Learn more about who 'Rolling Stone' has called 'an artist to know'
"I think our environment was so comfortable that it quickly became a safe space for me to be really vulnerable."
Women are killing it in the music industry, and the world of song lovers couldn't be happier! In our column, #WomenCrushWednesday, we'll feature an awesome lady whose tunes are blowing up our playlists and ask them about their musical journey.
Ella Vos chatted with us this week before heading out on her U.S. tour starting at the end of February. Although songwriting wasn't always a part of her musical life, Vos fell into the habit while pregnant and turned it into a new passion. This work is shown on her latest album, an interesting creative process that she brought us into. Read below to find out what her experience has been in the male-dominated music world and what she loves about her debut full-length.
How did you get interested in writing and performing music?
I grew up playing classical piano and started playing in bands in college, so performing has always been a part of my life. It wasn't until I found out that I was pregnant that I began writing songs. I knew that I would need a new way to express myself as my life changed, and writing my own music was the best way to do that. To be honest, I had always wanted to write music, but I was too scared to share my lyrics with people for fear of what they might think or say. But knowing that your whole life is about to change is a good motivator to follow your dreams!
What artists have inspired you the most?
There's so many I could say it's hard to choose. The first one to come to mind is Lana Del Rey. I can think of several times throughout my life where I was listening to music and thought, "I need to do what they're doing," and the most recent experience was when I first heard Lana Del Rey. Like something deep inside me just screamed out, "You have to be a musician, you have to write songs." Her songwriting is so incredible, and I'm just always in awe of it.
[BAWSSG1516154034] Danielle Ernst
Rolling Stone labeled you as a new artist to know in 2016, taking note of your SoundCloud presence. How do you think platforms, such as SoundCloud, have changed the music world for emerging artists?
There's an opportunity, now more than ever, to successfully release your music independently. Platforms like SoundCloud and Spotify playlisting have given listeners the opportunity to discover your music on their own, and feel apart of the journey from the very beginning. It's something I'm really grateful for!
What has been your experience as a woman in the music industry?
I hate to say it, but it's a lot of what I expected it to be. That being said there's a lot of cool things happening. Generally, the industry is as misogynistic as you think it is, and as much as people are excited to be associated with a strong woman who says and does what she thinks, it scares them (the old white men that is), and they still ultimately want control. In some places there's still a crazy imbalance where it feels like there's only so much room for a new female artist (or executive), but endless room for men. Fortunately I've seen a lot of that start to change, and it all begins with having a woman in the room, at the table, calling the shots, and ultimately us choosing to lift each other up and supporting each other. I've a met a lot of different women in music this year (in press, sync, agencies, A&R, touring, etc.) and I'm excited to see them really shine; I think they're going to take over the industry.
You recently released your album, Words I Never Said. What was the writing and recording process for that like?
The songs were written and recorded over a period of twenty-two months in my producers studio, which was a room not much bigger than a bedroom. Sometimes my son would come with me and would sit in my lap while I recorded, and other times I recorded vocals sitting on the couch because I was so tired. I think our environment was so comfortable that it quickly became a safe space for me to be really vulnerable. The first song I released, "White Noise," helped me open up about my own personal experience with Postpartum depression. Being open and honest about that song inspired my writing for the next couple songs I wrote. It wasn't until I released my fourth single that we decided we were writing an album. "White Noise" was the beginning; it was hazy and unsure but it was a spark of something new. Everything that followed it was like a journey to figure out how to make sense of other difficult experiences in my life. The last song I wrote for the album is called "Suddenly," and it's where it all comes together and I feel clarity.
This was your debut full-length. What were some of the challenges you faced in putting it together as opposed to just releasing singles?
The biggest challenge was deciding whether to release all of the music at the same time or not. Since releasing singles was working so well for me and is what got me to where I am, I decided to release most of the album as single songs—all but three tracks were released before the album release date. The biggest challenge was how to tell the story of the album, to show that these songs aren't randomly bunched together, but are actually meant to be listened to as a whole.
[AUB0991516154034] Joanna Rentz
Do you have any favorite tracks off of the album?
This answer is always changing for me because they're all my favorite! Right now I really love "Words I Never Said" (Part 1 and Part 2) because they're so different from the other songs and sound a bit effortless to me (in a good way).
You'll be hitting the road this spring. What are you most looking forward to about going on tour?
Meeting my fans! There's a lot of fans that I talk to through Instagram weekly (even daily), and I'm really excited to meet them in person.
What else do you have planned for 2018?
I'm looking forward to releasing new music and seeing where it takes me!
In the opening pages of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Earth is destroyed. Now if that doesn't scream 2020 so far, what does?
In Douglas Adams's 1979 novel, which premiered as a radio series on BBC Radio4 in 1978 (42 years ago—but more about the significance of that number later), Earth is suddenly blown up in order to make room for an intergalactic superhighway. Now, in a year that has—after only 3 months, people—given us a contentious, confusing democratic primary, the death of Kobe Bryant, new and worsening facts about our climate and habitat at large, appalling leadership, and of course the rapid spread of and global shutdowns by the coronavirus (COVID-19), it seems impossible to turn to any source for comfort.
Enter The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: a novel that starts with the global annihilation that we might be heading for and then follows the characters as they cope with new realities, with isolation and loss, an endless information source that brings with it endless anxiety, and an egomaniacal, arrogant, selfish, attention-craving president of the galaxy.
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It's time to study.
Now that you've flooded Instagram with photos of black squares, it's time to hunker down for some real activism.
If you're a white person, you're sitting on top of about four centuries of institutionalized racism. In the wake of George Floyd's murder by police and countless Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, it's time to show up—with your body, with your voice, and with your brain.