Welsh Singer/Songwriter ELA Discusses Debut EP – Unfurl

After months of growing success, emerging Welsh artist ELA has released her much-anticipated debut EP, Unfurl.

The 25-year-old London-based singer has built an army of fans since her first single, Our Summer, was released in June 2020. ELA’s songs have been streamed over 70,000 times globally, with fans in the United Kingdom, United States and France.

Her latest single, Never Have I Ever, which is Track 3 on Unfurl, was featured on BBC Introducing twice, with DJ Adam Walton referring to ELA’s track as “excellently done, with a real sense of personality and soul.” ELA has received public support from the likes of Sandi Toksvig and Eve Myles, the latter who ELA worked with when she recorded the vocals for the Welsh version of BBC 1 hit series Keeping Faith.

Andy Howells chats with ELA about the Unfurl EP

Welsh singer-songwriter ELA has released her debut EP – Unfurl

Your debut EP Unfurl is now released, how are you feeling about that?

I’m feeling a big mix of emotions but overall very, very excited to see it out in the world for everyone to hear.

Writing and recording and now releasing the EP has been part of the healing process for me after coming out of a difficult relationship, so I’m ecstatic for it to be heard and also glad it’s providing me with a bit of closure.

How do you feel about the response to your music so far?

Grateful. I love how this community brings strangers together over their love for music. Releasing music has introduced me to so many different people and I love the fact my audience stretches far and wide all over the world. I’m chuffed with the feedback and how people have responded to the released songs so far.

People responded really well to ‘Those Feels’ which is exactly what I’d hoped for – I wrote the single in lockdown to help people feel good while stuck indoors. If you haven’t checked it out already, it’s worth a listen and guaranteed to get you moving!

Due to the pandemic, the last year has been exceptionally difficult for everybody, how have you handled it?

All I can say is thank God for video calling!

Like everyone, I’ve found it super tough, draining and exhausting. But the worst part has definitely been not being able to go back to Wales and see my dad. I’m such a tactile person so I’ve found this whole process really difficult. I’m definitely looking forward to not having to do star jumps in my living room as exercise and having a pint with my friends in the pub again.

Has your work been a good distraction?

I feel so lucky that I have a creative outlet to express how I’m feeling – it’s been a lifeline throughout all this.

During the first lockdown, I wrote three songs for a lockdown drama series, Cyswllt. It was an incredibly stressful experience because I had to write, record and produce the songs in such a short space of time, but it was even more rewarding.

The release of Unfurl has been a great distraction, and I’ve been writing away in the background too so there’s lots of more new music to come!

Can you tell us a little about the tracks that make up the EP?

I’d love to! This is a four-part EP and all based on true events in my life which have helped me unravel and Unfurl as a young woman.

The first track is a bit of a middle finger to my ex. It’s a breakup song which celebrates the term You Do You. It’s an expression of freedom from being in a trapped relationship and finally being able to be me! It’s a sassy pop song with a hooky chorus and guaranteed to be stuck in your head whilst trying to fall asleep (sorry!).

Walk Your Ways is the emotional one on the record. It’s about my mum and dad’s divorce and the story of how it happened, and that I’m now glad that it happened as I can see they are both so much happier. I guess it’s a token of accepting and healing. It interestingly received a good response on TikTok so I guess people are relating to it.

Never Have I Ever is about when I played the drinking game with my current partner in New York City and how it didn’t end so well… so I don’t recommend it! This one is a bit jazzier, has a lot of soul and if you like Amy Winehouse then you’re guaranteed to enjoy this one! 

Water is the final track from the EP and is a love letter to the Welsh coast. It’s also about my brother and how he’s played a huge role in my Unfurling. He’s such a good person, listener and is so selfless. I use lots of classical references in this song and have created a dream life effect in the chorus. I can’t wait for it to be out when the EP launches and to hear what people think of it.

Where did the title, Unfurl come from?

My mum always says to me ‘keep unfurling’ which means keeping being you and finding out who you are. I’ll tell her about something that’s happened in my life and she’ll say “you’re unfurling”. It’s just a really sweet thing we have and I’ve now started using it with my friends.

Are there any plans for live appearances after lockdown?

100%. I was booked for a gig in January at The Underbelly in Hoxton but that unfortunately has had to be rescheduled (date TBC). I absolutely adore performing and that buzz you get from the crowd. I can’t wait to start singing at festivals too. I think a real landmark moment for me in my career will be when a crowd sings the lyrics I have written!

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