I’m waiting for Ella Eyre backstage at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, where she is the main support for The Script’s arena tour.
After being brought through by her charismatic Tour Manager Jez, I’m waiting in the hall prepping my questions. Out of nowhere, Ella comes bursting into the hall like a massive ball of curly-haired energy, a huge smile on her face, and an openness that I haven’t seen in an artist in quite some time. “Sorry about the delay, we were just surprising a crew member with a birthday cake” – it’s definitely one of the more wholesome reasons I’ve been kept waiting.
As we sit down in her dressing room, we get straight down to business. “The fans on this tour have been SO lovely. One thing I’ve learnt from years of doing support tours is the fans reflect the type of artist you’re supporting. The Script are so lovely, hospitable and warm, and so open. Weirdly, without even trying to connect the two – the fans have been very similar. They’ve been very open. Mine and The Script’s music is quite different, but by the end of the set you can see that some of them are converted. It’s so hard when you say to a crowd of people who aren’t there for you – ‘sing this bit’. But all the crowds on this tour so far have been really up for it. It’s been wicked.”
As my eyes drift to the dressing room table, I notice all sorts of health products sprawled amongst hair products… “This has been quite a daunting tour cos it’s so long and there’s not many days off – it’s mostly three days on, one day off. For a vocalist it’s quite daunting to sing that much consistently well. And my problem is if I’m enjoying the set too much I’ll over-sing and tire myself out. And nine times out of ten I’m enjoying the show too much. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke on tour, I’m like a vocal nazi. I’ve got my steamer, I’ve got my teas.”
“I’ve learned the hard way coming from touring with Rudimental where their motto is all about partying. Maybe less so now cos some of them have had kids, but back in the day as a 17 year old on tour, I embraced it. You learn the hard way that you can’t compromise the gig, so unfortunately I”m incredibly boring. My survival package is ‘Throat Coat’ teas, Manuka Honey, a steam everyday four hours before the show. No partying – I go to bed straight after the gig. Get up, go to the gym, exercise, yoga. I’ve been really strict. But it’s really good for my sanity – this is a two month tour – so I didn’t want to wear myself out. It’s all part of the job – you get to tour all these amazing cities and countries, you kind of have to behave or you’re not gonna be doing it for very long.”
Wanting to be prepared for our chat, I had spent a good few hours watching and reading some of Ella’s previous interviews. One theme that was constant, was ‘honesty’. Both from the saying things that people don’t wanna say cos it’s awks, side of things, and the talking about subjects that most humans shy away from side of things. So, I brought a genius idea into the mix – let’s google ‘questions for honest people’. Yes, that’s a thing. Thank you Google. Ella embraced the brilliant (lame) idea…
How do others describe you?
“Loud. My mum would probably call me sassy. The sass hand and nails emojis are still my most used. I’m quite blunt – I don’t fuck about. Sometimes that’s a good thing sometimes it’s not.”
If you had to pick any three skills for a successful professional life, what would they be?
“Focus. Balls. Passion.”
How do you build trust with others?
“Making sure you have the ability to listen. The ability to understand social scenarios. The ability to be honest with others, especially about how you’re feeling. If you’re thinking too much about this, you probably aren’t great at gaining other people’s trust haha.”
Thankfully, as Ella is a pure human – the conversation didn’t end after the lame honesty game, and we moved on to conversation about the forthcoming second album.
“I’m not in a hurry. The things that are coming this year reflect the album well. I feel like I need to feed the fanbase with music before the album, cos it’s been a while since ‘Came Here for Love’, and there’s a lot coming this year that I’m really excited about. This year is gonna be a very different chapter for me. I’m in a lot more control creatively. I’ve played a few new songs on this tour, and they’ve been going down really well.”
‘Positivity’ is a theme that Ella has mentioned in regards to this new album quite a few times recently, so I ask if that’s still the case…
“I’d say I’d retract from that slightly now. In my mind – ‘positive’ – means I’m coming from a more positive perspective in my mental capacity. When I wrote my first album I was this angry heartbroken teenager who fucking hated everything. I’m still a bit cynical but my outlook on life has become a lot broader. And I think in being broader it has become a lot more positive. I was saying the other day – you are the kind of energy you give off. I’ve tried very hard over the past couple of years to have an energy that is very positive and can be infectious in a way that can help others – cos in a team I think that’s very important. The album is more positive, but I wonder if that’s just cos I’m more positive now.”
The album writing process has brought its ‘positive moments’ though… “The happy moments come from the most unexpected moments. Like – when you’re going in and writing songs everyday, all the days can roll into one and it can be quite difficult, especially when you’re not feeling particularly inspired. The days when you’re not feeling ‘too hot’, and the song idea comes, you’re like ‘woah, where did that come from’. That’s always a really exciting time as a writer. A good song on an off day is a very good highlight. There’s quite a few of those on the album.”
And now, Ella has already shared with the world the first piece of joy from said forthcoming album – ‘Answerphone’, with Banx & Ranx and Yxng Bane.
“It was one of those moments where I didn’t know how the day was gonna go. Shakka was in the session, and Jake from Blonde too. Really cool group of people. The song happened in a day and I love it. It’s a fun way of taking something quite depressing, and spinning it in a happy way. My mum loves it, which is always a really good sign. She normally likes the things I don’t like, but on this one we’re agreed – so that’s a good sign.”
As we say goodbye (she gives great hugs), there’s a definite warmth in the room. A warmth from Ella, a warmth from her team.
I’m genuinely excited to see where this album takes her, cos one thing is for sure, with this attitude, this work ethic, and this ability to write absolute monster BANGERS, it should take her worldwide.
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Words by Sam Nahirny