There is not just a message and background of the recent track ‘Human’ by ECKOES, but also a story of how it came to be. Featuring the acclaimed American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist, Dr. Maya Angelou, and extracts of her poem ‘I Am Human’ (which is owned by Oprah Winfrey) it shows the devotion and ambition ECKOES has to her craft and the lengths she endeavoured to make sure the project was complete.
The British-born Nigerian artist says, “I’m a huge fan of everything Maya Angelou did and stood for, but the Maya Angelou excerpt was almost random – a magical cosmic alignment. The song was already titled ‘Human’ when Dee Adam (my producer) and I were listening to some Maya Angelou spoken poems and were stopped by something she said. We looked up at the title of the poem we were listening to, and it was called ‘I Am Human’. Now if that is not a sign, I don’t know what it is! So we threaded her narrative through mine.”
‘Human’ incorporates a multitude of meanings; how ECKOES feels as a young black woman and also a wider message that people need to treat each other better as we are all of equal worth. She says, “Every statistic is made out of individuals – real people, humans. Across the board, people have fought and are fighting very hard for things that should be their due, and I’m saying that we all refuse to go back to a time of accepting anything and saying nothing.”
The track itself is a hot pot of uplifting genres, ambient sounds and beats, rhythmic hand clapping and tribal motions which almost send you into a trance. A splash of dance, reggae, electronic, soul and of course Maya Angelou’s distinctive, rich voice interspersed through ECKOES penetrating vocals and powerful, profound lyrics, “I still wear the scars, they’re underneath my skin, feel the blade cut my melanin.”
The combination of the two voices from different generations turns a very clever, unique song into something quite extraordinary.