Meet Toby Corton – Performing Live at Mama Shelter Shoreditch

Meet soul artist Toby Corton – performing live at Mama Shelter Shoreditch as part of their monthly Sunday Live Music Sessions this summer right through to October 2023.

Toby Corton

You’re described as a charismatic queer cockney creative, do you think that’s true and why?

Well, I’m definitely queer, last time I checked, and I’m a die-hard East Londoner… the rest is up for debate.

Tell us your influences and icons, what first got you into music and how & when it all started?

I don’t think you have enough page space for all the influences and icons, but I’d group them all under storytellers and world builders – I’m inspired by the thing that knits our existence together, which is stories. I’ve always been into music, but I’d say I came to music through performing, I was performing before I began writing – although that was all at an early age and to varying quality.

What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome?


Are your lyrics generic or based on real experiences?

There’s always an element of truth.

Do you ever get nervous or anxious before a performance and if so, how do you deal with it?

Not really anymore, I get more excited nowadays – I love live shows.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

That I’ve ‘always known where I was going’, some advice come affirmation which keeps me moving and doing.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

More amazing queer musicians.

Last live music/concert you saw?

Mighty Hoopla, I was hosting the new music stage and then clocked off in time to catch Kelis.

Favourite gig you’ve played so far?

My EP ‘Don’t Blame Me’ came out in April so I’d say my EP Launch at the end of April at 91 Living Room, Brick Lane was a special one and I’m really looking forward to playing the Intune with Mama event at Mama Shelter this summer.

If you could open a show for any artist who would it be – dead or alive?

Erm… Like, Róisín Murphy, Dusty Springfield or Amy Winehouse maybe?

You love taking photos, tell us a bit more about it – what do you like to capture?

People, shapes, colour, golden sunlight and moments in time.

What new music do you like?

I’ve had the latest Yves Tumor album on rotation for a while and then I’d have to say all the unreleased material from my State Is Flow Collective family – there’s some absolute bangers in there.

What are you working on right now?

I just released and EP at the end of April and now I’ve got my sights firmly set on my next releases and playing more live shows. In late July I have a mini UK tour with Sofar Sounds and of course I’m playing at the Intune with Mama event this summer. Building up to a more extensive set of dates early next year and then I’m working on my next music project which is going to be a big one.

Any advice you’d give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Keep doing, and turning up for yourself – even in those moments when you think ‘CBA’, sometimes pushing yourself outside of your comfort zones leads to really interesting things.

What does success look like for you?

Putting music out as an independent artist and maintaining momentum in the current climate. I think its important to remove other peoples opinion in the validation of your success, because it can be like trying to catch smoke with your hands. I’m now doing things I once dreamed of, so that in itself is a success.

Top 3 favourite movies?


– Everything Everywhere All At Once

– Anything by Pedro Almodovar with Penelope Cruz in

– Anything Wes Anderson

Do you have a favourite mantra?

I’ve got many… but lucky dip, lets go for the one I’ve got tattooed on me. ‘This won’t buy the baby a new hat’, is something my nan says. And its kind of a kin to ‘get on with it’, for example when you’re sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, its a gee up to do something about it.

Have you always lived in East London?

Pretty much, I’ve spent time in other places, but home has always been in East. My family home is in Woodford Green, which is technically Essex, but in two minutes you’re in East London.

Any East London stories/memories?

Loads, but I’d say the thing that just jumps out is the people. I think Londoners, get a bad rep or people think they’re unfriendly, but I think the og’s from the east end are some of the friendliest and chattiest people I’ve ever met.

Favourite East London drinking den? Favourite tipple?

I DJ at Looking Glass Cocktail Club on Hackney Road, and they do some mean mezcal cocktails – but otherwise I do love a Shandy at one of the pubs on the river in Wapping/Limehouse.

Favourite East London restaurant?

Pellicci on Bethnal Green Road, hands down.


Where to see Toby live? Sunday Live Music Sessions, Mama Bar, Mama Shelter Shoreditch, 437 Hackney Rd, London E2 8PP @mamashelterlondon
When? 16 July 2023
Listen: youtube and spotify

For all Mama shelter’s events and to book to see Toby Corton



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