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In conversation with Elle Darlingtonthe princess of pop

by Maja Bebber

"Trust yourself. You've got to put yourself first. And push yourself. Keep your head high. It can be hard sometimes, especially when you’re young."

Singer/songwriter Elle Darlington, began honing her exceptional vocals at the tender age of four. Hailing from Prestatyn, Wales, during her early years, she took lessons, later progressing her love of singing by enrolling in music college, where she perfected her gift whilst studying vocals. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, unable to go to college, Elle set up a TikTok account and started to post frequent videos of herself singing covers and showcasing her incredible vocal range. Rapidly gaining fans around the world, achieving tens of millions of views on the platform, Elle’s ability to quickly engage a global audience led to her singing. To date, she has over 1.2m fans combined over both TikTok & Instagram, where she continues to post her music and personality content.

At the time of our interview, she is taking a break from the busy city of London and life in the countryside in Wales with her family. Elle just released her first song, Wish You Would, and it’s what you expect from someone with her outgoing and luminous persona that emanates even through a screen. It’s a song that immediately catches your attention and is as sweet as it is poppy. The perfect soundtrack for crushing on someone.

If Elle had to be described with a quote, we think it would be this one by Spanish author Federico Garcia Lorca: “There are souls that you feel to lean forward to, like a sun-filled window. tmrw sat down with the twenty-year-old to speak about her ambitions when it comes to music, how travelling inspires her craft, and she also shares tips on how to heal from heartbreak.

What moment or experience led you to pursue a career in music? Was there a specific instance that ignited your passion for it?

Honestly, I’m not sure if there was one particular experience. I’ve been singing literally forever, since I can remember. Recently, I was going through a lot of childhood footage, specifically Christmas videos. It’s funny to see myself at two or three years old, a little foetus, singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and everything. I was definitely a dance kid, making home videos and watching shows with pop stars. I always yearned to live that life. So, I believe it was an innate desire within me to become an artist; everyone in my life knew that’s what I was going to do. It’s funny, looking back on it now.

And who’s one of your biggest inspirations when it comes to your music right now?

I’m a huge Mariah Carey fan. I’d say Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande. I’ve always been a huge Ariana Grande fan. Since the Victorious days.

dress: nadya dzyak, tights: trasparenze, scarf: thomas newbury, bra & knickers: stylists own

Wish you Would, is incredibly catchy. Your vocal style echoes Ariana in a captivating way. It’s your first song, can you share the creative process behind it?

What inspired its conception and lyrical content? Yeah, the first one. I wrote the song just over a year ago, after returning from an LA writing trip that left me feeling incredibly inspired. I was emerging from a healing phase following a breakup and had taken a break from dating for about a month. Then, on the weekend I returned home, I met somebody during a night out. I went into the studio feeling really enthusiastic about this encounter. I wanted to create a fun song about this newfound crush, especially after having written a lot of heartbreak-themed music. It represented a fresh musical direction for me and sparked excitement for this new phase. It became the starting point for the sound of most of my music since then.

Are there any specific musicians or bands who profoundly impacted your musical style or career? And tell us if I Wish You Would by Taylor Swift inspired your song.

I would say probably Mariah and Ariana are my biggest musical inspirations at the moment, I think, vocally. I love to listen to songs for vocals a lot of the time. And so, it’s something that I want to come through my music. And they’re both powerhouse vocalists. So yeah, those two and then I mean, I love Taylor Swift. The title was unintentional. It wasn’t intentionally inspired. I didn’t even know she had a song called I Wish You Would. I never thought to search for a song. But I’m honoured that we had the same idea.

top: sportmax, bralette: dora larsen, skirt: fendi, tights: falke

Have you performed live before? And is there any standout experience or memorable performance that holds a certain significance to you?

Yeah, so I’ve been doing a couple of live gigs kind of over the summer and into now. I didn’t quite know how I would react to it when I started. But I do love it. And I just think it’s an extra way of connecting with people that I didn’t get to experience for a long time.

Christmas Is You has such a dreamy essence to it. What’s your favourite lyrics from the song?

I love the part that says, “I used to think it was the lights, the snow on the roof. I wondered if I still believed. Now I know I do, Christmas is you.” I love it when it does that. It means we’ve been going through a bit of a tough time,or the past couple of Christmases have been a bit lonely and a bit sad. And now it’s like somebody has lit it up for you. Like a Christmas tree. They just brightened up life.

Having recently turned 20, how do you envision your career and personal growth in the next five years? Are there specific milestones or achievements you hope to reach by then?

I’m just envisioning going as far as I can. I feel like I’m a very driven person, and I’m really determined to make this work. I just can’t wait to put out as much music as I can. I’m still in the studio writing. I’ve got so much music backed up that’s ready to go in the new year. So yeah, I just imagine it being constant. I’m going to be releasing music, constantly growing, evolving and changing and doing live shows and travelling and all of that and just kind of building on what I have now.

corset jacket, leg warmer & shorts: ADEAM

What is some advice that you would give upcoming musicians?

I would say trust yourself. It can be a hard industry. There are so many voices and different opinions on what you’re doing. So, I think just trust yourself. You’ve got to put yourself first. And push yourself. Keep your head high. It can be hard sometimes, especially when you’re young.

What are your long-term aspirations or milestones that you wish to achieve?

I mean, Grammy season is just around the corner. It would be a dream, of course, to win a Grammy; I would die. I would literally die on the spot. There would be no speech. I would be dead. So that and I feel like I have big goals. Madison Square Garden is on my bucket list.

jacket & trousers: eudon choi,  bra: dora larsen

Do you have any upcoming projects or releases that your fans should anticipate?

I mean, the next one that’s coming. Very, very soon. It’s possibly my favourite of the songs that I have. I love this song. And it’s maybe slightly more R&B leaning. It was kind of Kehlani-inspired when we wrote it. And the messages are a little bit sassier. It shows the sassy side of my personality which I’m excited to put into the world because Wish You Would shows my very best, my very happy girl side of my personality. And yeah, I’m just excited to show the feisty version of me with the lyrics. So yeah, that is coming, and it’s got some beautiful backing vocals, and it just has great vocal moments. So, I know that everybody on TikTok is kind of obsessed with that song as much as I am. Something will be coming. And I won’t say the name yet. I’m going to start teasing it soon, I think so. Keep an eye out for that one. And then I have so many songs that are going to be coming, and everything’s going to be coming fast after that. So yeah, a lot of new music is on its way.

chain top, bra top & disco pants: vanity nap, rubber boots: onitsuka tiger

Wish you Would and Christmas is you is out everywhere now.

Photographer
Francesco Zinno
Stylist
Otter Hatchett
Styling Assistant
Khem Sharu
Hair
Marta Martineau
MUA
Michelle Dacillo
Nails
Chiara Ballisai
Agency
The Only Agency
Editor
Leigh Maynard
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