A Conversation With Ella Eliza

Meet your favourite new artist: German-born, London-based emerging pop/R&B artist Ella Eliza. She breaks down her captivating new single “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” and more.

In the past few years we’ve covered countless outstanding songs, but only a few are as captivating as Ella Eliza’s infectiously catchy electronic-centred alt-pop hit “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”. Taken from her upcoming debut EP INTROSPECTION and written during the first lockdown where most of us were feeling alone and isolated, this emotionally-driven self-produced track details the trials and tribulations of forming meaningful relationships in a major city like London. Ella’s relatable songwriting and her breathtaking vocal performance over one of the hardest trap-infused production you’ll hear is absolutely quality here. She shines and stays consistent throughout the song, delivering one of the best songs of the year. Having already garnered editorial support from Spotify with previous single “ALONE WITH YOU”, as well as a premiere on Wonderland Magazine, Ella Eliza has all the right tools to become your favourite new artist.

Read our conversation below.

Hey Ella, how are you doing?

Do you want the long answer or the short version? In all honesty, I’ve been having quite a few ups and downs recently and like so many others this ongoing lockdown is turning out to be quite the challenge at times. I am beyond thrilled to be releasing music though, it has honestly been keeping my head above water!

I understand, this will be over soon! How did you get into music?

My mum introduced me to music when I was very young, she always played classical music around the house and shared her love for singing with me. I joined a choir when I was in school and was pretty much hooked from then on.

That’s amazing. Who were some of your favourite artists you grew up listening to?

There are so many and they’re all so different! I listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, Prince, Amy Winehouse, The Commitments and the classical music my mum was playing around the house. My best friend and I were really into old school hip hop when we were younger and at parties my friend circle loved to listen to techno (how German haha). 

So eclectic! Whereabouts in Germany are you from?

To be honest, that’s a tricky one! I was born in a really small city in Rhineland-Palatinate called Speyer and then moved around quite a lot. I joined a choir program in the United States when I was teenager, so I spent some time there and before I eventually graduated school in a small city near Hamburg.

Nice! When did you move to London?

I first moved to London back in 2018, just after I turned 19. Time flies!

What made you want to move to London?

Music. 100%. I first came to London on a school trip and immediately knew that this is where I wanted to pursue my career. I then came back for a summer to do a musical theatre course at a school called LAMDA and the year after I did a similar course at Guildhall before I fully moved here in 2018.

How’s life been like for you here?

It’s been incredible so far! When I first moved here I was still very much trying to figure out who I wanted to become and where my journey was going to take me. The first months were tough; I really quickly ran out of money and was trying to make as many connections in the industry as I could. In order to sustain myself I started working as a barista full time before I realised that I actually really wanted to go to university. I am now about to graduate and I could not be happier! London brought out the best in me eventually and I love the endless possibilities this city has to offer.

Such an amazing story, I hope it inspires someone reading this one day. Let’s talk about your music, how would you describe your music to a complete stranger?

I’d call it Contemporary R&B mixed with Soultronic and Pop. I write songs about experiences that have shaped me into who I am and I’d say although my music fits within the commercial context, it still sounds pretty different. 

Love that! You’ve just released one of the most captivating songs we’ve heard in recent years. Talk us through the creative process for “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”

Oh wow, thank you so much! That might be one of the best compliments I ever received! The creative process for this song was similar to the other tracks on the EP, I started working on the production first and then wrote the song around the initial beat that I came up with. This process is pretty new to me as I come from a more ‘classical’ songwriter background where I would sit down at a piano or pick up a guitar and start writing a song, but ever since I got into production a little bit more I have been taking a lot of inspiration from the creative processes of producers like Kenny Beats. 

Amazing stuff. What inspired you to write it?

My environment to be fair. One big thing I learnt living in London is that it takes quite a bit of time and genuine effort to form meaningful relationships and you don’t really become close with a lot of people unless you both really want to. It came to a point where I was getting so tired of superficial friendships and unreciprocated loyalty that I had to make a conscious decision for myself to protect my energy and only invest time in people who were on the same page as me. ‘ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?’ is about the journey of me getting to that point where I could just let go where I needed to.

Do you feel dating apps have ruined relationships?

What an interesting question! I’m in two minds about this, the most toxic relationship I have ever been in started on a dating app and I think if we would have met in real life first we would have probably never ended up together as it was so clear that we were NOT right for each other. But then on the other hand I know people who have been married for a long time and initially met on a dating platform (one of those old school ones though, completely different thing I suppose). I’m gonna say yes, I do think it ruins more relationships than it forms probably. 

I guess it’s good for some and bad for others. Have you set yourself any expectations for this release?

I mean, I always set some goals for myself and my music because I feel like it actually makes it way more tangible to achieve the things you want. My team and I have been working intensively on this release, but at the end of the day you never really know how it’s going to be perceived. I am really ambitious and I aim to hit my targets, but when it comes down to it I try not to set too many expectations and practise gratitude for all the good things that are happening. 

Do you plan on releasing visuals anytime soon?

Yes, we shot something really cool for this that I can’t wait to share. Conceptualising visuals is starting to become one of my favourite parts about being an artist.

Ooh interesting. Is this the sound we can expect from your upcoming EP?

Something along these lines, definitely. The EP is influenced by so many different artists, genres and experiences, so I would say all the tracks are in the same ballpark, yet they sound nothing alike.

Do you have a release date set for it?

I do, but I’m afraid I can’t share that just yet…

Damn, well excited to hear it. What else can we expect from you this year?

A lot of personal growth hopefully and loads more music!

Stream “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” below:

Connect with Ella Eliza

Signe Vange — Dinosaur