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INTERVIEW: Amy May Ellis’ Exploration Of Change

When the first notes start playing on the opening track of When In The Wind, you’re immediately mesmerised. Yorkshire-born Amy May Ellis has a way of pulling you in with her soothing voice and poetic lyrics. The EP is the last in a series exploring the elements, with the latest release surrounding air and change. With not a single skippable song, When In The Wind makes you stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and let the music take you somewhere else. Ahead of the release, we managed to ask the singer-songwriter a few questions to find out everything that goes into creating her music.

RC: Hi Amy, can you describe the music you make in three words?

AME: Hello! First 3 words that came to my brain, honest, evolving and hopeful

RC: You’ve been making music since you were very young: what first drew you to music and when did you know you wanted to make a career out of it?

AME: My mum sings, we are always singing together around the house, I think that made it feel very natural for me. I’ve always loved being on stage, I realised at a young age that it was where I felt at home, that I could connect with people there. It wasn’t until I met other people who were starting their careers in music that I thought about that seriously.

RC: Your latest EP When In The Wind is about to be released, what is the story behind its creation?

AME: Yes it’s out on the 23rd of this month, it’s the last in a series of 4, elementally themed EPs and revolves around air. Each EP captures something important about where I was at the time and it’s nice to round the series off with this collection of songs, which are about finding stillness in the balance between action and rest.

RC: You’re from Yorkshire, but have lived in London and are now based in Bristol, how has each place influenced your music making?

AME: I think each place has influenced me in a multitude of ways, most of which I’m probably unaware of. The aspects I’m most aware of are the interactions with the people I have got to know in each place, the grief I have seen them move through and the joy I have witnessed them create.

RC: You’ve collaborated with friends and musicians on your music, how important is collaboration for your process?

AME: Very, working with a band has been key to the development of both my sound and confidence. I’ve recently started writing more with other musicians which has been really good. Like with any area of work it’s important to find your own balance between working on your own and collaborating with others.

RC: When In The Wind was made during the 2020 lockdown. How was this process, were there any positive aspects about making music while in lockdown?

AME: Most of the songs were actually written in 2019, so it’s mostly been the recording process that’s happened in the lockdowns, I recorded two of the songs myself at home which felt really good,  I think it took me having a lot of space and time to make that possible.

RC: Your music has an incredibly beautiful dream-like quality to it: what are your main musical and non-musical inspirations?

AME: Thank you! Quite often it’s songs that are really effective but also super simple that remind me I have everything I need to create something beautiful. Other times I’m inspired by really  complicated multi faceted pieces of work where you can feel the hours and hours of thought and commitment that have gone into bringing it together. FKA twigs is a good example of this, I love how her work spans across so many art forms, she is constantly learning and exploring and refining.

RC: The rest of the year is looking a little bit more hopeful than 2020, what are you most excited about for the coming months?

AME: I’m excited to get this EP out and rounding off this series, then it’s onto my debut album, which is already in the cooking pot and smelling very lush.

RC: With live performances slowly picking up again, is there any venue you would love to play in and why?

AME: I’m just very excited to go back to them all! There are so many wonderful venues and so many incredible people who have worked silly hard to keep them afloat over the past year, I hope people keep supporting them and go to lots of gigs as they start re opening.

RC: Lastly, if you could perform with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

AME: I’ve thought about this a bit too much. I mean I would love to perform with Nina Simone but I feel like if she were to be brought back purely to sing with a white singer songwriter from the North York Moors she might be a bit annoyed, which would be fair enough really. So maybe Queen, again I’m not sure how well that would go or what role I would play in the performance but I feel like I would have a good time, same applies with Beyonce, and also The Cheeky Girls.

When In The Wind is out now.

Photos by Amy D’Agorne.

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