Skip to main content

Home Uncategorised

Ella Eyre interview: ‘We’re focusing on me for once’

By Aaron Tamazou


Best known for singing on Rudimental’s Brit Award-winning number one single Waiting All Night, then touring with the drum-and-bass band last year, 20-year-old London girl Ella Eyre is now ready to strike out on her own.

Her debut album is due this autumn, and to whet our appetites she’s now releasing her first proper solo single, the glorious If I Go.

Keen to find out more, I gave the up-and-coming singer – who, with that voice, is not so much a dark horse as a roaring lioness – to chat about her album, touring and her incredible mane of hair.

How did you start out as a musician?
“I guess it began when I was about 16. I got cast as Tallulah in Bugsy Malone and I really enjoyed the performance side of things – I’d been studying musical theatre for two years at the BRIT School – but I learned pretty soon that it didn’t allow me to be as creative as I wanted to be, singing somebody else’s words. That’s when I started writing my own stuff.”

You caught most people’s ears with Waiting All Night, the Rudimental track you provided vocals for, and before that you’d featured on some Bastille tracks – how did they come about?
“It was quite organic, really. Bastille were on the same label as me and they’d heard a few demos, and when they asked I was more than up for going down and giving it a go. Originally I was only meant to be doing their track Free, but then at the last minute they were like, ‘While we’ve got you, could you just quickly lay some vocals down on this one [a cover of TLC’s No Scrubs] and see how it sounds?’ And those same vocals are the ones on the mixtape today.”

And Rudimental, how did that come about?
“Well, they were looking for vocalists for their album – they were just at the finishing stages and we got in the studio and did a bit of work together, and then they asked me to come on tour with them. I stayed with them for about six or seven months. It turned out the reaction from the crowd when I was on stage for Waiting All Night was as big as the songs they had already released as singles, so they decided to make it a single too.”

What have you found are the main differences now you’re headlining your own shows?
“It’s very different – I feel like I’ve got a lot less time now because I’m doing more promo and meeting people but I think it’s great fun to be in control. I’m a bit of a control freak, actually. I like things to go a certain way and I like an organised lifestyle. With Rudimental, you know, it’s four boys, so I’m not sure how organised you can be.”

It must be nice to be establishing yourself as more than just ‘the girl who features on this track’.
“It definitely feels good. At the beginning of the year I was getting quite frustrated wanting to finish my album because I’ve got all this music that I love and there are plenty of people waiting for it – I can’t wait to get it out there really. It’s really exciting but also quite daunting. I think I’ve learned a lot in the last year, I’ve had quite a few experiences that not all artists starting out get to have and I’m very fortunate in that respect.”

You unveiled your new single If I Go a few weeks ago and it instantly received high praise from the likes of Radio 1 – how does that feel?
“It’s quite surreal, really, because I’ve been going back and forth with If I Go for a while in terms of getting the mix right – you know, the drums and the production and all that. I felt like I’d heard it enough, and then it’s amazing how when you hear it on the radio for the first time – suddenly this whole new adrenaline and excitement kicks in. I listened to it about four times after that. It was just an overwhelming feeling to realise that my first proper solo single was on the radio.”

It’s quite an emotional song – is it based on a personal experience?
“Absolutely, all of my songs are. If I Go is based on a relationship that was quite mentally and emotionally restricting. I knew that the only way to focus on myself and get on with my life was to leave and that’s the idea behind the song: knowing that I should but not wanting to.”

Your debut album is out in the autumn – will the other tracks have a similar sound to If I Go?
“I think If I Go was the perfect bridge between my style and Rudimental’s. I think the album is slightly more soulful, and also quite poppy. There are a few more songs like If I Go but on the whole it’s very soulful.”

Do you feel pressured given all the ‘one-to-watch’ accolades you received at the end of last year?
“You know, I hadn’t released anything when it all started, so for people to be speculating that I was a ‘one to watch’ for 2014 was incredibly flattering and quite surreal. I think there’s a slight added pressure but I think all of us up-and-coming artists are in the same boat and ultimately, it’s down to whether people like your music or not. People mainly know me for Rudimental so it’ll be interesting to see how they feel about my own music.”

You’re not one to shy away from a cheeky collaboration – can we expect to see any familiar names on the album?
“I think that this album is mainly about me establishing myself as a solo artist. Having done a few collaborations last year I think it’s important for me to branch out and let people know that I am a solo artist and this is my body of work. I’m not saying no to any collaborations but I just think we’re focusing on me for once!”

You’re also partial to a cover or two – what song would you most like to make your own?
“I’m partial to a cover or ten! Well, at the moment I’m covering Good Luck by Basement Jaxx in my set, it’s a fantastic song to sing. There’s so much attitude and so much swag to it. It’s one of those songs where I don’t tell the audience what I’m about to sing and then within the first five seconds they’re all singing along. It adds a whole new dimension to a live show. It’s certainly my favourite one to do.”

Do you think your voice lends itself to bigger venues? How would you feel in a stadium setting?
“I think bigger would be nice. I don’t know how I feel about stadiums. I sang at Wembley Stadium last year for the Capital FM Summertime Ball with Rudimental. It was quite overwhelming and an incredible experience, but I think my favourite part of playing live is being able to see everyone’s faces and being able to communicate, and having an intimate experience with everyone. Even though a stadium is incredible for an atmosphere I’d like to be able to keep in contact with my fans as I go along, so maybe I’d play a couple of days at the same venue instead.”

What is your career highlight to date?
“I think – slightly obviously – it’s got to be the Brits. I went for two years as a punter – on a school trip. I saw Adele sing Someone Like You at the Brits and it was just a phenomenal moment. To think that two, three years later I’d be on the same stage performing with two bands that I respect highly and love on a personal level – and to then get on stage and win a Brit with them – was incredible. It’s going to be hard to beat this year.”

One last question. The hair: where does all that volume come from?
“Jamaica, Malta and a whole bottle of hairspray!”

Ella Eyre releases If I Go on July 6.