We live in a time when music is veering off in lots of interesting new directions. New genres are being born right before our very eyes and old genres are shifting into new territory. Artists like Lorde, Banks and Haim are all breaking the old rules and getting lots of attention for it. Enter Ego Ella may, an extremely talented singer/songwriter from London, England who describes herself as “a self-taught guitarist, part-time beatmaker and occasional poet.” Her music is truly unlike anything we’ve ever heard before. The artist who it’s easiest to compare her to would be Banks, given that they share a knack for writing especially trippy tunes, but Ego Ella May’s music is more soulful than Banks’ music and she also has a keen pop sensibility lurking behind the trippy beats. She’s like a cross between Banks, Sharon Jones, James Blake and Lily Allen, if we had to compare her to other artists. But her music is truly unique, so you should check it out for yourselves regardless of whether or not you like those artists. Now, onto the Q&A…
What is the story behind your name, Ego Ella May?
It’s my real name (LOL)! May is also my birth month.
What do your friends call you?
How old were you when you started making music?
17 was when i started singing properly, & 18 when I started playing the guitar and producing.
Did you produce the songs on your EP, Breathing Underwater, yourself? If not, who did?
No, Mini D and IAMNOBODI produced the whole EP.
I understand you previously released an EP called The Tree, but I couldn’t find it anywhere when I looked for it. iTunes didn’t have it – at least not in the U.S. store – and the links were dead when I found on a couple of sites that indicated you were giving it away for free. How can we get The Tree?
that’s odd! you can just head to my bandcamp page & download it there: http://egoellamay.bandcamp.com/
How does Breathing Underwater differ from The Tree? Are they in the same vein or are they rather different? (I did find the video for “Love Hard” on Youtube, which sounded a bit more in the trip-hop vein than the songs on Breathing Underwater, at least to my ears.)
Breathing Underwater just shows my growth between the two projects. I started and finished working on the tree in 2012 & released it early 2013, so naturally, breathing underwater is just a continuation which just shows where i’m at right now in my life and those songs reflect that. I’d say breathing underwater is a lot harder than the tree and yeah, as you’d say, quite ‘trippy’ and thats just where I’m at right now- those are the sounds that I warm to atm.
Did they film actual people when they made the video for “Love Hard” or was that all done on computers or…? (However they made it, I thought it was fantastic. It really matched the trippy vibe of your song perfectly.)
The silhouette is actually my friend Kojey Radical (who features on Come On) & I! We filmed it a little studio in Bermondsey 🙂
Do you have plans to make any videos for the songs on Breathing Underwater?
I plan to make a video for a least one of the songs, so keep an eye out for that.
How do you generally approach songwriting? Do you start with the beats or lyrics or a general melody or… ?
If its a beat I’m working with, I listen to the beat first & try to figure out what it’s making me feel, & then that determines what i’m going to write. I write a lot of short stories & poems so most times I already know what I’m going to say or will have some sort of reference that I can use. I like to record general melodies first though, just so I can figure out a structure.
Who are the three artists you’re most inspired by?
Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill and Frank Ocean.
If you could be on the cover of any magazine in the world today, which would you choose?
I don’t read magazines, so i wouldn’t know!
I think the songs on Breathing Underwater defy genre distinctions, but if you had to give it one, which genre would you call it?
To my ears, “Last Time I Checked” sounds like rap. Do you consider yourself a rapper?
LOL! i was afraid of that. No i don’t consider myself a rapper at all!
Have you always been a solo artist or did you spend any time in bands?
Always been riding solo 🙂
If you could open for any artist alive today, who would it be?
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