This article previously appeared on Audiomack World.
With a classic vocal texture and love for all things jazz and soul, Ego Ella May’s music is fit for early mornings rising with the sun. Her from her 2020 debut album Honey For Wounds was, in a shock to the London singer, a rousing success and a formidable entry in the neo-soul canon. October of 2021 saw her follow up with FIELDNOTES, a four-pack of compelling tunes each grand in their subtleties. Created during the COVID-19 lockdown, FIELDNOTESand the recently released PT II, came with their own set of pressures. Still, the effortless tones in the music belie a sense of comfort for Ego.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to do more songs,” Ego reveals to Audiomack World. “I didn’t expect the reaction for Honey For Wounds. I did feel pressure for the next songs. Then the world shut down and I couldn’t take my old approach to it. I didn’t have access to many of the musicians I worked with Honey For Wounds on—it was me by myself. My approach was quite different in that respect, and my thoughts and my feelings.”
Ego began writing poetry at 11, transitioning to songs at 15. Laughing, she recalls her early works as not very good, but her love for words and storytelling never waned. Her writing by her today is perceptive and sharp, emotionally bare without being cloyingly sentimental. As with everything Ego loves—early mornings, meditation—there is balance to her art by her.
FIELDNOTES PT II sees Ego Ella May tackling love for the first time on wax. “Centered” is a “giddy” tune where her seductive delivery of her makes the rush of a potential new love feel otherworldly. Single “Introvert Hotline” channels Badu and speaks to Ego’s solitary writing practice. Though she admits to not being entirely comfortable with the externalities of fame—photoshoots, filming, press—Ego has a charming demeanor. She rests on her fans’ kindness and grace de ella, and seems to revere the community her music de ella has created.
What’s the weirdest part of being successful?
The things that are outside of music and creating. I’m confident in the music, but there are a lot of things like photoshoots or doing a lot of press that sometimes I find difficult. I don’t necessarily excel in that area.
Do you have any writing rituals that help you stay creative?
I tend not to write until I feel like I actually want to say something. That helps. Also, I’m quite lonely with it. I am into my own space when I’m writing, so that helps get things out.
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There are moments when I don’t have access to my own space, or have to hit a deadline… In those moments, it helps me come out of feeling like I always have to be alone or write when I feel like.
What was the timeline for creating your new EP, FIELDNOTES PT II?
It happened all at once, and this is a follow-up to FIELDNOTES. I’d been working on that through the lockdown. This one is more about my feelings on love, which I never really talk about. It’s my processing different relationships with love. “Centered” is the one where I’m feeling giddy.
How did Honey For Wounds prepare you for this EP?
I have to take Honey For Wounds for what it was, and I think the biggest thing is the supporters I gained. My supporters are very kind, so I thought maybe I’d have some grace with this series of EPs. And that’s been nice. The key was not comparing or trying to do the same thing twice.
I really love the joy on your face on the cover of the EP. What brings you happiness these days?
Meditating and my morning cup of coffee, and seeing the sunlight makes me happy. Reading and having intimate conversations with friends makes me happy. Eating colorful food makes me happy! Also, remembering there is still good in the world—it’s hard if you’re on the news too much.
Lastly, what’s the best music industry advice you have received thus far?
Trust your heart, and trust your own story and what you have to share. It’s good enough. Also, go at your own pace. Music is not a one-size-fits-all industry. You can really make up your own rules.