Meet: Singer-Songwriter Ella McRobb

Olivia Ferrara

The 23-year-old made an instant impact online with the release of her debut single ‘And We’ll Leave It There…’, a collaboration with legendary Icelandic neo-classical composer Ólafur Arnalds. After releasing her second single and before getting too big for this little website, we got her to answer some questions and allow us to say we were there at the beginning.

Give us a potted history of you

I’ve been developing my artistry since 2019. Having worked with some amazing songwriters such as Nick Atkinson, Edd Holloway, Rachel Furner and Jez Ashurst, I’ve curated my sound to be alternative, folky and earthy. Last year I collaborated with the legendary Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds, we found each other through social media after I wrote some short lyrics over an improvisation he shared. He saw my post on TikTok, and that’s how ‘and we’ll leave it there…’ was born. Fast forward a year, and I’m releasing the first tracks of my debut EP, ‘Slow Motion Heartbreak’, set for release later this year. 

Who inspired you to start making music

Artists such as Adele, Norah Jones and Florence Welch played a huge part in my early teenage listening. All people with beautiful storytelling woven into their lyrics and heartfelt chord progressions. 

And the one or two records that inspired you artistically

In particular, ‘Don’t Know Why’ by Norah Jones and ‘Hometown Glory’ by Adele. Both songs deny too much structure and feel fresh and emotional to listen to. Something I really wanted to translate across into my own music. 

What do you say if you are trying to explain who you sound like to someone who has never heard you before

Tough one. A mixture of Fleetwood Mac, London Grammar and Joni Mitchell.

Tell us about your new track

‘Slow Motion Heartbreak’ is the title track of my EP. It’s been released through Gravity Records, produced by the amazing Hugo M. Hardy, and written with Hugo, Will Taylor and Nick Hill from Flyte. It’s a song about never knowing when it’s the last time something special will happen. I particularly love the outro ‘rant’ section, a concept Flyte introduced to me which feels so freeing and fresh to sing. The B-side to the single is called ‘Give Me Love (And I Will Give You Everything)’. It was created completely analogue from recording to mastering. Adam Lee is the creative genius behind the production and co-writer on the track. The song is about my tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve and give my all when I fall in love, hoping that if I’m to get let down, it’ll be kind and gentle. It is essentially the baby of Slow Motion Heartbreak and written with the intention of complimenting its predecessor sonically but also standing alone in its own right. 

Where can we get hold of it

The songs are out on all platforms, with some special live versions being released on Youtube, creatively directed by Olivia Ferrara.

Tell us how you write

My writing process usually starts with interesting chords. Then, I sing melodies over the top, often with no words, until a concept sparks lyrical ideas. I’m never precious about whether sections are definitely verses, and often, if I write something that’s strong melodically, I like to put it as the verse and face the challenge of bettering it for the chorus. 

Tell us about your live show; what would be your dream gig

My live set-up is quite stripped: a guitarist and me. It offers a new experience to just listening to the record. I recently supported Paris Paloma, and this worked really well; I’m next performing at The Social in Soho with a similar set-up. In dreamland, I’d love to perform at the Royal Albert Hall with a full band and strings. String sections just get me every time, and the elevation they give live is just something else.

What can we expect from you in the near future

My next single will be out in July, and the EP will be released in Autumn. I’m so excited for everyone to hear the project as a whole—it really was a labour of love.

Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones/tour bus/stereo

I’m a massive fan of ‘First Mind’ by Nick Mulvey. The beautiful lyrics and overall feeling his songs give are really special. I also love ‘Iron Sky’ by Paolo Nutini and ‘Slow Burn’ by Kacey Musgraves. Both exceptional songwriters and musically so refreshing.

Check out her track Slow Motion Heartbreak below:

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