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ELA: “Become the expert at what you do and the rest will follow”

I would make one day a week the “creative day”. Turn the working week into 4 days (everyone will be just as proactive trust me) and on the fifth day, everybody spends their time being creative. Whether that’s drawing, learning, listening, making etc… and then you have your weekends as normal. I reckon if we […]

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I would make one day a week the “creative day”. Turn the working week into 4 days (everyone will be just as proactive trust me) and on the fifth day, everybody spends their time being creative. Whether that’s drawing, learning, listening, making etc… and then you have your weekends as normal. I reckon if we completely reconstructed the working week, we’d live in a much happier and healthier place.


As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing ELA (pronounced ‘Ella’) an emerging new artist who writes from her core and sings from her soul. The Welsh London-based singer-songwriter is an experienced recording artist for TV drama and is now embarking on releasing her own material with a forthcoming E.P. ‘Unfurl’ which will be released later in the year and which is written by ELA and Ian Barter who has worked with big names such as Izzy Bizu, Paloma Faith and Amy Winehouse. Each of the five songs are based on her own personal experiences and are about the challenges of becoming a young woman. Fans may be surprised at the range of genres: from smoky jazzy chords to piano and voice ballad to a sassy number. The first single from the E.P. is the chilled and upbeat ‘Our Summer’, OUT NOW.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

My absolute pleasure! I was born and raised in West Wales, in a tiny village called Brongest near the beautiful Tresaith beach. I lived near a dairy farm and often helped out on the farm after school. When I was around 10, we moved to Monmouth which is on the border of Wales and England (why I think I’ve lost my Welsh accent). I lived there until I finished school and then took the big jump to move to London and studied Anthropology and Media at Goldsmiths, University of London. So I very much identify as Welsh, but for the past 7 years have lived in London.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

For as long as I can remember I’ve performed and sung my way through life. I was always much more into that than getting picked for the netball team or playing in the school yard. You’d always find me in the music room most lunch breaks as a kid. My dad used to be a singer and so taught me classical singing from a young age which gave me the confidence to find my own voice as a musician. I’m now lucky enough to write my own songs and release my experiences to the world through the most tangible and engaging form of communication I believe is out there.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I’ve been a vocalist for the score of the BBC One hit drama series, Keeping Faith for the past 3 years. The original score and soundtrack, written by Amy Wadge and Laurence Love Greed, was nominated for a Welsh BAFTA and of course it won! Amy and Laurence both grabbed me and took me up on stage to be alongside them as they were presented with the Welsh BAFTA by Huw Stephens.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I mean, there’s slip ups all the time whilst recording but usually you just laugh it off and carry on… you have to remember that the voice is also an instrument and sometimes it can be quite hard to control! I always say ‘every day is a school day’ so keep learning and become an expert in your field.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

We’ve just started recording for BBC Keeping Faith 3 which is very exciting as production had to be put on pause due to Covid. I’m also planning on releasing another single very soon… watch this space!

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity is key in all industries and is profoundly important within the arts and entertainment sector. It’s important that we work with our peers to create space for all voices, to acknowledge that it is not a level playing field and that there is a lot of work to be done. To create and share stories with one another is a beautiful thing. It’s fundamental that all cultures are included within this and I personally won’t stand for anything less. I hope that as I continue to work in the industry, it becomes even more inclusive and collaborative because that is how it should be.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. “Become the expert at what you do and the rest will follow” — whilst first starting out, I kind of got wrapped up in social media and marketing rather than practicing becoming the best singer possible. Don’t let social media take over… the visibility will follow.

2. Learn to write music — I thought at the beginning I could just be a ‘singer’, but that’s not how it works in today’s music industry. Now, it’s much more than that and identifying who you are as an artist from an early age is key.

3. Follow your heart — more often than not we lean on our friends and family for their advice, but this is your own personal journey so listen to your gut instinct and always follow that.

4. “It’s a marathon, not a race” — you have to have patience, tenacity and be ruthless to survive in the music industry… so be prepared to be in it for the long run as it doesn’t happen overnight.

5. The arts are subjective — sure, you need to hit certain tastes to get your song on radio, but overall, if you like the music you’re making and are proud of it then remember everybody else’s thoughts are just their opinion and to not take that to heart

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Keep chipping away, take a breather if you need to, but never give up. Surround and immerse yourself in the right people and environment, exercise and go on long walks. Keep practicing. Keep improving. Keep going.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would make one day a week the “creative day”. Turn the working week into 4 days (everyone will be just as proactive trust me) and on the fifth day, everybody spends their time being creative. Whether that’s drawing, learning, listening, making etc… and then you have your weekends as normal. I reckon if we completely reconstructed the working week, we’d live in a much happier and healthier place.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My co-writer, Ian Barter. I would not have made the transition from music within TV and film to popular music without him. He randomly emailed me whilst I was exploring the East Coast of Australia in a motorhome. I remember thinking “this can’t be real” when he asked if I’d like to write some music with him. I researched his work and read he’d worked with Amy Winehouse and the rest of his incredible roster and my heart dropped. Here we are with one single released and much more to come.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

It’s a classic, and it’s a bit cliche but “everything really does happen for a reason”. There’s a reason why Ian Barter found me, why you are where you are today, why I’m making music, why you did what you did today. There’s always a reason why.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Adele… I know she’s pretty high in demand for a private lunch or brekkie but I’d like to tell her how much she inspired me as a teenager, tell her how bloody beautiful she is inside and out and also learn her fitness tips!

How can our readers follow you online?

Follow me on Instagram: @ela_music

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success

No thank you. This interview has been wonderful!

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