A Grammy-winning singer with a soulful voice and clear gospel influences, YEBBA is the childhood nickname and stage alias of Abbey Smith. She backed Chance the Rapper on Saturday Night Live and made a fan of Ed Sheeran before presenting her debut single, "Evergreen," in 2017. YEBBA went on to collaborate with such A-listers as Sheeran, Sam Smith, and Mark Ronson.
A native of West Memphis, Arkansas, Smith was called Yebba (Abbey spelled backwards) by her mother throughout her childhood. Raised in a religious household, her biggest singing inspirations growing up were the Clark Sisters. While pursuing a career in singing as an adult, she was featured on songs by American Idol alum Clark Beckham and Nashville musician Luke Levenson in 2015 before she was championed by Ed Sheeran, who was moved by a live performance of her original song "My Mind" from 2016. Around that time, she started going exclusively by YEBBA in tribute to her mother, whom she lost to suicide soon after the performance. She made her Saturday Night Live debut as a guest of Chance the Rapper in October of 2016.
YEBBA issued her first official single, "Evergreen," in late 2017. In the meantime, she co-wrote "No Peace" for Sam Smith's chart-topping album The Thrill of It All, which arrived the same year. The Rudimental song "They Don't Care About Us" from late 2018 featured YEBBA alongside Maverick Sabre.
In February of 2019, YEBBA won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance for her featured spot on PJ Morton's "How Deep Is Your Love." She went on to appear as featured vocalist on the Sheeran track "Best Part of Me" in mid-2019 as well as Mark Ronson's "Don't Leave Me Lonely" and the title track of Robert Glasper's Fuck Yo Feelings LP before the end of the year. "Best Part of Me" marked her debut in the Hot 100. She issued her second solo track, "Where Do You Go," in late 2019. ~ Marcy Donelson