Ella Eyre

For most people, having a BRIT, a MOBO, a No.1 single and a top 5 album - all before the age of 22 - would be achievement enough for a lifetime. But Ella Eyre isn’t most people.


From the moment she tore onto the scene as a fiercely energetic, lion-haired 19-year-old, lending her precociously soulful voice to Rudimental’s chart topping single ‘Waiting All Night’, Eyre didn’t pause for breath. She picked up a BRIT Award for British Single Of The Year, co-wrote another UK No.1 single, Sigma’s ‘Changing’, won Best Newcomer at the MOBOs and finally, after a handful of high charting solo singles, released her debut album, Feline, in 2015. But after all that, she’s still on a mission to prove her worth.


“I think maybe the saddest thing about me,” she says, “is I’m never content in my successes. Having a BRIT Award is wonderful, and it sits on my cabinet, but I won’t look at it till there’s four. I’ve got two No.1s sat on my cabinet, but I don’t look at them because there’s not enough. I never get complacent.”


But the most important thing to Eyre – far more important than chart positions and awards, and the reason she started making music in the first place – is her live show. “When you’ve got 6,000 people in front of you that have paid to see you live, singing all the words, bringing signs, wanting to meet you after – that’s actually far more important than having the No.1 in the Wikipedia page.” It’s something she started to forget towards the end of the last album campaign, when she began spending too much time “worrying about the numbers and figures of it all.” Because for her, it had never been about that. “I had to take a step back and go, ‘I like what I do, but I don’t love it anymore. What’s different? What’s changed?” In the end, the solution was simple: “I need to chill the fuck out.”


It was a simple epiphany, but an important one. Free from the internal pressures she’d put on herself, and the arbitrary rules – no singing about drinking, partying or casual flings – she’d laid out as a teenager, her music went in a bold and liberated new direction. Quite literally, in fact - she travelled to LA to work on new songs, and ended up discarding the drum & bass sound she felt she’d outgrown, in favour of “full on, straight-up pop.” She wrote a handful of music with Jesse Shatkin, to whom she was drawn first because he’d written with her idol Sia, and then because “[our] success rate was just so good.”


Though she relished the process of her first album, she’s enjoying making music infinitely more this time around. “Mentally I'm in a completely different place to where I was with Feline. I'd just come out of my first teenage serious relationship, devastated obviously, so the whole album was about getting over that, how much of a dick he was… This time around, I was in a really good relationship, it ended on very good terms and I'm still very much on a high. I almost feel like I'm on a cloud, constantly, because every day is different.”


Eyre recently whet the appetite of fans anxious for new music with her Sigala collaboration, ‘Came Here For Love’, which racked up millions of streams in a matter of days when it was released earlier in June, and which she recently performed to 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium. But it’s her new solo single, ‘Ego’, that she’s most excited for fans to hear. The song more than delivers on her promise of full-on, straight-up pop – but its playful edge, combined with Eyre’s rich, soulful vocals and a guest verse from Ty Dolla Sign, ensures this is no throwaway hit. It’s a staccato, sun-drenched anthem for anyone reluctantly in lust: “I’m thinking ‘bout you / I’m drinking ‘bout you / I hate that I do / Now you know… don’t let it go blow up your ego.” The song, says Eyre, “represents the start of every single one of my relationships. I always end up dating really arrogant boys - strong-willed, creative, charismatic, interesting boys, but boys that never really hand it to you on a plate. ‘Ego’ was just toying with that. You fancy them, but fuck, you don't wanna admit it.”


On another new song, ‘Drink With Your Name On It’, she wholeheartedly let go of the “no singing about drinking” rule. The song, she explains, is about being at a party you don’t want to be at, with people you don’t want to talk to, and nothing to do but get very, very drunk. “You’re waiting for that one person to get there who said they’d be there,” she says. “I was thinking of my best friend, because she’s always late to parties, and I’m always wasted by the time she gets there.” She wouldn’t have written this song first time around, but her newfound resolve to “chill out” gave her permission to do so. “It’s part of life, why shouldn’t I write about it? At the end of the day, I’m 23, I’ve got absolutely bloody ages before I need to start settling down, so in the meantime I’m just gonna enjoy myself. Even though I might have matured mentally, my situations have remained the same. It’s just how I deal with them differently. I’m trying to figure that out, but not be too depressed about.”


And has she figured it out? “No,” she says with a laugh, “Not at all! I might not have the answers, but I certainly feel a lot better after. It’s almost like a maths equation. You know how you had to show your working out? Writing, for me, is showing my working out. Then it’s up to the audience how they perceive it.” 


That audience, her fan base, is a vast and varied thing. It ranges in age from 14 to 65 and beyond – though it’s to the teenagers she feels the greatest responsibility. “It really pisses me off when artists say, ‘I never chose to be a role model’,” she says of her newfound platform, “because you are one. Whether you like it or not, people buy your music, people buy into you, people wanna be you. You don't have to be a good role model, but you are one. You just are. And it's up to you to decide the kind of role model that you wanna be. For me, I keep it as real as I possibly can. I can't say that I'm not gonna swear, I can't say I'm not gonna say things that are controversial, but I would like to think that I can use my position to help and inspire people.”


Being unafraid to talk about feminism is one of the ways she can do that. “I am a feminist. It's a big deal at the moment,” she says, “and I feel really passionately about it and it's really great that all these strong women are coming together and speaking up. I've always been quite strong willed, so I've probably not come across the sort of discrimination some women might have, because I've just never accepted it.” That’s not to say the constant scrutiny doesn’t sometimes get to her – the way tabloids pore over women’s faces and bodies for entertainment. “I think I’ve just got to remember that you can’t be perfect all the time. I love to go to the gym but I can’t be at my goal weight all the time. If I want to have a burger, I’m gonna have a burger.” 


If there was one message to be taken from her new musical direction, says Eyre, that would be it – to live life more freely, with less urgency, and to try and have fun. “I’ve been so uptight and held back by people, situations, my own mind, and I've really enjoyed learning a lot more about myself.  I'm 23, I've got years before I need to seriously start thinking about life and kids and babies and marriage. What's the rush? I think that's the message - what is the rush? There isn't one.”

Alex Hardee
Booking Assistant: Ryan Penty ryan@codaagency.com Assisted by: Nicole Selke nicole@codaagency.com