On May 26, Spoleto Festival USA presents visionary artist and producer Ebony Bones, a creator who defies genres, to say the least. She’ll be backed by a 14-piece Bones Orchestra, augmenting her signature disco-meets-punk-meets-Afrobeat-meets-classical sound. Originally from Brixton, London, Bones hasn’t appeared in the United States since 2018—this only-at-Spoleto concert serves as a wild, wondrous reintroduction to her whimsical, futurist world.
In anticipation of her Spoleto debut, get to know the artist behind the magic.
Ebony Bones’s resume boasts some notable collaborators.
Ebony Bones was featured in the 2016 redux of “No Bed for Beatle John” as part of Ono’s album, Yes, I’m a Witch, Too. Bones’s work has also scored countless projects, from a whisky commercial starring David Beckham to the Apex Legends video game trailer. Bones’s song “W.A.R.R.I.O.R.” was featured in the Netflix movie Moxie, directed by Amy Poehler.
Ebony Bones has serious acting chops.
As a tween, Bones was tapped by Mark Rylance to perform Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Under the name Ebony Thomas, Bones played a recurring character on a British soap opera, Family Affairs, until the show ended in 2005—appearing alongside none other than Idris Elba.
Ebony Bones’s performances include intricate costumes.
As someone dedicated to creating a concert atmosphere she describes as “serotonin overload,” Bones’s performances feature wild dresses and ornate outfit changes. The press has called them “bulky and bombastic” (The New York Times). It’s no surprise then, that those from the fashion industry have taken note. In 2014, Alexander Wang chose Bones’s music for his New York Fashion Week runway show, and in 2015, she “played musical muse to Saint Laurent, who chose her music for the ‘Guess We’ll Always Have NY’ campaign.”
Ebony Bones doesn’t shy away from big projects.
Bones’s 2018 album, Nephilim, was recorded in Beijing with the China Philharmonic Orchestra, and her previous album Behold, A Pale Horse, was recorded in Mumbai alongside Symphony Orchestra of India. While she is the lead performer, Bones is also the writer, composer, and producer of her albums.
Ebony Bones founded her own record label: 1984 Records and is in production of new work.
Bones has been busy this winter, recording at Abbey Road Studios in London and creating a new album, out later this August. While she’s not giving much away yet, Bones cheekily describes it as “Kraftwerk and Fela Kuti scoring a movie.” She continues: “Like much of my work, it’s about changing perspectives, breaking existing genre barriers, and challenging mainstream mentalities. I want to inspire others to identify structures of authority, hierarchy, domination—and challenge them.”