When Ella Vos was diagnosed with lymphoma on March 1st of 2018, she immediately went back to work.
"The first thing I did was go to the studio," the 32-year-old singer said. "I didn't want to admit that anything was happening." Vos was in denial for almost three months, pushing through the early stages of her diagnosis and engrossing herself in both her work and in being a mother. "The three months at the end of 2017, I couldn't make a goal for the next year," Vos said. "I had no idea what I wanted to do, or write, or if I wanted to tour or record or even where my kid was gonna go to school. I was unable to see beyond what day it was."
The only silver lining was that she had felt this hopeless before. Her breakout hit, "White Noise," was a commentary on the post-partum depression Vos suffered after the birth of her son. "I felt like my first few years as a mother I had really high expectations of myself and I'd get so caught up in trying to make everything right," the singer told me. "So when I was diagnosed, I realized that I already overcame something I didn't think I was capable of overcoming. That's when things started to change."
The video for her single "Empty Hands," which we premiered today, was filmed on the last day of her treatment. She is currently in partial remission. "It was my producer's idea, but I was terrified of making a video of me going to treatment. I was just scared of it being too sad," she said. "But also, I really liked the idea of it being on the last day because it felt like a conclusion. It took this dark part of my life and gave it heart." The video, which is directed by Vos, is shot with a grainy handheld camera and offers an unflinching view at a day in the life of a cancer patient. "This whole experience inspired me to take more risks," she said in closing. "I really have judged myself a lot less, and have put a lot less pressure on what I create. It's allowed me to grieve a lot more in my art." Ella Vos will take the stage at Brooklyn Steel on April 10th. Her Watch and Wait EP is also available now.
Mackenzie Cummings-Grady is a creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area, Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.
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