Lou Ella has been writing since her teens, her style and approach influenced by her background’s mixed North African and European origins.
After finding her musical footing, Lou Ella has leaned into a chill pop and Soul vibe that highlights her impressive vocals and lyrics. We caught up with her, to speak about her upcoming EP, and her interest in fashion and visuals, outside of music.
T.H.E – Hey Lou! Welcome to T.H.E – Music Essentials. What have you been up to?
Lou Ella – Hey, thank you! I got out of the studio in January and finished the recording of my EP “Supernova”. I also recently worked with a new producer on a new song called “Electric Blue” and am preparing to release a few songs in the coming weeks. Some videos too.
T.H.E – You have been writing music since your teens. How did your interest in music develop?
Lou Ella – I always loved to sing, it made me so happy. I was a very quiet child and even still am a bit now but I remember being in the car with my dad and singing every single song on the radio, I wasn’t quiet then. He’d call me the jukebox. I also learned piano at the conservatory but got sick of classical music and stopped playing. Bad decision. My aunt was also a huge reason, she worked in the music industry in France and she’d come over to our house and play demos of artists she discovered, she’d take me to shows, backstage, I remember loving it, the electricity in the room, the crowd’s energy, the live aspect of it all. I was really into it.
T.H.E – What role did your North African and European origins play, in you becoming an artist?
Lou Ella – I think growing up with such a mixed background feeds you. My father’s family is from Algeria and my love of percussions, organic sounds certainly come from there. The music that I would hear, the stories my grandfather would tell in Arabic and then translate to me, the foods we would eat, all of this adds to your vision of the world. It makes you richer. My mother’s family is from Austria and the Czech Republic, my grandmother taught me to love classical music, she’d take me to the Opera and explain to me how classical music was such a perfect expression of human feels. She taught me structure and discipline that is essential to music while my dad’s side was more of the passion and storytelling side now that I think about it.
T.H.E – How would you describe your sound?
Lou Ella – The sound of “Supernova” is a chill Pop vibe leaning on a soulful foundation. I gravitate towards a mix of organic classic sounds with a modern touch, I like to blend genres sometimes too. Summer of Love, for example, is piano driven with strong bass, percussions, and old school backups. I call it Pop & Soul. I wanted this EP to feel warm and it really has everything I love. I can’t deny that I’m influenced by artists like Lana Del Rey, Sade, and even some Lady Gaga but I also grew up on Babyshambles, Billy Ocean, and Arctic Monkeys so who knows.
T.H.E – You’re based in California now, how has that turned out to be?
Lou Ella – I had this fantasy about California and always wanted to live in the sun. I have family here, so it’s not like I’m alone at the end of the world. I really consider it home. I love it because it’s different, LA is a weird city. I feel good here and it allows me to be creative, there are space and nature but also very diverse people, inspiration all around.
T.H.E – You will be releasing the first song – Summer Of Love, from your upcoming EP – Supernova. How long has the EP been in the works?
Lou Ella – The EP is an attempt at trying to re-create the world and stories that are in my head. It took months for me to figure out what I wanted this project to sound like. The songs came one after the other and with every song things slowly made more sense to me; I was figuring out what I wanted. After months of diving into sounds, my writing partner and I figured out song by song the vision, the instruments, the references for certain sounds, the moods, the feels. In many ways the songs are straightforward and simple, because I wanted to convey a type of journey, reading your diary quietly in your room – simple yet personal. It felt very powerful going in the studio with such a clear grasp on what these songs had to be. As soon as we started, everything just felt easy and organic. I wanted to have a lot of percussions, a real emotional journey, a lot of pianos, some guitar, and most importantly backups singers to bring more Soul into the songs. We recorded the backups old school; in the same room, distanced from each other, the way some of my favorite records were done.
T.H.E – What inspired the EP name – Supernova? And what can fans expect from it?
Lou Ella – With my slight obsession with the stars, the planets and the universe it only made sense to call the E.P “Supernova”. A supernova also burns bright before it dies and these songs felt like they had to come out before I could move on. The name also coincides hints to my artist name “Lou Ella”; Ella meaning the light.
The EP goes through a journey. Starts with ” Summer of love” which is a beautiful sweet song but fundamentally talks about my first toxic co-dependent relationship, flows through “Madness” which is where I put my foot down and said “fuck you I know I’m messed up but if you can’t handle it get out”, next comes “Time” which is a rocksteady influenced song, it’s my feel better song, it helped me at a specific time when things felt very hard. “Devil” is the acknowledgment that I have a problem dealing with anger, I’ve always had this problem and it somehow just still doesn’t quite feel under control. “Supernova” is the moment to wind down, I wanted to feel like I was in space, it’s airy and light even though the lyrics say quite the contrary. I love doing that, layering things that feel like opposites. Soft and rough, leather and lace …
The last track is a haunting letter to my mother “Perfect Queen”, there is a simplicity to this song that I just felt we needed to end the EP with.
T.H.E – Currently, which artists do you look up to, for inspirations?
Lou Ella – Currently, I am into Jorja Smith, H.E.R, Florence & The Machine, and have started to get into Billie Eilish.
T.H.E – Outside of music, you also have an interest in fashion and visuals? Could you tell us more about that? Do we see you developing some kind of career or a project, within those two categories?
Lou Ella – I’ve always been obsessed with fashion, textures, colors, and shapes. I love to dress up and look up to Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Serge Gainsbourg, Cher, Blondie, Patti Smith … I love bold patterns, studs, glitter, feathers as much as a simple black suit and a rock tee. I really enjoy creating mood boards, every day I share 5-10 images that reflect my vibe. People seem to enjoy them. I love finding cool collages, I’m usually always inspired by surrealist and psychedelic art. I’ve started designing my first merch and want it to reflect those interests and as I build my shows, I am going to make sure that fans get a visual trip on top of the music.