“I really found my path when I was 12 or 13. That’s when I started teaching myself piano and developing my songwriting,” says Ella-Paige, aspiring musician and model, now 18-years-old. “I would describe my sound as ‘Rhythmic Pop.’ It has EDM, R&B, and Hip-Hop influences, but it’s also acoustic, because I love when music is stripped back.”
Although one of her claims to fame is her rumoured 2013 romance with Justin Bieber, she’s focusing more than anything on her art. “Music is my one true love,” says Ella-Paige, who recently had a double clef tattooed on her ring finger: “It’s there to remind me to never give up on my goals and aspirations.”
Fortunately, she already knows that such reminders and dedication are necessary, admitting that, “there can be a lot of pressure and stress in this industry.” This doesn’t discourage her from following her dreams to the very best of her ability. “It can be hard putting yourself out there on a plate for everyone, but I always find that’s how I write the best songs. I think that the new material that I’m writing is more mature and it’s a lot more raw. I’m being more honest than usual.” Ella-Paige hopes that her openness will engage her listeners. “If people can connect and understand what you’re writing about, then that’s the best feeling.”
Residing in London, the musician and model is committed to putting in the time and work necessary to make it to America and break into the music scene in a major way. “In five years I’d love to be living on the other side of the Atlantic, writing and recording my third album, and touring the world!” Until then, she’ll continue to write, record, make videos. “I use anything that is at hand—YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitcam—to get my music out there.” Ella-Paige hopes to emulate artists like Rihanna, whom she finds inspiring because of her “strength, individuality, and her edge,” and Taylor Swift because “she stands on her own two feet and I have a lot of respect for her.” Her debut EP Made You Look came out last fall to rave reviews, and she has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. Look out for plenty of new work from Ella-Paige in the coming year: “It will be all about releasing new material, writing great songs, and evolving as an artist. It’s going to be a really exciting year!” One thing is for sure: Ella-Paige has all the ambition it takes to succeed.
Check out The Untitled Magazine Legendary Issue 7‘s 2014 exclusive interview with Ella-Paige below:
The Untitled Magazine: How did you get started in the music industry?
Ella-Paige: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write songs, but I really found my path then I was 12 or 13. That’s when I started teaching myself piano and developing my song-writing. I made a Myspace and a Twitter, and I entered a couple of competitions, uploading a few videos of me playing piano and singing the songs that I had written. People liked what I was doing, so I just kept going. Then, when I was 14, my step-dad arranged for me to go into his friend’s studio to demo some of my songs. On my school holidays, I’d come home and have a day in the studio; I ended up recording about eight songs over the year. It was an amazing experience, and I learned a lot about the whole process. From then on, I used anything that came to hand – YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Twitcams – to get my music out there. The demos went down well, and I started to build a fan base as well as my own network within the music industry – it was a roller coaster!
UM: Do you remember the first song you recorded?
EP: Yes I do; it was called “No Longer Fight,” and it was the first song I had written the whole way through on piano, so I was really proud of it – it’s still one of my favourites today. It was also the first track I put onto my Myspace, even though it was just a rough demo that I recorded in my bedroom. There are loads of old songs I’ve written that I would love to bring to life again!
UM: Can you describe your sound?
EP: I would describe my sound as ‘rhythmic pop.’ It has EDM, R&B and hip-hop influences, but also acoustic, because I love when music is stripped back.
UM: Could you name five top influences on your work?
EP: My influences are always changing depending on how I’m feeling or what I am into at the time. I am influenced by music from every genre, and I tend to pull the inspiration I need from each. I’m a big fan of John Mayer, Taylor Swift and Adele. I think they are such amazing songwriters and artists – they have definitely inspired me. I love Rihanna for her strength, individuality and her edge. I also find inspiration through culture; I love Bashment and Dancehall music. It always gets me dancing. I’m really into Deep House at the moment as well; I’m a big fan of Cyril Hahn – I’d love to work with him!
UM: Who is your favourite musician?
EP: John Mayer, I would say. I went to see him live at The 02, and he blew me away. He writes the most beautiful songs, and he’s a beast on guitar.
UM: Who would you consider the most inspirational person in the industry?
EP: I think it’s hard to pick one because I think there are so many people doing great things. But someone whom I’ve always thought was very inspirational is Taylor Swift. What she has achieved as a young girl writing her own music is absolutely mind blowing. She stands on her own two feet, and I have a lot of respect for her.
UM: If you could collaborate with any musician, who would it be?
EP: Eminem, hands down. I’ve always been such a massive fan! It would be an absolute honour. *crosses fingers*
UM: What was the most difficult performance in your career, and how did you handle it?
EP: I don’t think I’ve had a particularly difficult performance yet *touch wood,* but I definitely get nervous. I try and get into my zone and just relax; be myself. I want to make sure I portray the emotion of my songs to the audience, so getting lost in the music is how I try to handle it.
UM: Do you have a motto or words of wisdom you live by?
EP: I have two that never leave me. “Married to the music,” because when I was 17 in LA, I had a double clef tattooed on my wedding finger. Music is my one true love and it’s there to remind me to never give up on my goals and aspirations. Then there is ‘Everything happens for a reason,’ because when something doesn’t go the way I expect it to go, I remind myself that it’s all part of the journey; all part of the bigger picture. Life is probably trying to teach me something, and when something is going great, it reminds me to enjoy it! There can be a lot of pressure and stress in this industry, but when I think about that, I keep my head up.
UM: How would you describe your personal style?
EP: My personal style is quite tomboy-ish, although I love to throw a girly or glam element into the mix. I love my leather and bomber jackets, and at the moment I love wearing trainer wedges and my Nike’s. But throw me a pair of killer heels, and I’m just as happy!
UM: Do you have a favourite designer?
EP: I wouldn’t say I have a favourite designer, but I’m loving the Balmain and Chanel collection right now (S/S 2014)! Balmain’s is more edgy and has some really cool khaki and black pieces, but then Chanel has the whole white/pastel thing going on, which I love. I like to switch between the extremes!
UM: Which fashion house would you most love to work with or walk for?
EP: I would probably say Burberry. They’re a British brand and an absolute classic. I love their new Spring 2014 campaign ‘English Rose’ and the way the campaign uses all up-and-coming young British talent from the worlds of fashion, music and film. It would be an honour to work with them.
UM: Where do you see yourself in five years?
EP: In five years, I’d love to be living on the other side of the Atlantic, writing and recording my 3rd album, and touring the world!
UM: This is our Legendary issue. What, to you, is the definition of “Legendary?”
EP: Legendary is something you don’t forget. Something notorious and celebrated.
UM: Which legendary artists are you most inspired by?
EP: I’m a big Bob Marley fan, I love reggae music. It resonates with me culturally, as my dad’s family are from the West Indies. I think Bob Marley’s music is timeless, and I’m definitely influenced by it.
UM: Which young artists do you think have what it takes to become Legendary?
EP: At the moment, I’ve been listening to Jhene Aiko, and I’d definitely say her. Her songs blew me away; she’s still so under-rated! I also think Pia Mia and Sam Smith are very talented. I’m really excited to see how their careers develop.
UM: You recently recorded several new tracks, can you tell us about them?
EP: I think that the new material I’m writing is more mature, and it’s a lot more raw. I’m being more honest than usual. I think it can be hard putting yourself out there on a plate for everyone, but I always find that’s how I write the best songs, and if people can connect and understand what you’re writing about, then it’s worth it.
UM: You are close friends with Justin Bieber – has his work or style influenced your music at all?
EP: I wouldn’t say his work or style has influenced my music, but through him, I have definitely learned how much hard work and commitment it takes to be successful in this industry. I’ve also learned that people will always want to knock you down, so it’s really important that you believe in yourself no matter what.
UM: What are your other current projects?
EP: At the moment, I am writing and recording with a few different peeps, which I am really excited about so watch this space!
UM: Are there any upcoming projects we should look out for?
EP: I want the rest of 2014, and next year to be all about releasing new material, writing great songs and evolving as an artist. It’s going to be a really exciting year!
Photography by Erica Bergsmeds
Stylist: Joseph Crone
Hair by Rio Sreedharan
Make-up by Justyna Dobrowolska
This article originally appeared in The Legendary Issue of The Untitled Magazine (2014), check it out here!