Interview with Ellie Grace

Ellie Grace: The bold and unapologetic London based singer-songwriter, with a passion for grabbing people’s attention with performances as vibrant as her red hair. Ellie tells raw stories through a fresh blend of indie rock and electro-pop in her DIY solo project, through single releases and music videos. This Aries moon-gazer has the ability to light up any room with her excitable energy and keeps eyes fixated on her every move.

What’s your writing process like?

Like many bursts of creativity, the writing process can be random and unexpected. It is literally always different. Sometimes I’ll say something out loud and be like, ‘ohh that would be a cool lyric’ and then make up a whole concept from there, sometimes I’ll be murmuring a melody to myself and then quickly try and fit words to it to before it floats away. Other times I’ll have a particular story I want to tell and will sit at the guitar or piano and work out some chords that sound like the feeling I want to convey and work very methodically through it. With Better Off Alone, it originally started long before it got finished. I was really going through the feelings described in the song, but the first thing that came to me was ‘in the deep blue I could do no wrong, if I decide to dance with no T-shirt on’ which is the first line of the chorus. I was playing guitar and it just drifted into my brain. I know I also did a free-write of how I was feeling where I scribbled down loads of lines and phrases before I later crafted them into lyrics. I then rediscovered the song about 6 months later and took it to the piano to finish a proper draft, and then it really came into its own when I took it into the studio.

Do you prefer performing live or recording?

This is such an interesting question…don’t get me wrong, I genuinely love doing both with my entire soul. There is nothing like playing in front of live people and seeing them stop what they’re doing to turn around and get engrossed in what you’re playing, and have people singing along and dancing in front of you and having fun with their friends to music that is coming out of you. It’s literally magical and gives the most surreal dopamine rush. However, the deepest level of love I have for music stems from writing. Ever since I was a child I have adored writing in all forms: journaling, poetry, short stories, and obviously songwriting. I just feel most connected to myself when I’m arranging words to conquer up deep, universal feelings. When I’m in the studio, it feels like an extension of that. It’s taking those quiet moments of me sat cradling a guitar, agonising over the perfect amount of syllables for a line, and then levelling-up and charging life into the songs by choosing the exact sounds and beats and harmonies that seem to vibrate with the same intention as the words, and getting to work with incredible people in doing so. To me it’s like creating magic potions in a lab and is the most fun, and the excitement of then releasing new material to an audience is really beautiful. So I think I’d have to choose recording!

What’s the best advice you’d give to your younger self?

Well, young Ellie was riddled with anxiety stemming from way too high expectations being put on herself. So I’d love to shake her and say, ‘babe, you don’t need to have taken over the world at 16/19/21’. I’d advise her to abandon giving anyone her energy as soon as they start making her feel bad more than they’re making her feel good, and to not avoid sharing her art just because she’s insecure that people might think it’s lame. Find a good producer, I know one who lives local to you, and start getting those songs online!!! Finally, I’d want to tell her that she’s not gonna find sustainable happiness the whole time she’s searching for it in other people. I’d say, ‘You’re looking for love in all the wrong places and the love of your life isn’t going to fit the form you’re trying to force upon yourself. Embrace your queerness early, because you’re gonna have so much fun once you do.’

What’s the inspiration behind your latest release?

My latest single, ‘Better Off Alone’, is written about a time before I knew my now-fiancée. I was aware that I had been coming out of one relationship and straight into a new one, on a bit of a loop. It had almost become a habit and like a game I had to navigate. Then all of a sudden I realised that I had no idea who I was outside of those relationships and started to really crave getting to know who I was when I was all alone. It’s not really about any relationship in particular, just that headspace of wanting to run into the ocean and do things I’d never have felt able to do before.

How do you feel the internet has impacted the music business?

Oohh what a question!! There’s definitely two sides to this coin. On one side, it’s so wonderful how accessible releasing music is nowadays. You don’t need a fancy label or a big distribution team, anyone with access to recording facilities and a laptop can release and share music, and that’s so empowering for indie artists. I guess you could say the market is over saturated now with so much new music, but I still think it’s great that everyone gets to experience the joy of putting out something they’ve worked so hard on creating.

On the other hand though, it’s like…damn. I feel like I can’t just make music and love music and release music. I have to be constantly worried about keeping up appearances on my social media, and focusing on numbers and being scared my followers will get bored if I post too much or not enough. I guess I just wish social media was an optional extra and people still just bought into the music. I definitely wouldn’t use it much if it wasn’t so important. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tool to get yourself in front of new eyes, but it seems weird when you feel pressure to update people on where you’re going for dinner when really you just want them to listen to your songs.

You can find Ellie Grace on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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