naivety | ellie makes music (rough demo)
naivety | ellie makes music (rough demo)
trouble | ellie makes music (original)
new song! a live version from greenwich!
Hello, lovely folk!
Just to let you all know, I will be playing in London tomorrow. More specifically, the Greenwich Tavern. It is free entry and I will be playing a 45 minute set. I’m due to start at 9pm.
I am very excited for my first gig in London. I hope you can come!
Ellie James, or Ellie Makes Music, is a 19 year old singer-songwriter from Cardiff. Over the past four years, she has gigged consistently around the city supporting artists such as Paper Aeroplanes, Jose Vanders and Sue Denim.
Highlighted by the Western Mail and South Wales Echo as one to watch in 2013, Ellie has been on lock down in the studio recording her debut EP ‘City Lights’. The EP, self-penned and recorded at Acapella Studios, is slated for release in May/June 2013 and will follow her debut single, ‘Shaky Hands’, released on April 14th.
I first spoke to Ellie when we both were shortlisted for the ‘Next Brit Thing’, back in 2012. I scrolled down the list of names hoping to find someone brilliant and when I stumbled across Ellie’s music, I was instantly enchanted and felt compelled to message her. I have been following her music journey closely on facebook and tumblr ever since and have been strongly reminded of her favourite artist, Laura Marling, who shines through clearly in all that Ellie does (Ellie’s other tumblr username is ‘acreatureyoudontknow’) while Ellie still retains her own sense of musical individuality. Ellie will clearly be a strong addition to the folk scene in the U.K in years to come and with all the success she’s received in the past two years, it seems like she’s set to ‘make it’.
1) When did you first start writing your own music?
I first started writing my own music when I was about 13. I started up a myspace page after seeing a member of one of my favourite bands at the time start her own solo project on myspace. I got a very small following on there, some of whom are still friends today. All through high school I was very into writing songs, performing covers. I didn’t start taking it seriously until I hit 16.
2) Tell us the meaning of the song, ‘I Am Not What I Am’. I am particularly intrigued by this song. What were your thought processes behind it, how did you write it?
I did English Literature and Language for A Level and for our second year coursework we studied Othello by Shakespeare. Iago, the villain of the play, has this great speech at the end of the first act where he decides he’s going to mess up Othello’s life just for the sake of it, and he says ‘I Am Not What I Am’. I really, really liked that line and then at the bus stop after my class, I wrote the lyrics on my phone. Then I got home and played around with a guitar part I’d been working on and fit it to the lyrics. That’s probably the quickest I’ve ever written a song!
3) If you had the opportunity, which alternative instrument would you like to learn and experiment with?
I wish I could play piano. I used to have lessons but I hated it. It’s not like guitar where I could easily teach myself based on a few chords, but hopefully I’ll get someone to teach me one day!
4) Do you rely heavily on the internet to promote yourself? If so, what other mediums do you use as well?
The internet’s a massive part of promotion. Everyone has an internet connection now and it’s the best way to interact with fans and to get the attention of radio djs or gig promoters. Radio is a big part of promotion, too. Doing interviews and sessions has helped me to get a bit of a wider following. Plus, gigs in and around my home town Cardiff are a good way to promote yourself too.
5) Jobs in the art industry are often touch and go which can make them extremely exciting and rewarding but equally unstable. I see you have released a single, ‘Shaky Hands’, on iTunes and are releasing an EP soon. Where are you looking to go next in terms of your music career? Are you going to University?
Yep! My single’s out now on iTunes and Amazon and my EP will be available, too. I think it’s really important to have music available to buy, both physically and digitally, because it offers you so many more opportunities. I know lots of gig promoters and radio djs and producers won’t even look at people without some good quality recordings.
I’m heading to Uni in September to study Commercial Music as a degree with an integrated masters. I want to continue to play the music game and hopefully continue building up experience and a fan base so that I can do more. But I would also like to do some professional songwriting.
5) What is your opinion on musicians who do not write their own music? Do you feel the ability to compose is an intrinsic part of being a ‘musician’?
I know a lot of amazing singers who don’t write their own music, and that’s fine, because I know how hard it is to be a great singer and if you struggle with composition and want to focus on your instrument, that’s cool, but I don’t think they’ll grow unless they play some part in their musical direction. Composing your own music is becoming a more important tool in being a ‘musician’, and a lot of popular music courses in universities now will only accept people who show some promise in songwriting, which is great. People with great voices will probably get some success, but they won’t be hailed as musical heroes like Joni Mitchell, The Beatles or Bob Dylan have been.
6) Tell us your secret guilty pleasure song?
My guilty pleasure songs are all Glee songs. They’re so auto tuned and sometimes ridiculously over produced, but they do some great versions of things! Especially Teenage Dream.
Thank you, Ellie! I wish you all the best with your successes!
If you have fallen in love with this girl’s music, check out her web links:
babel | ellie makes music (mumford & sons cover)
how can i live without it/untitled song - ellie makes music (laura marling cover)
if you’re not british, my single will be available in your country too! just search ‘ellie makes music’ and it should come up. yippee!
the link above will take you to the british itunes store, but it is available internationally, so search ‘ellie makes music’ and it will come up!
if you don’t have an itunes account, it’s also available on amazon (if british click here).
In exactly one week, Shaky Hands will be available on iTunes and Amazon to buy! You can pre-order it now on iTunes and I’d really appreciate it if you could!