When did you start making music?
I’ve been writing songs since I was like 11 or 12. I come from a musical family and when I was little, I loved writing stories. As soon as I figured out I could combine singing and playing and writing, music just became an outlet and I think as I got older and started paying more attention to what my influences were doing, I started really falling in love with songwriting as an art form, you know.
I think there’s something really to be said for a pop song that like can be catchy or short or whatever but still has that same level of substance that another song could have.
You mentioned growing up in a musical family. I know your dad plays jazz piano. What was that like? What was playing around the house?
It’s just something I grew up around. I literally have memories of running around the piano and he’s playing like Billie Holiday. I was named after Ella Fitzgerald!
My dad listens to a pretty eclectic range of music, which I think is probably where I got it from. We grew up with Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan and Radiohead and this weird mix of stuff. It was less like typical children’s music and more like oh, today we’re listening to Al Green or The Beatles or Louis Armstrong.
Your song “August Is A Fever”. It’s sick. I love it.
It feels that much more exciting because I also produced this one for the most part. My other two songs, I did have a lot of involvement in production because they came from the demos that I made, but with this one it was the first time my name is on the production credit.
It makes it just feel really rewarding and so much more of an achievement or confirmation that not only do people like you know my voice or my writing, they like the sound, and it’s really cool to see that happening.
How do you start with the songwriting? Do you start with the words?
The process for me differs a lot every time, unfortunately I’ve never really been able to be the type of person that like sit down and start writing. Most of my songs that end up getting finished are ones that come from random ideas that pop up in my head.
Reading the lyrics, it seems to be about high school and about like that period of summer after it.
Some of my earlier music was like “God, I hate it here”. But then I think the song was more just this realization that “OK I’m finally feeling a little more confident myself in my own identity” and I’m happy with my group of friends and I honestly really enjoyed the comfort and familiarity of doing the same thing everyday.
We’re sitting in the parking lot then we get Starbucks. We’re driving back to another parking lot and we’re sitting in really is like but then it’s at the same time it’s like.
What is it like seeing your name next to people you actually listen to? On playlists like Lorem or Chill Vibes?
In order to get on playlists normally you have to pitch songs. But for “nothing else I could do” that playlisting didn’t come from pitching. It came from just the song itself.
I don’t know, it’s just kind of confirmation that people were listening to it and liking it, and so that just made it feel just so much more surreal, like seeing myself up there next to these people who I listen to, you know, growing up and like these playlists like Indie Pop and Lorem and whatever. Not children, yeah?
You mentioned nothing else was the same, so let’s talk about it a little bit.
Obviously like a large part of that, how people found that song was with TikTok. What do you think about it as a platform for musicians?
I think TikTok is both really unique and cool in just such a genuine way. Because the people who interact with it for the most part are the demographic you’re aiming for.
I think where it can get kind of dangerous is like it’s so much easier now with TikTok to be one hit wonder and that’s something I want to avoid, and I think that’s why when I promote myself, I try to make it more aimed towards the stories behind the song and trying to get across my personality. Versus like “this is a 15 second clip of my song that I want to go viral”. I think that’s where it’s such a kind of scary territory.
Conversely, what do you think is influencing your music now as compared to maybe the first couple of songs?
I think with the music I’m putting out right now, it’s not like new writing really, because it’s stuff I wrote pretty much over the course of high school. That’s when I feel like I wrote my best music. I was like deep in my Melodrama phase.
I love Melodrama. I need a new album.
Have you seen the PowerPoint?
I know you’ve been like covering music for a while on Instagram and stuff. What would a 15 or 14 year old Ella think of the new songs?
I think young Instagram covers Ella would be very shocked. I think at the time when I was posting covers I really didn’t have a lot of faith in my own ability. It was just a lot of like impostor syndrome. But she would think it was so cool.
A lot of artists these days have time to develop their original music on Spotify out of the spotlight. But for someone like you who 3 songs in has millions of streams. Is it a different kind of pressure to face for the next song? What is that like?
Of course, like especially the fact that the very first song blew up blew up its own way, like for me for the first time, having that be out, it was so much pressure and knowing me like I’m a huge perfectionist and I will never put something up that I don’t like.
So with August, there was just so many versions of it. You know, I’m lucky because I’m independent. There were no deadlines.
If you could put your music in any movie, what movie would you put it in and what song?
I’m going with Booksmart.
Who is your favorite Great Gatsby character?
I’m going with Gatsby. I just find him hysterical. I wrote a song from his perspective, so I have to I guess. But I just find him entertaining.
Alright, what’s your favorite Lorde song?
Who’s your dream collaboration?
My dream collaborator would, in terms of production, would definitely be Jack Antonoff. Just everything he does. As for writing a song and singing on a track with someone, probably Gracie Abrams.
What’s next for Ella Jane?
A song. Coming very soon!