Drum n’ bake: Ella Eyre reveals recipe for success before Manchester Arena gig

Ahead of her shows with Olly Murs at the Manchester Arena, Ella Eyre took some time out of her busy schedule to chat to MM about being a role model, James Bay, and her love of computer games.

Let’s imagine that you’re a chef, and you’re asked to come up with a recipe for the perfect pop star.

For whatever reason, you throw a fusion of Afro-Jamaican, Maltese and English heritage into the mixing bowl with a sprinkling of cynicism, dash of hard-work and to top that off, a shed load of hair.

Not to mention a stunning voice, the capacity to swim forever and beat lads at FIFA. You stir it up, put it in the oven and hey presto… You’ve somehow baked a scrumptious, gluten-free Ella Eyre.

The 21-year-old singer and songwriter – and suspected cake – has been a feature artist on numerous tracks over the years.

Songs such as Gravity by DJ Fresh, Think About It by Naughty Boy and No Angels by Bastille, have all but brought her to the fore.

“It’s very flattering. It’s not like I’m One Direction,” said Ella as she described her recent experience with the general public.

“I can still get on the tube and the bus. But to be honest, It’s hard to differentiate between the people that know me for my music and are into me because of my hair.”

Ella made her breakthrough with Rudimental in 2013. And much to the delight of the ‘Eyrehead’ faithful – which is what her fans are referred to as – Waiting All Night reached number one in the UK charts.

This, in many ways, exposed her talent to artists that have since taken her on tour, such as Plan B, Bastille and Olly Murs – who travels to the North West with her to perform at the Manchester Arena this week.

“I’d actually say that Manchester is my second favourite city in the UK, after London obviously – I’m a Londoner,” said Ella, who, despite being as inherently mixed as they come, grew up in Ealing, West London.

“The crowd’s are always incredible, always up for it, always ready for a laugh. More like that than London if I’m honest.”

She also reminisced on her favourite outing in the city, saying: “When I played the Ritz in November last year, it was phenomenal, amazing.

“To sell out a venue that big, you don’t assume that many people know about you and it’s just awesome to see so many people there singing along to your words.”

But plans to establish herself as an independent artist are commencing after releasing numerous singles. Her newest single, Together, is available to pre-order, and her first album, Feline, will be available in stores from August 2015.

“I grew up listening to soul, pop, and funk. I’ve always loved that kind of music and that’s what I tend to listen to,” said Ella while articulating how she would describe her music to the average person.

“But I guess I’m mostly known for drum & bass, coming from Gravity and Waiting All Night, so in a way I’m quite eclectic.

“I’m very lucky in the sense that I’ve been able to fuse the styles that I’ve grown up listening to and the styles that are current and the styles that I enjoy now.”

She didn’t say what affected her in particular, but Ella acknowledges that the lyrics in her songs are usually the result of an ‘over-analysis’ of troubling moments in her life.

She said: “Generally the sad ones, the ones that you can’t get out of your mind.

“It’s quite a strange thing really. When you’re in a good mood you don’t spend your day thinking about it, or analyse every single segment of it.

“So it’s generally the harder times that I spend a lot of time writing about because you do sit there and analyse.

“What did I do wrong? What did they do? Why couldn’t it have worked out that way?

“That’s probably why you have so many heartbreaking songs all over the world, because we analyse. We over-analyse.”

Ella however claimed that she wants her music to be empowering, which is definitely illustrated in the music video to her song, Comeback.

It’s probably safe to assume that destroying a house and blowing someone’s car up is anyone’s idea of empowerment.

“Someone once said to me that if it comes from the heart, it goes to the heart and I completely live by that statement,” she added.

“The music I listen to affects me emotionally, especially when I’m feeling shit. When you’re upset about something, you listen to sad stuff that you need to air out.

“Somebody like James Bay and that type of stuff. Realist, war lyrics that relate to something very specific in my life. Makes you feel like someone’s listening or someone else has felt the same as you.

“There’s nothing better than listening to music that makes me feel better. That is what I want to achieve. With my music I want people to make them feel better and hopefully a better mood.”

In the context of celebrity, actions can, in some ways, shape an entire population. More so when thousands of adolescent teens are perpetually running around in circles looking for an icon to replicate – much like one of those Minion things.

Ella remarks that she has found role model status ‘strange’, as she has curbed the number of times she swears on Twitter in order to be a better example to her fans.

“I find it quite funny,” said Ella, describing her experience as a role model.

“Mainly because in my head I’m quite cynical and I’m living in my own little bubble. I find it quite strange that I actually have to sometimes watch what I say because I can accidentally offend people.

“I forget that people are looking up to me in some ways. The amount I used to swear on Twitter for instance is now significantly less.

“You’ve got to be aware of the people you might offend, just because my friends and family know my sense of humour and what I’m like, but I can’t expect others to know that.

“I’m definitely cynical, a realist. People always say to me, ‘what advice would you give people?’ I just say that don’t expect too much because then you’ll never be disappointed.

“I don’t really live in the dream world where I assume things are going to happen to me. I’ve always been a grafter, my mum’s always been a grafter, my mum’s always been about making the most of the world and what you do, and don’t expect other people to do it for you.”

Similar to many, Ella had energy when she was a teen. In fact, she had tons of it.

She swam competitively and danced in her spare time. The 21-year-old remarked that if her mum didn’t encourage her to stay active then she’d probably be in a very different place to where she is now.

“I owe my mum a lot in terms of trust,” said Ella. “She didn’t force me as a pushy parent or anything, it was just like, as a young energetic child you have to be pushed into the right direction. Otherwise, I would have easily ended up on the wrong path.

“I guess my mum wanted to make sure that I wasn’t on the streets and wasn’t just hanging out playing all the time. When I was at boarding school when my mum wasn’t around I pretty much got expelled from my school because I was doing exactly that.

“It’s important to have friends and be sociable, but my mum wanted me to have skills, so when I get to aged 18 or 21 where I’ve got to make decisions in life, that I’ve got options.”

On the topic of playing around, word through the grapevine was that Ella played FIFA.

She laughed, saying: “Yeah. I’m alright [at FIFA]. I haven’t played it in a while, I need to get back into it because we’ve got FIFA here on tour and the boys love it.

“I’m too competitive. I’ve never seen boys as a challenge, do you know what I mean? I’ve always competed against guys on a very level headed way, so if I just sit and watch it just winds me up.”

Mental. And who does she play as?

“Mum’s going to kill me. I’m supposed to support Arsenal because I live in North London. But they’re shit on FIFA so I go for Manchester United.

“I’ve been staying away from gaming though. The last FIFA I played was 2013.”

“I’m really into horse racing games on my Playstation 2 though. I love animals and love the idea of breeding my own racehorse and racing it. It’s so strange.”

You could tell she was getting excited as she laughed.

“I think it’s because it’s a craze when I was growing up – having a Ps2. As a girl I didn’t really want to play football all the time. Or shooting games. They scare the shit out of me,” she said.

“But I guess there are female options, so I got into this game called a Dog’s Life, where this dog goes along on his little missions and I completed it. I’ve got the Mary Kate and Ashley riding game. So when I wasn’t playing on my Animal Hospital, I’d play on the Ps2.”

When asked if there are any games she’s into at the moment, she replied: “I’ve purposefully banned all sorts of gaming. I’ve just had to get a new laptop because I broke my last one with Sims 3.

“I’ve admitted that I’m a gamer. Oh my gosh, this is awful. It’s coming out. I was into Sims 3 for ages. But mainly because you’re on tour and driving from city to city, you’re bored and there’s only so many movies you can watch, so it was the perfect sort of pastime.”

Sure, Ella, we believe you.

Ella Eyre will be performing at the Manchester Arena with Olly Murs on 22nd until 24th April as part of their UK tour. If you’d like tickets, please click here.

Image courtesy of Virgin Records, via YouTube, with thanks.

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