10 Questions with ... Ella Henderson
November 11, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
A finalist in the 9th season of The X Factor in the U.K., Ella was signed to Syco Music. Her debut album Chapter One was released last month, and her debut single, "Ghost" -- co-written with Ryan Tedder -- topped the charts in the U.K., and is now gaining airplay in the U.S.
1) Where did the inspiration for "Ghost" some from? And what was it like working with Ryan Tedder?
Writing "Ghost" with Ryan was such an amazing experience. He heard a Drake cover I uploaded online -- and it was from that moment where we met in London in a studio and ended up sitting 'round a piano writing a chorus called "Ghost" within 20 minutes! This song happened really rapidly and I instantly knew it was going be my first single! I guess our characters are very different as he is full of energy and I'm quite chilled in the studio, so our personalities really worked well with one another.
2) What did you learn from Ryan?
One thing I took away from working with Ryan is that it doesn't matter what occupation you're in -- to be at the top of your game you have to work from the ground up and to never cut corners or skip a step.
3) You used to write your own music alone, but you have started collaborating with other songwriters. Do you prefer the collaborative songwriting process better or do you prefer to write on your own?
It's a mixture, really! I mean I always thought I would work better with a small team surrounding me and they were the only people who would help guide me through my writing process. However, I found that traveling to different countries and working with all different types of co-writers and producers, I was constantly learning new things and it really helped me grow with my songwriting.
4) How do you typically capture the inspiration for your music?
I always describe my music as my diary and it's extremely autobiographical. This means whenever it comes to shooting a video or capturing content, I always have to make sure that everything reflects the mood I was feeling at the time of writing the song.
5) Does "Ghost" set the tone for the rest of your album, Chapter One?
"Ghost" is the song that definitely sums up my album as a whole. It's soulful, powerful and anthemic, which is how I would describe Chapter One.
6) Tell us about the "Ghost Trail" campaign.
When it came to going into the campaign for "Ghost," it had been awhile since I had done anything major in the public eye. I wanted to come back into this with something fresh and exciting. So this is where the "Ghost Trail" idea spurred from, as I wanted to give people the chance to discover my music creatively and in a way that's not been done before. We placed huge 3D art pieces along streets of cities all over the U.K. We involved different apps like Shazam, Zappar and Whisper and even did a surprise pop up gig performance for the fans. It was a fun way to get the ball rolling and to kick things off!
7) How different is performing in the U.S. than in UK?
It's funny, you know, because when I perform in the U.K., everyone knows who I am and they have some sort of expectation for my performance. But when I come to perform in the U.S., I get excited because it's like starting from the beginning all over again, as not many people have discovered my music yet and there's something quite refreshing about that.
8) Name a musician who you'd love to work with.
I'd love to meet Adele one day as she tweeted her support for me back in my X Factor days. So performing a female power duo with her would be amazing!
9) What do you like to do for fun? How do you wind down?
It sounds really cliché, but honestly I just love doing the normal things! I love hanging out with my friends, my family and my dog -- ha ha! I make sure that my time off is quality time spent with the people who make me the happiest and most positive so when I start a working day again I feel motivated.
10) Is there anything in particular that you'd like people to take away from listening to your music today?
I hope that when people listen to my music they can relate to at least one song from the album. Chapter One has its highs and lows and everything on there is simply of my own experiences in life. All I ever want my music to be is real, raw and honest, and when I think back to the music that I listened to growing up, I loved it because I believed it!
What music are you listening to now? Anything on the radio that you can't get out of your head?
It's a really exciting time to be part of the music industry. There are some incredible voices coming through! I love Sam Smith, London Grammar and The 1975.