E.J. Labb delivers melodic, thought-provoking rap lyrics over hip-hop infused rock to introduce a sound that is both unique and universal. The music mixes rock influence and traditional instruments with popular music for a widespread appeal.
Hailing from the suburbs of Boston, it was after her first musical performance in early 2002 with Labb, her brother Dana’s band, that E.J. (Erica J. Labb) realized she found her true calling. That summer, producer Jimmy "Jimbone" Robertson Landry, approached E.J. about collaborating and the two teamed up to continue writing and begin recording her first EP.
From the start, E.J and Jimmy clicked with songwriting, influences and styles - and merged to create a fresh, innovative sound. In early 2003, E.J. finished recording the Nomad EP and began playing live shows at Boston venues like Harper’s Ferry, TT the Bear’s and the Paradise Lounge with Jimmy and her brother to support the EP.
A year later in 2004, continuing to work with Jimmy in the studio, E.J.’s live performance transformed into an all-female show forming The Free Association, a female trio that includes drummer Rachel Fuhrer, DJ and backing vocalist Heidi Lasker and soulful vocalist Whitney Retallic. The Free Association, which played their first show together with E.J. in September 2004, complement E.J’s performance which was described by the Boston Globe as "..both sexy and tough... onstage her performance is all about energy.” The group has continued to play in venues throughout Boston and as well as playing festivals on the East Coast including the Dewey Beach Popfest, the Black Potatoe Festival and NEMO.
In the fall of of 2005, E.J. & the Free hooked up with producer Nicolas Farmakalidis and released an EP. In the fall of 2006, the group not only performed at the Boston Music Awards but was nominated in the Outstanding Rap/Hip-Hop Category. EJ is currently in the studio working on new material with JERM, a new Boston group releasing music now!
E.J. Labb - vocals/rap
Heidi Lasker - DJ, backing vocals
JERM - A new group working in the studio now!!
E.J. Labb & The Free Association (EP)
"Beautiful Thing" and "Rise Up" have been featured on Boston radio stations. "Nomad" has been featured on several promotional cd's. "Beautiful Thing" has been played on Spiderbite Radio.
Labb experiment: She mixes rap, rock in a swaggering fusion
[+ Show ]
By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff September 5, 2004 SOMERVILLE -- E. J. Labb is on her knees. She's ...By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff September 5, 2004
SOMERVILLE -- E. J. Labb is on her knees. She's dressed in military-green cargo pants, and a bra strap peeks out from her baggy white T-shirt. Holding the microphone close to her lips, she hovers over a spiral-bound notebook in front of her. Over a steady beat, she rattles off rap lyrics from handwritten pages and rhythmically flings her fingers toward the floor.
It's only a rehearsal, but her stage presence -- both sexy and tough -- comes through.
On Tuesday, Labb (a.k.a. Erica J. Labb) will bring her rhymes and tomboyish swagger to the Paradise Lounge, supported by a three-woman band; Rachel Fuhrer plays drums and Heidi Lasker and Whitney Retallic provide soulful backup vocals.
Hip-hop permeates Labb's sound, but it's still difficult to label what she does. "I don't consider myself a rapper, but I rap," she says. "It's a fusion of a lot of different influences."
Her musical roots begin with her family. As kids, Labb and her two younger siblings would lock themselves in the basement of their Wayland home and listen to Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, and the Rolling Stones. Today, her younger brother Dana fronts a rock band called Labb.
"He got me started in all this," she says. "He knew I liked to write and perform, so he invited me to perform with his band."
A few years ago she rapped to that group's songs, and later she teamed with Jimmy Robertson Landry, a musician who runs the local Boston production company Audiostrike, to make her own demo.
"The style of her music is a mix, which is a cool thing. It encompasses hip-hop and rap. It encompasses rock, pop, and good melodies," says Landry. "And there's not a lot of girl rappers out there."
Labb first performed some gigs last year with her brother and Landry playing guitar and keyboards. When they became tied up with their own projects, she says, "I began looking for a new group to perform with. Now it's all women."
She found three 20-something female musicians to play with and lay down the music, recruiting Fuhrer, the former drummer from Chelsea on Fire, along with DJ and singer Lasker and vocalist Retallic.
But music remains a family affair: Her mother, father, brother, and sister attend her shows, as well as her aunts, uncles, and cousins.
"It's an amazing feeling when you are performing in front of an audience. I feel lucky that people come out to the shows and then come back with more of their friends," Labb says. "I'm gonna keep writing and performing as long as people come out to see me.
"And thankfully, I do enjoy my day job," adds Labb, who works as an administrator at a nursing home in Boston and is looking for a record deal.
Among hip-hop influences, Labb cites Young MC, Rob Base, LL Cool J, Run DMC, and Eminem. (Labb's song "Nomad" is reminiscent of the Beastie Boys' "Check Your Head" album from the early 1990s.) Onstage, her performance is all about energy.
People say, "oh she's a white female rapper," says Labb. "My sister, when she tells her friends, they're shocked."
But, she continues, "when people see it, they get it."
Produced by Jimmy Landry. Try "Nomad" with its Moby meets Luscious Jackson meets Garbage hook.
Boston Music Awards 2006
[+ Show ]
EJ Labb was nominated "Best Rap/Hip Hop act of the year" at the 2006 Boston music Awards. This marks...EJ Labb was nominated "Best Rap/Hip Hop act of the year" at the 2006 Boston music Awards. This marks the first time that a female act was nominated in this category.
Crash a Party
City of Boston
Jump Around (cover)
90's Rap Medley
Get it Started/Fat Joe (cover)
No Way! with JERM
Namaste with JERM
Proclimation with JERM
Sweet Home/Bust a Move Mash up!
There are no upcoming dates at this time.