MAKING that first foray into music is often…
quite a nerve-wracking and intimidating situation. Many new artists find little fortitude and early resilience: that is not the case with the indomitable spirit of Ella Grace. She has released the double A-side of She/Away from Here. I ask about the concept and why she has chosen to release two songs in one go. It is a format becoming more popular so I was curious to know whether more material was forthcoming. Ella Grace has been affected by President Trump’s sexist attitudes and controversial policies. I ask about that and how she feels witnessing that – not just as a woman but as a musician. She discusses the singers/artists that have influenced her and whether, being a free spirit, it is easier connecting with people and the land. Ella Grace looks ahead and gives an insight into her future plans.
Hi, Ella Grace. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! I’m really well thank you. My week’s been a bit crazy! A lot is happening.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Ella Grace. I’m 22; London-born-and-bred and I’ve just released my first E.P., She – which feels very exciting. I’ve always written music but kept it to myself for years. It was always a lot more of a diary to me. But now, in a very unexpected plot-twist. I’ve been recording these songs that I kept so close to me and sharing them with everybody!
You have new material out in the form of She and Away from Here. Is that a double A-side release? What was the inspiration behind those tracks?
Both tracks were (really) ways for me to express my innermost journey: navigating through relationships and reflecting on what I was feeling, emotionally.
On both songs, I hear an artist who recalls some of the most soulful and emotive singers from the past few years. Were they quite hard songs to write, emotionally?
Weirdly, no. Like I said, songwriting has been more like writing diary entries – for me during my life – and I never anticipated I would be sharing this music with anybody!
I’ve done a lot of reflecting and work with myself emotionally, and so, I guess I find it quite easy to feel things and express them clearly – which can be scary, but, personally find it like a kind of therapy.
In terms of those singers who have inspired you; which are most important?
I have really funny influences: Kate Nash, for example, was someone who wasn’t following the industry standards of what music should sound like – and was a lyrical poet and storyteller in a beautifully human way! She wasn’t scared to not be totally squeaky-clean – which really inspired me when I was younger. Also, Paolo Nutini, Bob Dylan; Norah Jones, Alabama Shakes; Jack Johnson, Ben Howard and The Rolling Stones – a big mix!
Can we expect to see an E.P. or album following in the coming months, perhaps?
I’ve got a single coming up later this month that I’m really pumped for. It’s a lot more upbeat and one that I’m really excited to play live.
At heart, you seem quite free-spirited and, as you would say, a bit of a ‘hippie’. It seems you have a connection to the land and a sense of wanderlust. Do these attributes contribute to your music or influence it in some way?
Haha, yeah. Undoubtedly people might see me as a walking cliché! I think, to be an artist, you must be somebody who is actively finding ways to express their emotions – usually because you feel things deeply!
I am a deep feeler and definitely move from a place of intuition and inner-knowing.
I love nature; I love getting lost in it: the land, the trees; the ocean – all feel very alive to me. My music is an expression of my personal experiences which has been a pretty spiritual journey for me!
Scott Quinn’s music is, for obvious reasons, something you support a lot. What is it like being in a relationship with a fellow songwriter? Do you give one another impetus and inspiration to write? Any chance of collaboration in the coming months?
Hahah! It’s something I never saw coming but also something that is magic. Human relationships are the most important things; he is really amazing. Scott and Jason (my now-manager) were really the first people who heard me sing and heard my music – so that, in itself, is really special to me.
Aside from that, Scott’s an amazing instrumentalist so has allowed me to explore areas of music-making that I would never have been able to without him! I think we both write from the heart and our experiences, so, of course, with a new journey with somebody comes inspiration.
You are managed/under Ont’ Sofa (Jason Odle). Have you done a lot of live performances for Ont’ Sofa. What is it like being guided by Jason and the team?
I’m really at the beginning of my live performing: it’s something I really love doing.
It’s great being guided by Jason. I feel very lucky to have somebody so honest and who holds the uniqueness of my music in such high regard.
I feel safe with my Ont’ Sofa team!
I see you have, on social media, like many, been reacting to Trump and his sexist agenda. Does it feel quite unsettling being in a world where someone like that exerts so much power?
Unsettling a bit – especially presently. But, also, I feel people like Trump serve a purpose in waking the masses to make a change. So, in a way, he is in some kind of service! The rise of love, resilience and community post-Trump has been really amazing.
On issues of sexism; do you think there are enough opportunities for female artists? So few are given good billing at festivals. Do you think more needs to be done to give women an equal voice?
Having just shared my music publicly for the first time, I haven’t experienced this yet so don’t have a fully-formed understanding of what’s happening in industry!
But, I can only hope I can add to and support the women following their passions and moving towards real equality.
If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?
I never really listened to albums: it wasn’t a way that I consumed music… I more often find individual songs that really speak to me.
Who are the new artists you recommend we investigate?
Nadia Reid is my favourite lady, currently.
Her song, Call the Days, has been on repeat.
Have you any advice for songwriters coming through at the moment?
As I feel I’m ‘coming through’ as well; I don’t feel experienced enough in this space to give advice on it!
But always (just) follow your instincts and stay true to you and your vibe!
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song you like and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Flo Morrissey & Matthew E. White – Look at What the Light Did Now
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