Going Deeper With Rising British Star Ella Eyre
Ella Eyre. You may not know the name, yet, but you know the voice. Turn on the radio and you have heard her first overseas hit, “Deeper”. It’s been a hit over the last year since its release in December 2013. Her tone, skill and personality can be defined as a mix between Adele and Lauryn Hill, two powerhouse names you don’t mention lightly.
Ella has been opening up for British rock sensation, Bastille, who also recently hit it big in the U.S. with their album, “Bad Blood.” Eyre has worked with Bastille before, in her short but impressive career, on covers that gained them millions of views on YouTube. The work that originally got her recognized by the industry was her collaborations with Rudimental, Naughty Boy and Wiz Khalifa. In fear of being stuck in a perpetual “feature singer” rut, she went on to pursue her solo career.
While some might think that “Ella Eyre” is either her given name or a stage name, it’s actually a version of both. Ella Eyre was born “Ella McMahon,” but decided to go with “Eyre” simply because she liked the way it sounded. However, like the fictional story of “Jane Eyre,” Ella was also born into a mysterious family.
“I’ve got quite a lot of family I’ve never really met before. I’ve got a large family. I’m half-Jamaican, half-Maltese, both sides are humongous. Supposedly, Eyre is in my family tree somewhere. But my nana actually died before she could tell me where. It’s something I’ve always known about, but not really known where [it’s] from.”
Eyre is currently on her second U.S. tour, the first time being a featured artist performing with Rudimental. This is her first round of touring in the U.S. as a solo artist, and Eyre couldn’t be happier as American fans have welcomed her with open arms.
“Considering the Americans, particularly on this tour, don’t really know much about me or my music, they’re incredibly hospitable. I walk right on stage. It doesn’t matter who I am, it doesn’t matter how little they know about me, they are so welcoming. We’ve had such fun on the tour. They sing along and are very much willing to get involved. The English crowds are too, but Americans take it to a whole new level, not even just with the shows, but generally. It’s really lovely. In America, everyone is just so friendly. It’s a really lovely environment to be around.”
It also doesn’t hurt that Eyre is touring with a band she respects and is getting to explore the country on her off days. This time around, Eyre is visiting cities she’s never visited before and is thoroughly enjoying the adventure.
“I love working with Bastille. Me, Dan [Smith], Woody [Chris Wood] and some of my band are doing the Insanity workout while on tour. It’s intense, but you get to spend some interesting time together. They’re great guys, really down to earth. It’s so lovely to be able to work with them on such an equal level.”
While Eyre writes as often as she can, the end of the U.S. tour with Bastille means crunch time before the release of her debut album, she hopes to release in the first quarter of 2015.
“There isn’t a set date at the moment. I’m still writing. I like to write up until the last minute. Why not when you have time. You never know what’s going to come up and you don’t want to miss out on something that could potentially change everything. The album has been written over the course of several years. It’s about me [growing up] and dealing with my day-to-day issues through a song in a really crazy way, obviously in a way I hope people can relate to. In a sense, this album is honestly just me talking shit and being a teenager. This is the first chapter of my life.”
While we await her debut album, three tracks off her self-titled EP are getting airplay, the first of which was “Deeper.” Like many young songwriters, she writes about what she knows best: her life. But instead of getting too personal, Eyre likes to keep it vague on purpose.
“I don’t want people to suddenly be skeptical of who it’s about, or what it’s about, or when I wrote it or when it was meant to be released. People can relate to it more and relate it to their situations rather than mine. I don’t want people to feel like they are listening to my issues. I wrote this song so people can listen to it and think, ‘Shit, this is exactly how I feel,’ and hopefully make somebody feel like they’re not alone in that scenario.”
Her second single off the EP was titled, “If I Go,” a track she wrote and produced with Jarrad Rogers (Lauryn Hill, Demi Lovato, Rita Ora, Lana Del Rey), who also produced a few more tracks off her upcoming debut album.
“Working with [Rogers] was amazing. I think that was the first time we wrote together. It was one of the last songs I wrote last year. [After finishing the song, I was] coming away from it, thinking it was cool, but not thinking too much to it. Jarrad flipped it up and it sounded so unbelievable. It’s a great story for me especially because [the song] is about one of the most recent experiences that I’ve had so it means more to me than the others in the moment as it’s the most current.”
Eyre says it can be tricky to perform her older songs live as she feels differently that she did when she wrote them years ago. It’s plausible then that she might have trouble getting into the mindset to perform her latest single, “Comeback,” as she wrote the song when she was only 16 years-old. But Eyre mentions that the themes are still universal and performing it helps her acknowledge how much she has changed over the years.
“Particularly when you’re playing these songs live, it’s like reliving the situation I’ve been through when I wrote those songs. My mind frame tends to be quite different as I wrote most of the songs quite a while ago. Looking back on the scenario, thinking very differently now than I did then. I wrote it when I was incredibly young and I think it’s why it’s got quite bad language. I was more immature in terms of my mind frame in the way I dealt with things. Dealing with a breakup now, as a 20-year-old, it’s considerably different. I guess in a way for me, it’s like missing something. It shows how much I’ve grown up. It doesn’t matter how immature I want to be about it. Everybody’s been in situations where they’ve been taken advantage of by somebody and “motherfucker” sometimes just needs to be said.”
Ella Eyre will be performing in the L.A. area on Nov. 20, opening for Bastille. While she may not be planning anything in particular for the L.A. audience, she will still give a performance that they will not soon forget.
“For me, it’s about getting people involved and getting people to remember who I am and my songs. I want to relate to people, I want to connect to people. I want people to feel related to my songs in some way, and to take something away with it. Ultimately, I just want people to have fun. I’m warming up for Bastille and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I want to make sure they remember me for enjoying themselves and not just watching me stand there with a microphone.”