British artist Ella M, now based in LA, debuted earlier this year with the single ‘Myself’. The track caught the attention of tastemakers like Wonderland and EARMILK, and each single released since has plays in the tens of thousands. It’s easy to see why. Trained for opera, in her own music Ella M brings together pop and jazz under the influence of artists like Erykah Badu, The Police, Amy Winehouse, and Nina Simone. That’s a strong place to start. The singles Ella has released this year are culminating in the release of an EP this Friday (30th October), titled Yellow Blazer.
Perhaps it was because I had Ella’s training and influences in mind that I didn’t quite connect with ‘Myself’ at first. It’s a beautiful song, and I love the atmospheric scene-setting it provides for the collection. I just found myself wishing that, as an introduction, ‘Myself’ had given Ella’s voice a bit more punch. Otherwise, its a hazy, warm track, with something of the Soundcloud aesthetic (the good side). I enjoyed the twinkling production details that complimented the bass. ‘Till the love’ follows on, the only track on the EP not to have been released as a single, bringing with it a welcome clarity and brightness. Ella’s voice sounds especially gorgeous in the hook. There is something Lily Allen-esque there, a likeness that returns in the later track ‘Too Cool’.
Yellow Blazer pares down nicely on ‘24 Hours’, opening with a lovely balance of vocals and guitar that builds beautifully into the chorus. It was on this track where I felt the EP really began to come into its own and show off. ‘24 Hours’ has that accessible and addictive pop prettiness. As I have mentioned above, the next track, ‘Too Cool’, has a Lily Allen-ness to it, no stronger than in the vocal delivery of the pre-chorus (the Allen of 2018’s No Shame album). I think it’s ‘Too Cool’ which has my favourite production of the collection, and it’s this that really makes the fun and sassy track. That standard continues into ‘Take Yourself Home’. The groove will get you moving, and made me want to be mixing sundowners on holiday somewhere sunny with my friends. Whilst I did want a bit more meat to the vocal line when the production got heavier, I really liked the vintage sounds which carry through into closer ‘Selfish’ and its vintage pop/RnB energy. You know that sound which screams a video aesthetic at you? It would be a great song to sing in the car. The chorus is excellent, and does a good job of not overusing the genie-in-a-bottle-like melody that is so infectious.
Though Yellow Blazer brings a gorgeous energy wherever it steps, I get the feeling it’s the product of an artist who hasn’t quite found her magic recipe yet. But that’s so exciting, because what this EP shows in performance after performance is an abundance of creativity, so I look forward to seeing where Ella goes next. Her vocals have the makings of a pop queen but the sounds she brings to Yellow Blazer suggest the potential for something more innovative, and a remake of what we think a pop queen sounds like. That suggests an exciting future. Until then, Ella M has given us a collection that is only going to grow on you.