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Jeremy Williams-Chalmers
Arts Correspondent
4:00 AM 22nd July 2020

Interview With ELA

ELA (pronounced ‘Ella’) is an emerging new artist who writes from her core and sings from her soul. The Welsh London-based singer-songwriter is an experienced recording artist for TV drama and is now embarking on releasing her own material with a forthcoming E.P. 'Unfurl' which will be released later in the year and which is written by ELA and Ian Barter who has worked with big names such as Izzy Bizu, Paloma Faith and Amy Winehouse. Each of the five songs are based on her own personal experiences and are about the challenges of becoming a young woman. Fans may be surprised at the range of genres: from smoky jazzy chords to piano and voice ballad to a sassy number. The first single from the E.P. is the chilled and upbeat ‘Our Summer’, and we caught up with her to learn more...

First and foremost, hello and how are you?

Hey! I'm doing great thanks for asking.

Tell us about the record you have just released… How do you feel when releasing a record?

This is the first record I've released so it's been a whirlwind of experiences but overall super exciting but also nerve-racking at the same time because all you can do is hope people love it, which I hope they do!

What inspired the record?

My travels last year with my partner. We travelled from New York to LA, Hawaii and up the East Coast of Australia in a motorhome. As you can probably imagine, when we got back the holiday blues were intense so I wanted to write a song about it. I also wanted to encapsulate summer in a song - because it's not just a season, summer is a feeling and can be brought back by that one special person.

Tell us a little about your creative process...

This record is co-written and produced by Ian Barter. He usually sends me some samples and then I write melodies and lyrics over them. Our Summer was actually the first song we wrote together so it's cool it's the first song I've released too. We always have a good laugh when writing together which is very important.

If the record were an animal, what animal would it be?

A humpback whale. We went snorkelling with humpback whales in Australia which as you can imagine mind blowing. There's actually a clip of us swimming with them in the music video which you can watch on YouTube! They're such majestic and beautiful creatures.

Define your sound in five words…

Smoky

Individual

Fresh

Velvet

Longing



What was the first song that caught your attention?

I've been surrounded by music all my life so this is a hard one. I was classically trained, but I'd say the first contemporary song which caught my attention was Hometown Glory by Adele. I remember I was asked to sing a song for a charity fundraiser for the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and I decided to sing Hometown Glory - no easy task to live up to Adele's pipes when you're a 15 year old. That performance is definitely one I will never forget.

And the first album?

I was lucky enough to still be part of a generation which bought physical CDs! I think it was either Love. Angel. Music. Baby. by Gwen Stefani or Let Go by Avril Lavigne. I remember going into Woolworths and begging my mum to also buy the posters to match the albums. I used to get through a lot of blue-tac. I find it really interesting to hear how different people consume music and how it has technologically changed over the years. Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne were both big influences for me and my friends at the time, if only I could remember the dance routines!

What was the best concert you have ever seen?

Jorja Smith, who I happily confess I'm obsessed with, performed at Somerset House a couple of years ago. It was pouring with rain and we all had pints of wine in our hands. Her performance was flawless, and to top it all off she brought out Stormzy as a surprise guest and they sang Let Me Down. I don't think me and my friends have ever screamed so much.

What did the experience teach you that you have translated to your own shows?

Unfortunately I haven't been able to perform Our Summer live yet due to COVID-19. But when I'm allowed to, I hope to tell the story of Our Summer and take the audience on an unforgettable journey.

What other artist are you most excited to hear from?

I think the current talent out there is incredible and we have some really strong female voices making their way up the ladder. The likes of Abisha, Amber Van Day, Call Me Loop and L Devine are all really exciting talents in their own rights.

If you could work with them, what would you hope to record?

To work with any of them would be awesome as they each have a fresh and unique sound. It would be wicked to write a banger with any of them and bounce off each other.

If you had to pick three artists to be filed next to, who would they be and why?

Etta Bond

Joy Crookes

Mahalia

If you could jam with one artist alive or dead, who would it be?

Definitely Amy Winehouse. Ian Barter, who co-wrote Our Summer used to play for her so it would be an honour to watch them jam again and get involved myself.

If you could have written one song by another artist, what would it be?

Sober by Mahalia. Mahalia is a lyrical genius and is such a good story teller. She's also brilliant live and really connects with her fans. I also love what she's doing outside of her music work. She continues to campaign for normalising bodies and seems like she'd be an awesome person to write and work with.

Someone is making a film of your life, who will play you?

Chloë Grace Moretz. Her energy is just like mine and she's really funny, which I like to think of myself as. Doesn't take herself too seriously and an all round legend.