Ella talks about her life & music
Thank you for sharing your single “Time to Go” with us! Please tell us the story behind the song and the process of putting it all together.
You know, to be completely honest there really isn’t much of a personal story behind this song. The song’s story was constructed jointly with Marc Lotus (Producer/owner of my label Chrome City Records). It was something that he had been working on just as I joined the label. When I got my first read of it, I realized it could be improved in some places. From there, Marc and I created a song about a bad relationship ending. Once we got the lyrics down and found the sound we wanted, we went through putting the track together at Blue Room Productions.
How did you first get started in the pop and folk music genres?
Pop and folk are two genres that I love to listen to. I think at some point, the two genres along with other alternative music influences, cultivated a curiosity in me to find my sound. Instead of trying to sound like everyone else, I focused on finding by own voice and style. I took a hard look at where I fit and where I didn’t and rolled with it.
What inspired you to pursue music?
To be honest, it was kind of accident. When I first moved to Washington, DC, I thought lending my voice to a producer would be a good way to make some rent money and possibly pay off some student debt. I wasn’t intentionally trying to go anywhere in the music industry; I was focused on school and getting use to my new environment. As much I love music and songwriting, building any career off of it wasn’t something I thought of or expected, nor did anyone else back home. To be fair to them, they didn’t think this because they weren’t supportive. It was mainly because I never talked about it. I had written songs in the past, but like most creative projects I have, everything stayed tucked away my notebooks. It wasn’t until I met people who continuously wanted to hear what I was working on, that I got the feeling that maybe there was something here and I should explore it more thoroughly than I was before. This also helped me to share, a little more freely, my other projects with my friends and family.
One inspiration to me is my sister Ally. Even though I am new to the music industry and have no idea what I am doing, it is her strength and example that motivates to commit myself and see where this chapter of my life will go.
You’ve been nominated for a Wammie award for Best Pop Song and Best Pop Artist! What would this award mean for you?
Being nominated is really cool! Everyone worked hard to make “Time to Go” and even just being nominated I think is an honor, especially since this is the first go at it. Receiving the Wammie Award, would be crazy. I think I would see it as a sign that there is something more I can give to music.
How did you first find out that you were nominated?
I think I was sick the day I found out, but I received a text message from Marc in early January. It was awesome and definitely made a sick day better.
What makes your music unique? And how would you describe it?
My music comes from my own experiences and imagination. I hope I can illustrate all the things that have shaped me as a person whether it was good, bad, or something in between. From what people who know me have said, I have an alternative pop sound mixed with something southern gothic. Soft, smooth, and sometimes emotional, but cutting when I need it to be.
What do you hope your listeners take away from listening to your music?
At the risk of sounding pretentious, which is something I worried about in all of my answers, I hope my listeners take away a sense of being more from my music. I have a hard time pinning down what that concisely means and the closest thing I can think of was when a professor on mine said “Music is the closest thing that humans have to being gods.” I am not saying that listening to my music will turn you into a demigod and I definitely don’t want to inflate anyone’s ego and that includes my own. Listening to great music is like being a witness to an artist getting close to that something more. I don’t know if I will reach that, but I will try to and that in doing so, others will find it in themselves to try too. It is not an original idea, but it’s also not one strictly for music. It is for any discipline that requires imagination or a piece of oneself to bring something to life or pushing oneself to achieve something bigger than themselves. Maybe I got a bit carried away with that answer. Perhaps the shortest answer would be I hope my music inspire listeners to become musicians too, but I don’t think it hits right on what I am trying to convey.
What is your creative process when creating new music?
Either I take the time to write or it hits me and I write it down as fast as I can. Sometimes I end up with fragments or titles and other times I get large chunks that can be worked on later in a sit-down session with myself or with whoever is helping me. When I only have a title, I try to construct a story or song that complements it. Not everything I write is a winner, but songwriting is one of my favorite parts of the process.
What are your goals for 2020?
My goals are pretty simple at the moment. I want to work on releasing more tracks, but later I would like to work on an album and tour. I think that would be a wonderful experience.
What advice would you give new artists just discovering their place I the music industry and trying to get signed with a record label?
Not sure if I am the right person to give guidance on that. I sometimes find it hard to follow my own advice, but I think everyone struggles with that from time to time. From my experiences so far, this is what I hope new artists take into consideration on their journey.
Don’t give up. You have taken the first step, and that is honestly the most important step when starting anything. The key now is to keep going. I don’t have advice on how to be successful or how to get record labels to sign you, but I encourage you to stay passionate and never lose sight of why you love music and why you are doing this. That reasoning can grow into something good and fruitful, but be wary of what will kill your drive and or sour the experience that music creates in your life. That sounds rather depressing, but it is a reality you may face down the road. It is possible can overcome those hurdles and come out stronger. Second, always be honest with yourself and others. Not harsh. Honest. There’s a difference. Do your best to not to mistake one for the other. Last, always give a damn about what you are doing. I had music professor, who became upset one time with the entire choir because we were going through the motions. We weren’t trying, and he noticed. He said, “Don’t make purposeless music.” I am not saying that every song you make needs to have a purpose or overarching meaning to it, because some don’t. I am saying when you perform or when are in the studio, be present and give a shit about what you’re doing. When you care, others will too.
(I hope didn’t come off as preachy. Just do your best, be passionate, always be ready to learn, and don’t be afraid to fail. Most importantly, don’t be a d*** to others and yourself.)