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Interview: Ella Eyre


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As the voice to some of the biggest pop hits of late, 2014 has been the year of Ella Eyre standing out on her own. 

Ella EyreHer soulful voice has driven hits from likes of Plan B, Rudimental, Tinie Tempah and Bastille. She’s won a BRIT Award for British Single with Waiting All Night and is soon to release her hotly anticipated debut solo album. 

It’s safe to say there’s something special about Ella Eyre. 

We caught up with Ella following her appearance at V Festival to talk about her new single 'Comeback', her rapid rise as an artist and, of course, that incredible hairdo! 

It’s been a crazy year of festival appearances and tour dates for Ella, not least her first performance at V Festival last weekend. 

“It was absolutely amazing, a phenomenal experience! The crowd were amazing and the festival itself was really lovely, it has a really great vibe, and I was fortunate enough to hop on stage with Tinie Tempah as well!” 

Ella sits at the peak of a resurgent wave of young female artists currently making their mark and for someone just 20 years old Eyre displays a mature, soulful yearning to her vocals that are beyond her years. 

“I’ve always loved Basement Jaxx and their high-energy music, and I’ve always been into soulful voices. I grew up listening to Lauryn Hill, and I was named after Ella Fitzgerald, so I come from a sort of soulful pop background, which is what I wanted to do with my own sound.” 

As a BRIT School graduate, there are critics who would perhaps expect Ella to be just another cookie-cutter performer that the school churned out in "a string of production-line pop stereotypes in order to sell records"; but what does she think of these preconceptions? 

“I think people forget how many people actually go to that school and come out successful. A lot of people are overlooked, it’s not just a question of who’s come out and been a celebrity.” 

“Of course, the school is very fortunate in the sense that they’ve had a lot of people come out of it and be in the public eye, but the thing I love about the BRIT is that they don’t teach you to be anybody. They just encourage you to be who you really should be, and to do what you’re good at.” 

And what about the education that young performers gain at the BRIT School? Do they have some sort of unfair advantage, as some would believe? 

“They don’t model you in any way, it’s totally up to you – they don’t hand you a record label or songs, they don’t teach you how to write, they only encourage your potential. I think a lot of people just assume that you go there to be famous but, if you go in there with that attitude, you more often than not come out doing nothing. Being at the BRIT is all about collaborating and networking – my lighting designer for my tour was a friend of mine at the School, and my drummer also went there.” 

It was while studying at the BRIT that Ella was discovered by her manager, a friend of her singing teacher. From there, it’s been a whirlwind rise to fame, the realisation of which came at this year’s BRIT Awards.   

“At the BRIT School I got to go to the BRITS once on a school trip, and then two years later I was performing on that same stage where Adele sang ‘Someone Like You’, and where Jesse J won her Critics’ Choice Award, and then won a BRIT Award – it was just the most surreal thing ever!” 

With her debut solo album due for release this October, ‘Comeback’ is Ella’s third single from a record that distinguishes her as a solo artist following a string of highly-successful collaborations. 

“I felt like now is the time to be making a statement. The first single 'If I Go' was there to bridge the gap between Rudimental and me, but 'Comeback' represents more of what my album is about. I think it’s got a lot more personality and I think that a lot of people can relate to it.” 

“Everything I write about is something that I’ve experienced. I believe that when you hear an artist perform a song that isn’t written by them, you can usually tell, particularly when they sing it live. When I’m writing I like to take into consideration how my live show if going to sound – I want it to be something that I’m passionate about and believe in, so the people that I’m singing in front of believe me too.” 

The message of ‘Comeback’ is one of ‘empowerment, and getting back at the people that have taken advantage of you’, backed up by the single’s music video which sees Ella embrace her inner Rolling Stone. 

“It was so much fun! The director and I were coming up with all these funny things that I could do, like smashing a TV, and I really wanted to blow up a car. I mean, it’s all in my imagination – for me, it represents what I think girls would love to do, what anyone would love to do, when they find out that someone has taken advantage of them.” 

Three years in the making, and at a time when she is developing as an artist the main challenge came in creating a body of work that displayed this artistic development. 

“Some of the older songs sounded so different to the newer ones, and it’s a question of getting it all to sound consistent and like a record, as over the years I’ve changed and matured in different ways.”

 “I wanted to focus on being a solo artist and to establish myself individually, but I’d maybe do collaborations for the next album. I think everyone wants to rock with their childhood heroes, so I’d love to work with Basement Jaxx at some point and Cee Lo Green, and I would have loved to have worked with Michael Jackson.” 

In pop, having a ‘look’ is a big deal and it would be impossible to consider a chat with Ella without mentioning her now iconic curls. How does she maintain her fabulous mane? 

“I use a lot of curling irons - the curls aren’t naturally this luxurious! I need a lot of heat protection, but brushing my hair is probably the biggest task as there’s just so much of it. A lot of the time I have a stylist come over and do it for me when I’m going off to an event or something, as it’s just not something I can handle on my own!”   

It’s not difficult to imagine that, with her popularity soaring and shows selling out even before the release of her debut album, ‘Comeback’ could see Ella bag her first number one as a solo artist. 

Check out the new video for this feisty track now, or hear it live and head to one of Ella’s tour dates, which you can be found on her official Facebook page

Ella Eyre’s new single Comeback will be available for purchase from 28th September 2014.

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