Ella Fence10 months ago
Electro-pop singer Ella Fence possesses the confidence of someone born for the spotlight. Her stage name is a word play (say it out loud) that draws from her middle name and a riff on her last name (Pickett / Fence); the fact she has a stage name at all speaks to her ambition.
Originally from the Gold Coast, she’s not afraid to follow her career wherever it takes her. Ella says, “I’m a very adventurous person, I love exploring and doing different things so it doesn't hold me back if people I want to work with don’t live close to me. If it feels right, I’m going to make it work”.
Hence she found herself in Brighton, UK, recording 2015 EP ‘Wanderlust’ with Dan Swift (Snow Patrol, Passenger), and also in Paris recording with Ken Stringfellow, best known for his work with REM, Big Star and The Posies.
Closer to home she has played gigs and collaborated with a huge range of artists, and even played the opening of the Commonwealth Games last year, which she describes as ‘childhood dream stuff’.
Her style is hard to pin down, in turns darkly Lana Del Rey-ish (Unknown Water), unashamedly poppy (Call Girl), and dreamily chilled out (new single Waterside, with fellow Queenslander Christian Patey).
Ella is a self-described performer, and says her live show is the number one priority. “It’s the thing that connects you to your audience and the thing that I think about the most.”
It’s perhaps her adventurousness that led her to come up with her unique Motel Tour last year, where she played a series of intimate shows out of Motel rooms on the East Coast. “I created a bunch of songs that were very different to anything I had released before. I wanted to perform them to a live audience in a way that was interesting and quite edgy and different, and really highlighted the context of the songs.”
During the tour Ella and her band pushed the beds against the walls, turned on the amps and lighting and created a bona fide venue out of the motel rooms. She says it was partly about playing with the notion of what a live music venue can be, and partly about giving the audience a peek behind the curtain.
“Motels are a regular accommodation when being on the road as a musician. So it was about inviting people into that space and experiencing that part as well; the transient nature of the life of a musician, opening up those doors. It was really fun, but also very stressful because the motels didn't know that we were doing it, so there was always the chance that we would get shut down.”
Ella is currently working on recording her debut album and plans to focus on Australia this year, and overseas in 2020. In a way she’s continuing a journey she traces way back, all the way to a childhood drawing she says her mum still has, of her performing in front of a crowd.
“That’s kind of where it started, but it never really started. It always has been.”
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