British singer/songwriter, Ellie Lawson, is a stunning combination of beauty and talent. Her music is acoustic folk infused with hip-hop/R&B. It is a brilliant mesh of fresh sounds that no one else is doing right now. Ellie is no stranger to the spotlight though. She was famously supported by Ellen DeGeneres for her debut record, The Philosophy Tree. We at Lemonade expect great things from her again in the future! Thankfully, Ms. Lawson gave us a few minutes of her time to chat with us!
Lemonade Magazine: Thank you, Ellie for taking the time to chat with us! We have been a fan of yours since the 2011 release of the Lost Without You EP. Tell us a little bit about your style of music and how you decided to incorporate so many different genres over the years?
Ellie Lawson: My style is beat-driven singer/songwriter with a message. I always write lyrics and melody to a beat! When I write my music I feel that I have something to say! When I first started out I would buy trip-hop and jazz hip-hop instrumentals to write lyrics and melodies to. I was always stealing my brother’s Orbital records which I would sing and wail over while recording myself!
So from the beginning I have had a big mixture of styles. I was drawn to “conscious hip-hop” when I was into self-help books. I found the messages in music inspiring and motivating, but I always had a folky sound to my voice and that was quite an interesting mix. People would tell me it sounded unique. I just continued on that tip and taught myself to play the guitar and to produce my own demos and finished tracks along the way.
LM: I think that’s what makes your music amazing. There is always a story and purpose! So with your eclectic sound, I am sure that your influences are derived from numerous sources, but who are the most prominent?
EL: So in the early days, “conscious hip-hop” artists that inspired me were Guru, A Tribe Called Quest, The Fugees and many others, but I also used to listen to my mum’s music — Bob Dylan, Kate Bush and Irish folk singers like Christy Moore. Then I found Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell and John Martyn via a boyfriend that was obsessed with them! I also went through an acoustic phase doing all the open mics and starting our own night up. These are just a few of my influences along the way!
LM: Ah, so many influences so little time! You have released two EPs in the last 8 months, Insights and Resonate. Both of them are independently released and fantastic. How different is it to release your own music versus working with a major label like Atlantic Records on your debut album, The Philosophy Tree, and in what ways?
EL: Well, it’s certainly quicker to release music independently! That’s what I love most about it! You write, record and then release it! Simple! Then you move on, write more and release that!
You write, record and then release it! Simple!
With my first album on a major label, because of all the politics, I was hanging around with that album for 4 years without being able to move on! Not to mention the time it took to record it, while waiting to get the record deal, and then sign it!
I think by now I could have released well over 10 albums if I was independent from the beginning, but when I started out there was no iTunes or Awal (who I used to distribute my music to iTunes), so the major label seemed the only and best option! It was a great and interesting experience, but it is also really good managing
my own career and having the control over my own music by being able to be in a ‘natural’ cycle.
LM: Being independent is quite freeing it seems. It is a benefit! Any plans for a tour in the US to promote your new music? Please say, yes. Ha!
EL: Well, I am 6 months pregnant with my first baby, so no flying anywhere for the moment! I’d love to go back to the USA to tour, so I reckon in a few years time or when he’s older! However, I am currently working on electronic dance music projects, so you never know when I might get asked to perform in the future if a project really takes off!
LM: Congratulations! Though that’s a bummer for us that we won’t be seeing you Stateside any time soon! Now my favorite question to ask! On this amazing US tour, if you could tour with any artist or band, past or present, who would it be and why?
EL: I’d love to do an all-female tour like the Lilith Faire idea with artists like, Tracy Chapman, Sia, Imogen Heap, Suzanne Vega and some great underrated female singer/songwriters that I love!
LM: I would love to see that tour! I remember singing along to Tracy Chapman back in the day. Ha! Thank you again, Ellie for chatting with us! Always a pleasure!
EL: Thank you!
If you would like to purchase any of Ellie Lawson’s music, go to her website: www.ellielawson.com/shop and download it today. Also follow her on Twitter at @ellielawson and like her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/ellielawsonmusic.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.