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»She’s the girl with the big voice, hits and hair,« says Cosmopolitan magazine. »Now with her debut album Feline last August, the world is about to find out why Ella Eyre is such a force to be reckoned with.«
Yet the singer with the big hair and big attitude calls her mum her ‘backbone’ – and has never been on a date! CURRENT talks to Ella about mum, music and her ‘pinch me’ success.
My parents broke up before I can even remember – my dad lives in Jamaica now, but he was around when I was younger. They have a good relationship, and growing up in a single-parent family has actually been easy to handle – my mum couldn’t have done a better job. She keeps me in line though – she’s always saying ‘Stop wearing on Twitter’!
I won a part scholarship to the exclusive Millfield School, and being around wealthy kids definitely shaped my view of money. I’m not from a well-off family – my mom had to remortgage the house twice to send me there. But people are still like, ‘Oh, you’ve come from a privileged upbringing.’ Well, yes, I have, in the sense that I had an education. But I’m incredibly grateful to my mum. She couldn’t afford to send me to the school but she did anyway. It made a huge difference.
At Millfield, I trained as a competitive swimmer. Then I acted in a school production of Bugsy Malone, about the American gangster, and I had a light bulb moment when I knew what I wanted to do: sing and perform. I’d always written down thoughts, emotions and poems, but it never occurred to me I could write my own songs.
Most people know me for my dance music, so I’m really excited to show everyone a different side – especially since I’ve written this entire album. I’ve been involved in everything – even down to the photo on the cover. There’s so much hype around my first album and a huge amount of pressure. But I think of it as a learning curve.
Sometimes people forget you’re a person and have a private life. I don’t like having my picture taken in the gym. It’s my shutdown zone. And it’s hard when I haven’t seen my mum for a month because my schedule has been non-stop.
What motivates me most is looking for that moment when all the dots suddenly join together – even if it’s just for a show, and you wouldn’t change anything.
I’ve never actually been on a date. I rarely get asked – and if I do – I freak out. If I did, it’d probably involve sushi. I hate flowers! I’ve always found the best relationships are the ones I didn’t expect.
(Adapted from Current, January/February 2016)
a) Now that your own album Feline is out, how does it feel?
b) What was boarding school like?
c) Though your parents split up early, it sounds like you had an upbeat childhood.
d) What keeps you driven?
e) Is it true you didn’t always want to be a pop star?
f) You’re single right now, but what’s your dream date?
g) How are you coping with fame?