Ella Eyre

We met the feisty party starter at Glastonbury Festival to get the full low down on life in the songwriting fast lane…

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 3 Jul 2014
  • min read
You’ll already be familiar with the vocal talents of 20 year-old rising star Ella Eyre...

As a key member of the Rudimental family, she sang on their chart topping Waiting All Night and was on tour with the band for much of 2013.

Along with MNEK and John Newman, Ella is one of the bright, young musical talents to get caught in the slipstream of the Hackney dance act’s success. But this prodigious pop acolyte is more than capable of standing her ground as a solo proposition.

She’s picked up numerous plaudits for her collaborations with Bastille, Tinie Tempah, Wiz Khalifa and Naughty Boy, and is now gearing up to fledge with her debut solo album due this autumn.

The set, which is now in the bag and ready to go, promises to show off Ella’s slick songwriting skills and a voice fuelled by a love of Lauren Hill, Gil Scott and classic R&B.

While she now counts Fraser T Smith (Adele, Taio Cruz), Claude Kelly (Bruno Mars, Jessie J) and Chris Loco (Rita Ora, Emeli Sandé) among her producers and co-writers, we can guarantee everyone will be dancing to Ella’s tune before the year is out.

We caught up with the feisty party starter ahead of her set at Glastonbury Festival last weekend to get the full low down on life in the songwriting fast lane…

This is your first time performing at Glastonbury. How does it feel?
It’s quite surreal actually. The first time I came was four years ago – it was the first festival I ever went to after I finished my GCSEs. I loved it! I keep walking past all the areas I took pictures of that year, so it’s very surreal to think that four years later I’m an artist playing my very own set here! I’ve never been in Silver Hayes [dance arena] before so I’m really looking forward to it.

Are you excited?
Gosh yes! I’m on for 40 minutes but I wish it was longer! Forty minutes is a good start and hopefully people will enjoy it. I want them to dance around with me – there will be a lot of energy.

You’ve had a mad year – what’s it been like?
Again, it’s been very surreal. I think it’s one of those things where you never really expect things to go as well. You always dream of it, you always want it to happen, you always hope it will happen – but then it happens and it doesn’t feel real. Someone has just stopped me and asked if I’m Ella Eyre and I replied, ‘Yeh, how do you know?!’ I’m still getting used to it but it’s very flattering and lovely. I can’t wait for people to get a proper feel for my music. Hopefully they’ll like it and hopefully they’ll get involved with me.

How did it feel to get your first number one with Rudimental last year?
Hahaha – that was mad! It was great because I was part of their success. I was really grateful to have joined them. It’s great now they’re doing so well and I helped them along the way and am part of that. The number one was great but I feel like I’ve got a lot more work to do, especially as a solo artist in my own right.

You’ve been involved in some massive collaborations over the last 18 months or so – how do those projects differ from your solo stuff and where do you feel most comfortable?
I probably feel most comfortable as a solo artist because I’m quite controlling! I’m a creative! Everyone has their own ideas of what they want to achieve. Everyone else’s projects are really great and inspiring and I learn from them a lot, but as a solo artist you’ve always got that vision to achieve. So far it’s going very well.

So how does it work for you as a solo artist?
The songwriting process can be quite relaxed for me. Personally, when I’m feeling a certain way I tend to ignore it. I don’t write it down. I’m quite rubbish with my feelings. I’m bad at admitting things because I’m quite a proud person. To get around that I carry a lyric book around with me everywhere and write down words and phrases, and scribble pictures in it. So when I’m in the studio I can look back on that book and hone in on how I was feeling at that time.

You are a real force on stage. Where does that energy come from?
I have no idea! I just really relish being on stage. The crowd, matter how large or small, is always really encouraging. Actually, if I face a particularly tough crowd I feel like I have to win you over. I feel by the end of the set that I’ve really learned something if people become drawn to what I’m doing. Also, when I go and watch a performance I want to have fun. I don’t want to just sit there and take it in, I want to be involved in it and I want to come away and feel like I’ve achieved something.

It sounds like performing is very instinctive to you…
It is. I like the crowd to join in and sing a long. I want them to jump! And I want them to go away and feel like they haven’t just watched something, they’ve actually experienced something.

What did you grow up listening too?
Stuff like Gorillaz, Basement Jaxx, Goldfrapp. I’m also a huge fan of people like Jill Scott and Lauren Hill. I was always into soulful voices – even on the Basement Jaxx stuff – they always used really classic vocals. It’s quite ironic that I’ve ended up with a husky voice!

Do you have any dream collaborations?
I think my childhood aspiration would be Basement Jaxx – the early Basement Jaxx, because it was all massive. I do a couple of their tracks in my set and it goes down really well. If not them, someone more current like Pharrell. He’s smashing it at the moment. I love his style, I love that it’s quite raw and organic. It’s not polished. I’d love to see how we’d work together.

Who have you been working with on your solo stuff?
It’s really varied. In terms of producers, it’s Claude Kelly, Fraser T Smith, also Chris Loco, Jarrad Rogers… It’s been wicked to work with such a wide selection of producers. They all have a very different take on what they think I’m about. It’s been very interesting. I’ve just listened to the final mastering of my album and it’s incredibly exciting! I only hope that people will love it as much as I do.

When is it out and what’s it called?
It’ll be out in the autumn. I know the date but I’m not allowed to say yet! I know the name too! We’ll be revealing all shortly…

Very mysterious! Tell us what upcoming live dates you have instead…
Wireless, T in the Park, V Festival, Wakestock, Majorca and Ibiza Rocks, Sundown and Kendal Calling, Standon Calling… why not? I did Parklife, Isle of Wight and there’s more...

So you quite like playing live then?
Love it! My tour will be announced soon too.


Watch the video to Ella’s debut single If I Go, released 13 July: