The Scotsman Sessions #398: Eyve
Singer/rapper Eyve Madyise was born and raised in Zimbabwe, but has been based in Glasgow for the past ten years, with influences from her birthplace and her adopted home fusing in her music. Her earliest experience of making music was in her church choir, which inspired her first songwriting efforts, while her adolescent ears were drawn across the Atlantic to the superstar sounds of Beyoncé, Celine Dion and Nicki Minaj.
“Growing up in Zimbabwe, I was exposed to a diverse range of musical genres,” she says, “but my religious upbringing made rap music seem unconventional. However, as I grew older, I began to shy away from catering to others’ expectations and began to write songs based on my own life experiences, as well as social and political issues.”
Eyve’s forthcoming EP Sista! Beyond The Sky Isn’t The Limit is her arresting note to self and others to bust conventions and limitations. She has done this in fine style in her personal life, going on to study biological and physical sciences despite receiving little encouragement to pursue STEM careers. She also felt disenfranchised because of her sexuality but found social, cultural and musical family in Scotland through the queer-led ballroom/vogueing scene.
She started rapping in 2019, and made an early live appearance at COP26. Collaborations and connections swiftly followed with an array of respected festivals and organisations such as Counterflows, Cryptic, Musicians in Exile, the Scottish Refugee Council, the Mental Health Foundation, Sonica Surge and We Are Here Scotland. Most recently, she performed at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards and opened for Canadian roots artist Allison Russell at Celtic Connections.
Eyve kicked off her recording career in 2022 with debut single The Status Quo; her debut EP, Go Honey Go, was released last autumn with typical motivational vim and the momentum continues. Despite the dithering title, her recent single Um, Indecisive is a bold showcase for her guttural rapping style and softer singing voice (she sings in both English and Shona). The track is accompanied by her first music video, an Amazonian display of defiance, while she turns in a considerably more domestic performance for the Scotsman Sessions from her flat in Glasgow.
Um, Indecisive is inspired by the struggle to make choices and her own quest for identity, a theme picked up on by her newest release. (Gotta Go) to Therapy harks back to growing up in Zimbabwe, where therapy was scarce. “Witnessing the need for healing, especially among the men in my family, I overcame years of toxicity and self-doubt,” she says. “This transformative track aims to destigmatize therapy and inspire listeners to embark on their own healing journey.”
Eyve has also made an alternative, hedonistic journey into clubland, which may well signal her next musical move. “Coming to Glasgow made me obsessed with Techno!” she says. “I’m currently working on techno rap with some producers.”
(Gotta Go) to Therapy is out now, followed by the full Sista! Beyond The Sky Isn’t The Limit EP in March. Eyve performs at the Old Hairdressers, Glasgow on 6 March.