Music | In The Middle with Ella Eyre
Ella Eyre has built on the overwhelming success of her lead role in Rudimental’s ‘Waiting All Night’ with festival performances, a debut single and a tour full-to-brim with sold-out shows. In The Middle caught up with her ahead of her Leeds leg, right here in the The Gryphon’s backyard.
You’re playing Stylus in Leeds University Union on Friday, are you looking forward to it?
I’m really excited, every time I come back to Leeds I have a wicked time. I’ve got quite a few friends up there so I’m looking forward to playing a bigger venue and seeing some more faces.
So last time you played in Leeds you played O2 Academy at Live At Leeds, as well as Cockpit in March, how are the Leeds crowds?
It was amazing, absolutely amazing. I heard the Cockpit’s closing?
After 20 years, so you’d have been one of the last to play it.
It so sad because I had such an amazing time in that venue, it was such a good gig. To have sold it out and the crowd went wild – it was really really fun.
When you’ve played here, have you had a chance to look around the city much? Do you have any favourite places to visit?
I love Nation of Shopkeepers. It’s like a pub and they sell really good Sunday roast.
How does it feel seeing the size of the venues you play as a solo artist increase over time?
It’s quite exciting really, the fact that the demand is there and that people want to see me play live. It’s really flattering if anything.
Do you prefer the bigger gigs or the more intimate ones?
I don’t really mind, they’re both different, they both bring something different. To me it’s all about the crowd. Depending on the size of the crowd it varies but I do quite like the intimate ones otherwise I wouldn’t come and communicate with an audience properly.
Over the summer you’ve played a lot of festivals, did you have any favourites from this year?
Probably Glastonbury, I think is the highlight because it’s was one of the festivals I’ve always wanted to play. As a solo artist, being able to do that two years into my career is just phenomenal, but also Pukkelpop in Belgium was a massive highlight. Such an incredible festival, the crowd were absolutely awesome.
How’s the response been in other countries?
Unbelievable, Poland is insane.
You’re supporting Bastille in America in November, are you looking forward to that?
Really looking forward to that. I love the band, being on tour with them will be really nice, spend a bit of time with them. Also to see towns in America that I’ve never seen before and to be on the road and actually see something. I feel like on tour you very rarely get to see anything because you just spend it in a bus or spend it from airports to cars and cars to venues, to cars, to hotels, so it’s really nice to actually get the chance to go out there and discover some new things.
Have you played much in America?
I haven’t really, I played a couple on my own recently and they went down really well so I’m looking forward to playing some bigger shows.
You’ve collaborated with artists such as Rudimental and Bastille in the past, how does working on your solo career compare to the collaborations?
I love it because as a solo artist you get to have more control, it’s all about you and what you want, so I really enjoy developing and finding out the kind of artist that I want to be. It’s fun.
Do you reckon the collaborations have any influence on your solo material, has it made you want to try out more different styles of music?
It’s definitely influenced me particularly the Rudimental stuff, knowing what works with the crowd and what people respond to, and I think it helps when it comes to writing my own stuff knowing generally what goes down well and what doesn’t really work. It’s influenced the formula but at the same time it’s been a lot of fun.
Your latest single ‘Comeback’ was released last weekend, how’s the response been to it so far?
It’s been amazing. For me, I wanted this song to be something people can relate to because I know everybody’s had that situation where somebody’s taken advantage of them, whether they’ve cheated or not, and I couldn’t ask anything more from people just to understand and appreciate what I’m saying and to be able to share the experience with me.
What made you choose ‘Comeback’ to be the next single?
It had slightly more attitude and personality to it than ‘If I Go’. I introduced ‘If I Go’ as a way that I thought would bridge the gap between the Rudimental link and myself and so I felt like ‘Comeback’ was very much a product of who I am.
How’s the album coming along? What can we expect from it?
The album’s coming along really well, pretty much finished. I think you can expect a lot of honesty. I like to write about experiences that I’ve had so that people can share them and not feel like they’re on their own. I guess you can just expect a lot of vulnerability and moments where hopefully people will feel inspired.
The songs are written from a personal experience, is that something you plan to continue?
I’d definitely continue it, for me I feel like I live in a community that inspires me to make you feel a certain way and I feel like people won’t believe what I’m saying if it isn’t real.
Thinking ahead, what direction would you like your career to go in?
I’d just really love it to sort of rise gradually. I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of years. It’s developed and leaped. I would love to be able to travel worldwide and to be known across the pond.
Leeds has quite a strong up and coming music scene, what advice would you give to anyone trying to begin a career in music?
I think for me my advice would be that it’s all about networking and who you know and a question of being nice to everybody as you never know who you’re going to meet on the way down. I think that it’s a question of broadening your horizons like I feel like I need to know a little bit more about the world I live in.
Finally, what can we expect from your performance in Leeds on Friday?
Lots of energy and hopefully a lot of fun.
slider photo: bbc.co.uk
photo 1: bn1magazine.co.uk
photo 2: mark mcnulty, mtv.co.uk
photo 3: mat arney