The hauntingly beautiful voice of Mikky Ekko (born John Stephen Sudduth) is just enough to put anyone in a carefree trance and temporarily lift the weight of the world off of your shoulders. The soothing vocals of Ekko were featured on the 2013 track “Stay,” a single off of Rihanna’s seventh studio album titled Unapologetic. In fact, along with English songwriter Justin Parker, Mikky Ekko originally wrote the song “Stay.” It became Ekko’s first charting material and the breakout hit that kick-started his career as a singer. Mikky Ekko was originally known for his songwriting capabilities and for being a record producer signed to RCA Records. After Mikky began working as a songwriter for other artists, he had a sudden realization of becoming a singer himself. A few years later and the 29 year old musician’s catalog contains 5 EPs along with an expected debut album currently in the works.
Mikky Ekko led a very nomadic lifestyle as a kid growing up. He was originally born in Shreveport, Louisana but his family relocated to places like Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee where he began getting into music. While he was briefly located in Mississippi, Ekko won battle of bands for his band’s, Rhymes With Orange, musical performance at the University of Mississippi. This was Mikky’s first musical effort and during his time in the band they became locally famous in the small town of Pontotoc. After his time in Mississippi, Ekko began playing in multiple bands based in Nashville, Tennessee. The singer was raised by his preacher father (John Sudduth) and mother (Karen Sudduth) and grew up singing in church. He gravitated to a lot of gospel music as a kid, but as he grew older he began to venture into the sounds of Soundgarden, Nirvana, Radiohead, and the Pixies. This music inspired him to form his own band, play in multiple bands, and begin writing songs for other artists.
Ekko later came to the realization that he wanted to pursue his own solo music and begin writing his own material for himself. In 2009, he released his first EP, titled Strange Fruit,which included mostly A Capella tracks, but featured the first songs he had written by himself, for himself. After his first solo release, he continued to play and tour with Nashville group Ten Out of Tenn throughout the fall of 2009. On June 29, 2010 Mikky released his second EP, titled Reds,and shortly after released his third, Blues, later that year. Ekko’s music began to attract the attention of the music industry and experimental hip-hop producer Clams Casino, who previously produced tracks for ASAP Rocky and Lil B. Mikky began to work with Clams Casino, who helped him develop the persona of “Mikky Ekko”.
2013 proved to be a significant year for the indie pop musician. Ekko wrote and was featured on the song “Stay” with Rihanna, which was off of her seventh studio album Unapologetic. The song put Mikky Ekko on the radar by becoming a chart success in multiple countries. “Stay” charted top five in nineteen countries across the globe including France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Switzerland, and New Zealand. Mikky landed a number four spot on the UK Singles Chart and number three on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song also landed Ekko a performance at the 2013 Grammy Awards where the singer performed “Stay” together with Rihanna for the first time. However, Mikky Ekko’s talents have beyond surpassed the popular featured song. During the same year Mikky released two EPs, titled tracks, and live songs from iTunes Festival: London 2013. The indie pop singer is currently working with Clams Casino on his forthcoming album Time (2014). The album reportedly contains a bunch of guest features, including Benny Blanco, Ryan Tedder, and Stargate. Ekko has most recently released “Smile,” which serves as a lead single off of Time.
Until his first full-length debut, you can listen to songs like “Who Are You, Really?,” “Kids,” and “Pull Me Down” to completely fall in love with the truly captivating Mikky Ekko.
By Lisa Holahan