Elli Ingram On Independency, Inspiration and Isolation
Brighton born and bred R&B songstress Elli Ingram is pretty much a household name in the UK, boasting several successful years within the industry so far. The singers highly memorable EPs 'Sober' and 'The Doghouse' gained her recognition from the likes of MOBO, COLORS and the UK Music Video Awards, not to mention her incredible 2017 album 'Love You Really' which leads single 'Table For Two' amassed over three million streams on Spotify alone. As-well-as being one of the artists synonymous with the UK Soul and R&B revival, Elli has consistently climbed the industry ladder with her unfiltered and honest approach to songwriting and second to none style. Standing out for all the right reasons, Miss Ingram appears to be a divine dichotomy of sugar and spice, totally down to earth and authentic, but also wilfully unafraid to speak her mind. Following on from the release of her infectious new single entitled 'Flowers', I sat down with the artist via email to discuss all things independency, inspiration and isolation.
Hey Elli, firstly I wanted to ask how you're doing given the current circumstances? Has it affected your desire to write as an artist, I get the feeling you’d enjoy the alone time to create?
Hey, I’m ok thank you. Good days, bad days - you know? It’s a strange old time and I’m trying to stay focused but it’s so difficult to keep motivated when the future is so unclear. I do enjoy the alone time don’t get me wrong but there’s only so much of your own company you can enjoy haha!
So you released your latest single ‘Flowers’ last Friday, which I'm loving. Flowers has a very sultry, blues-driven vibe to it, can you tell us a little about the song and if you are going to be exploring any new styles sonically going forward?
Aw thank you, so glad you are enjoying it. Flowers is a really honest, personal song about being betrayed by someone you love. I’m really loving the darker, smokier feeling you get from 'Flowers' and I think that’s definitely the direction the album is going in.
After being signed to a major label for so long, has the choice to set up your independent label PINC Records (brilliant name by the way) been empowering? You must have waved goodbye to many restrictions, second opinions and limits to what you can now do and say with your music.
Omg, it feels epic. I feel so proud to be independent and have my own label. Working with Island Records was incredible and I felt so blessed at the time to sign with them but lots changed over the years and it was time to start a new journey. Now I only have to deal with my manager and the small team we are building. It’s great!
And I feel a fool
Never expected it from you
How can a man be so cruel
Don't try and kiss me, and flowers won't do
They will die too...
As an artist, you are very much known and branded for and by your authenticity, both musically and personally. What’s the hardest thing you've had to deal with in the music industry and how has it changed you for the better?
Hmm, I guess the hardest thing is just believing in yourself and being confident that you are good enough. There is so much talent and it’s hard to not feel swept under the carpet.
Ego is ubiquitous in popular music today but you seem to have left that behind for a genuine desire to connect with people and express your stories, all while having a blast. How would you describe your relationship with your listeners and what does music mean to you?
Aw that’s so sweet. I’m just myself and I want my listeners to be my mates lol. I don’t want to be seen by them as some sort of superior person. We are just the same!
Pick one for each:
Studio Session or Live Show?
Introvert or Extrovert?
Summer or Winter?
Sweet or Sour?
Vinyl or Digital?
Makeup or No Makeup?
'The Doghouse' or 'Sober'?
Brighton or London?
Ooooo, I think studio session. I mean right now I’m dying to get on the stage but I do love the studio life.
Extrovert most days. SUMMER!!!! Sweet, pick n mix all the way. Vinyl. No makeup. The Doghouse. Ah, I can’t pick, probs London but I’ll always come back to Brighton. Loved that!
You’ve stated inspiration from the likes of Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. Which artists are you loving at the moment and what are three things that inspire you the most?
Oh, I absolutely love Ari Lennox she’s my latest obsession. Lianne La Havas is a huge inspiration of mine, as is SZA. Fashion, Film & Art have to be my three biggest inspirations.
You have a very unique style that mixes different textures and bold colours with elements from both vintage and modern clothing. Who would you say from past and present has inspired your eye for fashion and what statement do you think your clothing makes?
I’ve always just loved fashion and being able to stand out with clothes. I’ve worn some god awful things in my life but I think I’ve gotten a lot better at dressing myself lol. I’ve gotten to work with such an incredible stylist a few times called Soki Mak and she’s a huge fashion icon to me. She inspires me daily to be bold and sexy.
Which of your songs are you most proud of lyrically?
I think 'Bells Club' is one I always feel very proud of. Simply because I feel I captured that story so truthfully. Even though it cringes me out I think 'Rocket' it pretty good too haha.
There’s a strong female energy marbled throughout the new music, you seem to have come into your own as an artist regarding what you want to say to the world. What one piece of advice do you think every girl in this day and age needs to hear?
LISTEN TO YOURSELF, do not do anything you don’t want to. You don’t have to do it, even if they say you do.
You worked with Charlie Hugall (Florence + The Machine, Ed Sheeran) on the last two singles ‘Bad Behaviour’ and of course ‘Flowers’. How has it been to diverge from previous longtime collaborators and if you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive who would it be?
It’s been amazing. Before now I had only ever worked with the same two producers (which don’t get me wrong I absolutely love and actually didn’t want to change) but we mixed it up and it’s been great. I needed to grow and learn things from new people. It would be incredible to work with Mark Ronson. He’s such a cool dude and always seems to bring the best out of an artist.
Currently standing at 1.3 Million views you first became widely noticed for your incredible cover of ‘Poetic Justice’ by Kendrick Lamar. Does it feel almost full circle to be independent again and what are you most looking forward to about being independent?
What I’m looking forward to most is being able to take full responsibility and credit for my work.
Finally, what can we look forward to expecting next from Elli Ingram?
Album number 2!
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