Taking hold of her soul

The career of BRIT Award-winning singer Ella Eyre has accelerated rapidly since her series of hugely successful singles and her 2015 album Feline. But, like all experienced artists, she has already discovered the rewards of a good mindset and what it takes to keep her creativity in the long term.

Realisation literally means the act of becoming fully aware of something as a fact. For Ella Eyre, the 26-year-old British pop sensation with a BRIT Award and a double platinum number-one single under her belt, who earlier this year returned with her new single, New Me, the greatest moments of realisation have always been when she is performing live. “There is nothing like hearing an audience singing your words back to you,” she says. “To witness and know you have inspired any form of emotion in other people with your music is the greatest reward.”

In order to stay creative in her everyday life, five years since the release of her critically acclaimed debut album Feline, which took her around the world on a mission to find herself both as a solo artist and as a person, she has now found a routine: she enjoys waking up early and being physically active in the mornings. “Exercise is a really effective way for me to channel any pressure or frustration and leave with a sense of accomplishment,” she continues. “So I have learnt over the years that the more time I give to myself before anything or anyone else, the more present and engaged I am with what I need to do. If I leave the house in a fluster about something I have not resolved, I will often carry that feeling with me all day.”

In terms of inspiration, she believes that most of her writing deals with significant moments in her life. She points out that she thinks the music tends to have a mood directly linked to what she was feeling at the time. For instance, her first album was written during and after quite a bitter break up. “I think you can tell how much younger and angrier I was back then,” she says. “As a fan and a listener myself, I look for music that comes from a personal place, so it is important for me to do the same as an artist.”

However, as a child she never thought being an artist was possible. She did not know anyone in, or anything about the music industry. It was not until she was 16 and studying musical theatre that she came to the realisation, for the first time, that she did not want to be on stage as a character, performing songs she could not relate to. “I wanted to be myself, write my own stories and perform them in my own style. I think it is normal for anyone to have doubts and insecurities about the longevity of their career but I know I could not or would not do anything else.”

In the wake of her father’s sudden passing in 2017, she experimented with sounds in the US, found healing and limitless inspiration in her father’s homeland, Jamaica, and returned to London full of confidence and a hard drive bursting with hits. “So many!” she bursts out when asked if there have been any specifically memorable moments of realisation in terms of song ideas that she could feel was actually taking shape. “But one of my favourites was a song I wrote in Jamaica, called ‘Rain in Heaven’. I was hosting a writing camp out there and we kept referring to where we were as heaven and on one of the days it rained constantly. I posted a video on my Instagram saying ‘It even rains in heaven’ and from that came the song. It is about thinking you were in the perfect relationship and realising that even something so perfect can go so wrong. It’s not released yet but it’s quite possibly my favourite song I have ever written.”

She elaborates that the specific moments of realisation in terms of her songwriting tend to be different for every song. “Sometimes you have a good feeling from the start, and that level of confidence allows the song to write itself. Or when you are laying down the vocals and you start to hear it coming together properly. Sometimes the moment of realisation is not until weeks later when you listen again with fresh ears. Sometimes I have a tendency to self-sabotage the creative process, so often I have not realised the potential of a song until I have taken myself away from it.”

One of the greatest lessons she has learnt as a songwriter is that her mindset can be the maker or breaker of her own ideas. “Songwriting can be like therapy and I know I use it all the time to release tension,” she reflects. “But sometimes I would put too much pressure on myself to squeeze creativity out of what I was feeling which just encouraged more frustration. So now I just write things down whenever they come to me, with no structure or rhythm and come back to them when I have a clearer, more open mind.”

The only thing that has occupied Ella’s mind recently is the coronavirus. “Social media in isolation is a whole new level of intense and with Covid-19 globally confining us within the walls of our own homes, it is so hard to think of anything else when there is very little to distract us from it,” she says. “I have very quickly learnt to avoid it for most of the day because I want to be productive, but it is extremely hard to enforce that, being locked away in the most comfortable space I know.”

As Ella has grown and matured as an artist, so too have her ambitions. Hits are great but she is now more interested in a long, stable career than she is about hitting the number one spot. Already an industry veteran and a much-loved star, her future in the pop pantheon seems secure. So is there finally anything creative left that she still wants to realise? The answer is yes. She says there will always be more to creatively realise and she thinks that is a good thing. Otherwise she would have no idea what her next album will be about!

Team Credits:
Words by Jonatan Södergren
Photography by Nick Thompson
Styling by Fernando Torres
Production by Alexandra Georgette Oley
Makeup by Kristina Theodoris using Trish McEvoy
Hair by Alisha Dobson
Talent: Ella Eyre
Hair Assistant: Poppy Hughes
Stylist Assistants: Lena Mistry & Ondrea Walker

Fashion Credits:
1# Earrings Stylist’s own, Blazer and Shirt by Acne Studios
2# Dress by Edit, Sunglasses by J.Lindeberg, Earrings and Necklace by Rouleau London
3# Top by Ida Klamborn, Suit and Gloves by Mulberry, Shoes by Nike and Earrings by Topshop
4# Set by Rouleau London, Gloves by Humana Sweden and Earrings Stylist’s own
5# Top and Trousers by Stine Goya, Denim Bra and Waist Belt by Weekday, Sneakers by Nike and Earrings Stylist’s Own
6# Dress by Acne Studios, Maxi Dress and Boots by I Love Seasons and Earrings Stylist’s Own

Ella Eyre: @ellaeyre, ellaeyre.com, Spotify