Cardiff-bred singer and songwriter Ellie Parris has made a much-needed return to the R&B scene with her latest slew of singles after some years of not putting out music. The London-based artist, who draws inspiration from the likes of Sade, Erykah Badu, and Aaliyah amongst others, has carved an ethereal space of vulnerability that leaves listeners instantly charmed.
The songstress is currently preparing for the release of her forthcoming full-length release, Out of Sight. The five-track project, which was executive produced by fellow musician Jords, arrives after a bit of hiatus. It will serve as a follow-up to Ellie Parris’ 2015 release Aura, which gave us songs like “Poison” and “Captain” amongst others. Now, in a new place both musically and mentally, she looks to offer fans alike a refreshing listening experience that will linger on for months after.
We spoke with Ellie Parris in regards to her musical upbringing, latest single “Always,” and upcoming EP amongst other topics! Check it out below.
Talk to me about your childhood, what was it like growing up in Cardiff and what does the music scene look like out there?
The music scene is very small, it’s very diverse in terms of genre. We have a metal scene, a grime scene, an R&B and jazz scene. I went to school in Wales, I’ve always been in the city so it’s always been a normal upbringing. I always did musical theatre and anything music-related in school. When I was fifteen, I started to take it a bit seriously but before then, I was just growing within it and taking influences from home and things we would do in school. I was becoming the person I was meant to be now!
When did you first start taking a liking to music? Was it your first choice or did it come later down the line?
Music was always first choice! It was something I always loved. When I got a bit older, I realized that okay I can actually do this as a job or a career, there was no doubt in my mind that I would pursue it. I studied music in college, I didn’t go uni, but I did decide to move to London. As soon as I found out it was a thing that I could do for a career, I definitely jumped on it.
What type of music did you listen to growing up? Do you like any newer artists coming out today?
My mom used to play a lot of Whitney Houston. In the house, she would play The Drifters so there was a big mix of genres. My dad would play a lot of Reggae so it was a lot of different genres but they all kind of shared the groovy baselines and harmonies. That’s where I found my comfort in those sounds.
I’m very much tuned into the UK music so there are so many artists coming out of here. I’m excited to watch Kali Claire, Bella, and all of those R&B ladies who are smashing it.
Why do you think made “Seasons” the perfect song to kick things off and how does it set the tone for what people can expect to hear from you in the future?
“Seasons” is a very special one for me and everyone involved. We made it in January of this year and I made the intention of not taking myself too seriously this year. Years were passing and I’m not doing what I love because of doubts and worry, and caring about what other people think. I definitely ended the year of 2020 with that mindset and then at the beginning of this year, I made “Seasons” so it was a special one. Jords as well, he’s super proud of the production on that as he should be. It all happened in six hours and the energy was definitely right on that.
Selfishly, I think it proves to me that I can actually do this. So to me, it was special and I thought that it was only right that it be the first single that everybody hears. Just so I hope that they get that same kind of light that it gave me.
What are your hopes with the release of your upcoming project, Out of Sight?
I’m super excited for it to drop. It’s a five-track EP, Jords produced four tracks and a friend of mine called Wauve produced the fifth one. When we started the project in January, one of the songs were actually made in 2018, so they’ve just been sitting on the hard drive. I’m excited for people to see what I’ve been working on! It’s all kind of the same vibe, jazz influences and groovy baselines, it’s all kind of that and I think people are going to love it.
How did you originally meet Jords and what is the chemistry like between you two when it comes to creating new music?
I met him through a mutual friend in 2017. A year after I moved to London, we were on the same lineup for a show put on by iluvlive and that’s kind of when we were introduced to each other as musicians. We started working then and we made a few songs over the years but they’ve just never been put out. I think we’re kind of going to bring those out now!
The chemistry is really good, we have a similar view on a lot of things and a love for the same music. I know he inspires me and I hope I inspire him. When we make music, the energy is definitely right. He makes you feel comfortable in his presence so you are able to make your best music and I know a lot of other artists can hopefully say the same thing.
A lot of your music is very intimate, revolving around themes of love, loss, and desire—how do you define love?
I think… I used to say that love makes life lighter. But I also understand that love is a lot of hard work, sometimes it can feel heavy. I don’t know, I don’t think I know the answer to that question! There’s so many layers to it and it comes at so many different times and in different forms.
Aside from the new project, what are you most excited about for 2022?
I’m excited to just share more of me. This project is the first one in a while so it’s kind of like a debut, but this one is about letting go and not worrying about what other people think. I think after this project, I’m going to make R&B music that I love and collaborate with other artists. This year kind of tail-ended on last year, but 2022 is very much going to be a joy.
If you enjoyed our interview with Ellie Parris, check out our chat with Brianna Castro!