as a Billie Barry kid, if she couldn’t make it to centre court, centre stage was a far better alternative and she went on to play her first live gig when she was 15, supporting the Nigerian singer WizKid in Citywest.

At just 22 years of age, she has an impressive CV that also includes studying vocals in BIMM Dublin. Cody has put in the hustle to make her passion a career and this hard work can be heard on Leoness. Songs like Good Intentions draw on the R&B music that her parents listened to at home, like Stevie Wonder, SWV and Lauryn Hill, but she modernises that soundboard with pulsating electronic beats.

Erica Cody’s debut EP Leoness is out on April 12th
Erica Cody’s debut EP Leoness is out on April 12th

Steering away from the overly experimental stylings of FKA Twigs or Kelela, the bones of her music is old-school 90s but with her confessional lyrics, she puts a piece of herself into her music so listeners can latch on. Growing up in Dublin with a white mother and a black father from South Carolina, Cody always stood out in the playground and Where U Really From captures the frustrations of people always asking her that question.

This empowering stamp on her identity has also led her to launch a campaign called Don’t Touch My Hair (DTMH) as a bid for young people to accept who they are.

Confrontation

“Growing up in Ireland, I found it difficult for people to accept my image, especially my skin tone and hair. I would regularly let people touch my hair so I wouldn’t come across as ‘rude’ or to avoid confrontation however as I grew older, I started to realise my self-worth and love my features and beautiful heritage,” she explains.

“Just because I’ve a darker skin tone and bigger hair is simply not an open invitation to push boundaries by touching my hair or the need to know my history – I’m black. I’m Irish. I am me.”

Leoness is out on April 12th and Erica Cody plays The Grand Social on April 11th. Tickets are €14.45 and are on sale now from Ticketmaster.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.