By Madison Vain
February 04, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST
Steven Taylor

Mikky Ekko has a lot to talk about. He just dropped his debut LP, Time, announced a tour with Broods, and is now anouncing another string of tour dates with Kimbra for April. “Kimbra’s been true to her art from day one. It’s that kind of passion that gets me excited about being an artist. Can’t wait to be on the road with her,” Ekko said. 

The same could easily be said for Ekko. His “break” came in 2012 when Rihanna released his song “Stay” (Ekko was the guest vocal and performed alongside her at the Grammys), and while many expected an album to follow, Ekko didn’t feel the collection was ready. “I know for some people it’s like, ‘Oh, why did it take so long?’ But I literally wrote more than 230 songs, and when you’re narrowing that kind of list down, it gets really intense.” So he delayed—a couple of times. “The album was originally slotted for November 2013, and I said to my label, ‘I know we’re all excited about this album, but I know there’s one more song I have to write.’ And then between January and March of 2014, I wrote five songs that are all on the album—three of them are singles, and one of them is the album title.” 

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The late-addition title track was co-written by Fraser T. Smith (who co-wrote Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain”) and, if pressed, is Ekko’s favorite because it was “the only song I was able to take back to Nashville and record with all my best friends. And I think you can hear it. There’s something about Nashville for me, and my journey between these two places, that comes out in that recording. I knew as soon as we finished it had to be the album title.” 

It becomes obvious quickly speaking to Ekko that picking a favorite song was going to be the easiest in narrowing tasks. Conversations on influences (electronic musician Actress’ third album, R.I.P., Clams Casino) and dream collaborations (John Hopkins and Guy Garvey of Elbow) lead down enormously varied, story-filled roads, and that’s because what Ekko loves, he really loves—even Twitter. When it was mentioned how many collaborations come about because of social media (his own with Blood Diamonds included), he remarked, “It’s a beautiful thing. That’s what so special about the time we’re in—you can do anything. I genuinely believe there is nothing you can’t achieve as a human being right now. If you’re pushing yourself as hard as the artists of yesteryear, to make something truly special, then we’ll get over this hump of self-gratifying laziness and create something for the grandchildren of 2075—and that’s what I’m interested in creating.” It’s infectious—that little blue icon held a slightly different significance that day (not to mention the music-library exploration). 

That zeal is equally as evident when speaking of his own sound and goals. He is often classified as a pop musician, but he says, “My goal with this project was always to find my own lane—to cut away the noise and to find a place where people could come and it was just me. I don’t think there’s a song on this album where you hear it and its like, ‘Oh that’s a song that sounds like such-and-such.’ When people want to hear Mikky Ekko, they go to Mikky Ekko.”

Mikky Ekko’s tour kicks off in New York in the middle of February. A full list of dates are listed below. 

Feb.18: New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall

Mar.4: San Diego, CA – Irenic *

Mar.5: Los Angeles, CA – The Fonda *

Mar.6: Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory *

Mar.7: San Francisco, CA – Regency *

Mar.9: Seattle, WA – Neumos *

Mar.10: Vancouver, BC – Imperial *

Mar.11: Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom *

Mar.13: Salt Lake City, UT – Complex *

Mar.14: Denver, CO – Bluebird *

Mar.15: Kansas City, MO – Arvest Bank Theatre *

Mar.16: Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line *

Mar.17: Milwaukee, WI – The Rave *

Mar.18: Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge *

Apr.8: San Diego, CA – North Park Theatre !

Apr.9: Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre !

Apr.11: San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore !

Apr.13: Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre !

Apr.14: Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom !

Apr.16: Orangevale, CA – The Boardwalk !

Apr.18: Las Vegas, NV – Hard Rock Live Las Vegas !


* = w/ Broods

! = w/ Kimbra