Ella, hello! Firstly give me a little history about you as an artist, where are you based and when did you begin making music as Ella On The Run?
I’m based in London where I moved to after my music studies in the US, Ella On The Run started here about two years ago. I’d never really properly pursued a career in music, sure I was gigging here and there under my own name, but I had not really gone to the studio or figured out who I wanted to be as an artist. I was all over the place. I started slowly by getting some recordings done with an old friend in LA and flew out there for two weeks intensive writing and recording and that’s when it all started. ‘Golden Boys’, my first single, was written then and I also came up with the name Ella On The Run at that time. After that one thing lead to another and here I am.
Tell me a little about the ‘All That She Wants’ single, is it standalone or are you planning to include it in some larger entity such as an EP or an LP?
I am releasing my next EP ‘Undone’ this month and ‘All That She Wants’ is on it, although the long version which I prefer. It came about as a fluke really, as I was asked to do a cover for a YouTube session and I chose ‘All That She Wants’. I really liked what we had created and as I was still looking for a final track for the EP I decided to record and release it. Even though I always write my own songs, I don’t feel like releasing this cover is a cop out as I definitely made it my own by changing the vibe and the chorus melody.
You have a very affirming vocal and a strong presence, who would you say are your biggest influences on your voice and persona?
Thank you! The biggest influencers on my persona are the strong people in my life who support me no matter what. I have a loving partner, a great family, a strong mother and fantastic friends so I am quite confident in knowing who I am and what I am capable of thanks to them. Sure there are always haters or jealous people who feel the need to belittle what I do, but mostly they just make me want to work harder to achieve my goals. My vocal strength is down to years and years of serious training and great teachers, mentors and producers who really push my limits and get the best out of me vocally. I think it’s one thing to have a natural born talent and the other is to really take your skill and hone it. I do try not to overthink the way I perform or sing though as the first idea tends to be the best.
And if you could collaborate with any artist past or present, who would you choose and why? (top three if its too difficult a question)
That’s a difficult question and one I get asked a lot. Ideally I would like to collaborate with somebody who will push my boundaries but still understanding the essence of Ella On The Run, somebody visionary. I could see a fun session with Pharrell or even Nils Frahm or maybe both together! Something wacky and unexpected!
There has been a flow of successful British female soloists such as Laura Marling, Jessie Ware, Lapsley and many others all doing incredibly exciting things on their own terms. Do you find the industry has become more accessible for female musicians in recent years?
I think that music, like fashion is cyclical and at the moment the women seem to be on top. This makes the industry more accessible but also more competitive because we are constantly being compared to each other. That said, yes I find strong and, above all, independent female artists have emerged in the last few years and are paving the way for younger female artists to be bold and empowered. Girls don’t have to be sex objects anymore to sell albums or get a record deal, at least not in the UK.
On that theme with festival season just around the corner, how do you feel about the shocking statistics when it comes to female musicians place amongst lineups? Do you think billing the likes of Florence + the Machine and Adele as headliners is an important statement?
I think it is hard to get into festivals as a woman period! Will having Adele or Florence + the Machine headline change that, I’m not sure. They are pushed by the major label machine behind them, so I doubt that DIY or indie signed females would get more stage time because of that. The bookers probably look at the type of music rather than the gender of the musicians first, as a festival calls for more upbeat and active music to please a broader audience. Women tend to be more mellow and less rock and roll in general so that’s maybe the cause for such an imbalance?
Do you have any dream festivals or stages you would like to play in the near future? (Apart from the Pyramid).
I would love to play Glasto though, as well as Coachella and SXSW. Those are my top three!
You recently played Paradise, will you be playing around the rest of the UK in 2016? As I know your fanbase is expanding hugely. If you’re ever in the Midlands make sure you drop in to Born HQ, the kettles always on.
I am still focusing on London for now to steadily grow the fan base. Live shows are awesome but musicians don’t earn anything anymore. So I think of every show I play very carefully to make sure it is a good one, with a good promoter and a good line up. It really has to be worth it. That said I might well be bribed with a nice cup of tea. Milk, no sugar please!