[Q&A] Ella M’s ‘Yellow Blazer’ Is a Time Capsule of Her International Life

Photo Credit: Billie Black (@billiexblack)

By Alissa Arunarsirakul // October 30, 2020

Whether it’s complicated relationships or international travel, Ella M finds lyrical inspiration from just about everything in her personal life. With a stunning blend of R&B, jazz, and soul, Ella M’s highly-anticipated debut EP, Yellow Blazer, is finally here to put her on our music maps. What we respect most about Ella M is her ability to be completely raw and honest in her limited discography, which we continue to hear in Yellow Blazer.

On Yellow Blazer, Ella M shared,

“I finished this project in the midst of moving to LA and my head was a little all over the place at the time… I see it as a time capsule of my thoughts during the weird/exciting/vulnerable move.”

To celebrate the release of her new music, we recently chatted with Ella M about Clueless, traveling, and of course, Yellow Blazer

HH: Having lived in England, New York, and Los Angeles, you’ve gotten to experience different parts of the world some of us dream of visiting one day. Where would you say has been your favorite place to be? 

EM: I have definitely been very lucky with my travels so far. I think it’s really hard for me to say what city has been my favorite as each city provided me with different things throughout my life. Henley/Reading, England was where I formed all my childhood memories and will always feel like home to me. Basically taught me and always teaches me how to stay grounded. New York is where I found how to grow up and hustle for the things that I want. It showed me how to be tough and stand my ground when I need to. Going back to London after living in New York for such a long time, I rediscovered my love for music and songwriting. Lastly, coming to LA and living here now has taught me how to be a professional and how to make my side hustle into a main hustle. 

HH: Your fusion of R&B, jazz, and soul is absolutely breathtaking. What about these genres speaks to you? Who are some of your musical influences? 

EM: Another multifaceted question! R&B makes me feel sexy and womanly. Figures like Janet Jackson, Destiny’s Child, and SWV have always inspired my melodies. Jazz makes me feel free of songwriting parameters, and strong women always come to mind when I think of jazz. Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Erykah Badu–just to name a few–strongly influence my journey and sound. Finally, the soul is the point that always connects me to music. It’s the color that kind of pops in a painting when you walk past it.  

HH: How excited are you to have Yellow Blazer out in the world?! 

EM: I am honestly so proud of this year and this project gets me so excited about the year to come. It’s a massive monument on the path to many other big ones!

HH: What’s the overall message of Yellow Blazer? What would you like listeners to take away from the EP?

EM: This is a strange one because when I started writing this project, it was when I first moved to LA and my head was a little bit all over the place. While I sometimes was criticized for the lack of continuity in the project, I have to remind myself that that is how I felt at the time and I was just speaking my truth. All in all, I want people to take away the fact that this is a project made by someone who has just moved to a new place in pursuit of succeeding in a really tough industry. 

HH: Whether it’s the calming energy of “24 Hours” or the feel good vibes in “Too Cool,” Yellow Blazer incorporates several sonic elements that really add to an interesting narrative. How did you decide what sounds you want to include in the EP?

EM: I guess I just answered the question before but, there was no real idea of sonic continuity when I was in the midst of the project. I think I had a lot to say at the time and I really need to get it out. I think of this project as a time capsule of the feelings I had when I was struggling. 

HH: We’ve gotta ask… is Yellow Blazer inspired by Cher’s iconic outfit in Clueless?

EM: Hhaah, I have never gotten that before! I kind of wish I thought of that sooner. I chose this title as I used to always wear a light yellow blazer that my roommate would let me borrow when I first moved to LA. It made me feel distinguished and in a way, was a symbol of a turning point for me.

HH: If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would you pick?

EM: YEBBA, Peter Collins, Eryah Badu, Nai Palm, H.E.R.

HH: What are your three hidden hits?

EM: “Yellow Jacket” – Shaun Martin
“Sunflower” – Vampire Weekend
“How Deep Is Your Love” – Bee Gees

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