100% EFÉ: Dublin’s bedroom pop prodigy

Photography by Adam Kelleher

As the 22-year-old releases her new EP Vitamin C, we quiz the Glasto-certified artist on life’s most urgent questions. What was that about Beyoncé and the Illuminati, EFÉ?

Anita Ikharo, the Dublin-based musician better known as EFÉ, has a knack for making syrupy-sweet bedroom pop. A self-professed lockdown artist”, the 22-year-old self-released her debut EP, What Should We Do This Summer, via SoundCloud in 2020. Since then, she’s bagged herself a record deal and has just released her energetic new project, Vitamin C. It’s essentially a coming-of-age EP, with four tracks that see her getting to grips with the music industry while pretty much closed off from the outside world.

I feel like the whole theme of the EP is codependency – that’s what the C in Vitamin C stands for,” EFÉ says. While I was working on it, I was really down and kept having to rely on people to help me produce and make songs. Then one day, I decided to stick to it and try my best to make something.”

The first song that emerged from these growing pains was Loving Girl, a lo-fi, rock-influenced ballad about trying to make a relationship work. Thinking bout you really hurts my head but/​At least I tried/​Wish that I could help myself/​That shit’s just hard,she sings alongside melancholy guitar riffs, before crescendoing into a longing chorus: I wanna be your loving girl”.

Trying to make a rock song was initially a bit of a joke in my eyes,” EFÉ continues. But I showed it to my friends and they were like, This is actually really cool.’ I was like, Yes, this is the song.’”

Vitamin Cs other standouts include the dreamy KIWI and LIME, a subtle anthem about knowing your worth in an industry that’s infamous for chipping away at individuality.

Having already played Glastonbury’s Greenpeace stage this summer (“So scary but so much fun”) and supported JPEGMAFIA in her home city, EFÉ’s gearing up for Boardmasters festival this weekend. And in November, she’ll support indie artist Still Woozy on tour. But even though her schedule is packed for the foreseeable, she’s taking it all in her stride.

I’m growing creatively for sure,” she says. I’ve now got the opportunity to facilitate my ideas, and the resources are in place for me to achieve what I want to do. It’s really exciting.” Scroll down for your 100% fill on EFÉ.

10% Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?

I was born in Nigeria and then moved to Ireland when I was one. Now I’m living in Dublin.

20% What kinds of emotions and experiences influence your work?

Vitamin C is about my experience in the music industry and how people make you feel like you really need them in order to succeed. You need to trust your own instincts. I feel like I can tell who wants to work with me for the right reasons.

30% What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?

Just focus on the art and everything else will come later on: money, respect. Believe in yourself and your ideas.

40% What’s the most pointless fact you can share?

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

50% If you ruled the world for a day, what would go down?

I’d fix world hunger and global warming.

60% If you could travel back in time to watch one iconic music act perform, who would it be and in what era of their career?

The Juliana Hatfield Three – they heavily inspired Loving Girls. That 90s music is so cool.

70% What is a bad habit that you wish you could kick?

The constant feeling of like, oh my gosh, what should I say when I talk to new people? It’s the most annoying thing.

80% Like, love, hate?

I love Nigerian food so much. I like McDonald’s. I hate Burger King.

90% At what point in your life did you realise you could do what you loved for a living?

When I was very, very young. I was like, I am destined to make music and become a superstar. I had this crazy confidence. And then I started listening to Beyoncé and watching Illuminati videos on YouTube. They made me so scared! I thought the Illuminati were going to find me and force me to join them, so I stopped singing for a whole year.

100% What do you think artists can do to help save the world?

Just keep doing what they’re doing. Even during Covid, people relied on artistry to get them through it, whether that was movies, music, art. Keep making great stuff that connects with you, because it’ll probably connect with other people, too.

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