Good As Golden: Eternia Interview

There was something different about Eternia on stage last Thursday night, rocking in front of a packed house in Brooklyn’s Southpaw performance venue.

The Canadian Emcee has forged her own corner of the Rap-o-sphere, kicking a combination of raucous lyrical exercise and respected vulnerability at every juncture during her artistic journey, always harnessing her femininity, never pimping her sexuality. Her 2010 album, At Last -- with Toronto producer Moss -- embodied quintessential boom-bap balanced by ET’s visceral depictions of life’s realities. And arguably most notably, her live show always rocks righteously.

But on this night, showcasing fresh new musical elements, a fresh new hair do, conducting the crowd with a fresh new demeanor -- Eternia shined like a shrine in Peru. She was polished and powerful and held the audience in the palm of her hand. It was a testament to the thousands of hours of practice and experimentation that she’s logged thus far. It was a testament to her perpetual artistic evolution. spoke with Eternia following her “Ladies First” performance, discussing her Brooklyn home, her Emcee-response on “It’s Funny” and how she’s “good as golden at a rap show.”

BB: At this point now, Southpaw is your home, right?

ET: Yeah, it’s family. So, I guess I have an advantage. I have an at home advantage.

BB: But you’re not from [New York] with that advantage. You have a home-and-home advantage [with your hometown, Toronto, Canada].

ET: There was one time when Jah C introduced me -- I don’t know who I was opening for -- and he was like, “She represents Canada. She calls New York home.” And I felt like he hit the nail on the head. I’ve never said that but I was like, “Yeah, that’s true.” So a lot of people are like, “Yo, how long are you in town for?” And I’m like, “I’ve been in town for five years. Don’t tell nobody. Don’t tell nobody.” [Laughs]

BB: You’re all over the world. I feel like I’m constantly hearing about you performing somewhere in another country somewhere. But, you rock this crowd on a regular basis now and you’re performance is changing. You’re rocking [with the mic on the stand] more now, swaying almost as if you’re conducting the crowd, like they’re your orchestra.

ET: Thank you. I’ll have to watch the video back. I didn’t know that.

BB: You felt it. You were feeling your flow on stage.

ET: I’ll tell you how I felt. Today I felt really relaxed on stage to the point where I almost thought, “Am I too boring right now?” because I was so relaxed. It was so much like home that I was like, maybe I need to step up my game a bit and not seem so relaxed. You know how sometimes when people have been performing for a very long time and they are no longer amateurs and they’re professionals, they lose a little bit of that fire? So halfway through my set I’m like, “Man, I’m really relaxed right now. I’ve got to bring some fire!” So it felt really relaxed.

BB: It’s more polished now. It looks like you’re moving up to the next level, you’re going to a new place. I saw you at Sputnik Bar maybe a year and a half ago.

ET: Was that the “We Got A Record Deal Party” or MC Lyte?

BB: MC Lyte.

ET: Oh yeah, yeah. That was a good show.

BB: It was a great show. It was different vibe of what you’re doing. Then I saw you at Southpaw [months later] and you were doing the same thing. And now [tonight’s show] is very new. And it’s working.

ET: Aw man, thank you. That’s what I wanted it to be like. A lot of my friends came tonight and I kept on saying to them, “You do not want to miss this set. This set specifically.” There was a lot of new elements that we threw in, especially the saxophone player, Sean Nowell. I did new songs that I’ve never [performed] before. And you know what, it’s always scary doing the slow joints -- like the slow serious songs because you’re like -- “They’re not crowd rocking joints.” So you think to yourself, “Should I even do these.” And then, they get the crowd the most dope and you’re like, “Why did I ever doubt the fact that they would be ready for that” and that’s what we did today. We did a lot stuff that most people would be like, “Yo, this ain’t a crowd rocking joint.”

BB: Following Joell Ortiz’s verse on “It’s Funny” [off of your album At Last with Moss], I really thought that you [responded like an Emcee] with your verse. I don’t know if a lot of Emcees think like Emcees anymore. Was that a conscious [response]?


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