Ellie Williams releases upcoming single “Fool Me”, for the soundtrack of the movie “Hedda Gabler”. Where Ellie poses with the upcoming heart-throb Francisco Ortiz who plays Eljert Lovborg in the newly anticipated British Victorian Drama. Hedda Gabler is based on Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s play published in 1890 and premiered in Germany in 1891. It went on to become regarded as a classic of realism, 19th Century theater and world drama. Some critics consider the character of Hedda one of the great dramatic roles in theater. Ellie wanted the music story to tell a story of a woman in love, who is left alone suddenly with nothing but a note from the man she loves. Unable to cope with reality, she takes herself to the river where she first spotted him and allows herself to be engulfed by it.” This year Ellie will be touring as the band “Osito”. In the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and Sweden.
Entertwine: Could you tell us about your background as a songwriter, vocalist, performer, and vocal coach?
I’ve always had music in my life from a really young age. My mum and dad has a bon tempi organ in the hallway when I was about 4 or 5. My memory is just sitting at it and making noise one day. Eventually, I would try and replicate the songs that I heard around the house on the organ and found that I could do it. Noticing I had a bit of an ear for music mum and dad encouraged me to join the local church choir, where I found my voice. I would often sing with my mum at home, and when my grandmother died when I was 12 I wrote my first song and haven’t stopped since. As a teenager I tried to write songs that were fashionable at the time but I just couldn’t feel it. It was only when I let go of trying to sound like other people that I just wrote about what was on my mind at the time. Most of my songs have my own experiences within them. Its a huge cliche but writing does help me to process things that I feel and see around me. Ive been lucky enough to have a lot of contact with my fans and I’m always blown away when someone takes the time to write and tell me about a song that has particularly resonated with them. Recently, to make music my life and to help each other find the same, I started teaching vocal lessons specializing in beginners and those who simply are lacking in confidence. But by far my most favourite part of music is the performance and in the last 18 months I’ve supported some incredible artists.
You write music both as a solo artist and as part of the musical project Osito, correct?
Yes. The last two albums were written by me, except for two songs on Hope-Heartbeats and You Won’t. These were written by my bandmate Dave Ankers. We started performing together about 3 years ago as a duo. We just really click together, harmonically and in humour. He’s the only person I have performed with that has taken away my nerves when playing live. It’s a great relationship and helped by the fact that we all get on well with respective partners. A year ago I was constantly being introduced as Ellie Williams and since there are only the two of us playing, I felt bad that Dave was rarely mentioned by name. So after a chat I asked him if we could become a ‘duo’ instead and after a lot of deliberating we came up with the name Osito, which means ‘little bear’. Now we are writing what will be my 3rd album together, and it’s been so great to be in the studio and start with a blank page and listen to what we come up with together.
Could you tell us about some of the most exciting or memorable live performances you’ve been a part of?
One of our favourite gigs of late has been playing with Suzanne Vega. We played in front of a really respectful audience who continue to support us now. We met the great lady ourselves which was very surreal as I was a genuine fan of her music. We played well and were then invited to watch her play. Another fantastic gig was supporting Midge Ure at the Minack Amphitheatre in Cornwall. Aside from the fact it was another musical legend the theatre itself was simply stunning. A sold out audience, performing outside on the edge of a cliff with the sea breeze drifting over us and the sunshine dipping behind us. A stunning setting which only enhanced our songs.
What experiences and events influenced the writing and recording of your latest album “Hope”? Could you tell us about each of the featured tracks?
I never set out to record Hope. It was a little project with my now duo mate, to take my mind off treatment. Because of that, I gave myself permission to mess around with a lot of different styles, just writing what I wanted to write, and not following a brief. Immense fun and the album that ultimately brought Osito together.
01. Glow A song written about being out on the road, and coming home to see my husband. This was written after a series of gigs close to christmas. Getting in the door, a massive hug and a glass of red wine and hoping to stay in that blissful moment.
02. Fall Too Far One of the more upbeat songs on the album about the simple act of falling in love, and being terrified of what that could mean.
03. All These Days This song is about being trapped in a day job when my heart wants to be out gigging as much as possible. Its about all the dreaming and scheming that we do when trying to follow our hearts
04. Heartbeats Written by Dave Ankers
05. Stars I wrote this song after a little road trip with my husband on a New Years Eve up to Dartmoor which is close to where we live in Devon. Its a song celebrating our home and a perfect night looking at stars.
06. The Last This was a really difficult song for me to write. 4 years ago I discovered that I had Thyroid Cancer and had to undergo surgery to remove it. They warned me at the time that there was a possibility I may not get my singing voice back because of the proximity of the vocal chords to the thyroid gland. I wrote the first part of it as the sun was setting the night before the operation. It was completed 6 months later when I started recording Hope and my voice had returned to full strength thanks to the incredible skill of my surgeons.
07. That Day This song was written about the day I was actually told that I had cancer. My husband and I got a unexpected phone call asking me to travel the following day to Weston Super-Mare general hospital. I knew then in my heart that there was something wrong, as we had to drive out of area to see my endocrinologist urgently. After getting the diagnosis we visited my mum and dad and shared the news. I decided then and there that I was not going to ‘play’ the role of a cancer sufferer. My family respected that and for the best part we continued on as before. My husband was an incredible support during this time, and I chose to remember this song as a testament to how love can help you through anything.
08. Hope A story telling song about the passage of time and how quickly it rushes by. A story of keeping faith in the things you believe, and how you have to find Hope in any situation you find yourself in.
09. Save Yourself I wrote this song after knowing a few people in my life that I felt were trapped in their own heads and needing somebody to save them from themselves. This is my song pleading with them to take charge of their own lives. I have been that person too.
10. Wonderful A little ditty written about how at the very root of it, life is kind of wonderful if you know where to look.
11. You Won’t Written by Dave Ankers
12. These Walls (We Built) People always talk about how putting up walls around you is a negative thing. When I was ill, we did build some walls around us to protect us from the world and to keep all the bad stuff out. It was our own private cocoon and only myself and my husband went through that experience. Those walls made us even stronger.
13. The Lighthouse Imagery is important to me in my songs, and this song depicts the feeling of drowning. Looking and clinging to a hand that reaches out for you from above the waves.
14. Fine This song was actually written before I found out I was sick. There have been other events that have transpired in our lives together just as in the lives of others. Moments of light and moments of extreme heaviness
What went into the making of the music video for your song ‘Fool Me (Hedda’s Theme)’?
The song will also be featured in a remake of the Henrik Ibsen classic Hedda Gabler, correct? I am so excited to be part of the Hedda Gabler film. Such a fantastic story and this remake is superb. With really high production values and an amazing director in Matthew John it’s amazing that I get to be apart of it. The making of the music video was so much fun, and much harder work than I thought. Making a music video was the ifrst ‘real’ acting I had done in my career, and getting used to the camera (and an attractive leading man) took its time. I also wanted to be able to convey appropriately all the emotion in my voice and of the lyrics. Additionally the fact that I was 6 months pregnant meant I wasn’t as agile as I might have liked to be. We filmed the video over two days at various different locations and the team were absolutely phenomenal. Locations: The Bradley Hotel: http://www.thebradleyhotel.co.uk/ & Jubilee Maze: http://www.mazes.co.uk/
How does “Hope” expand on or differ from your debut release “Unseen”? Could you tell us about the songs featured on “Unseen” as well?
‘Hope’ very much felt like another chapter in my life, and Unseen was the first. The songs on Unseen are quite different as is the production. The funds were raised as I had uploaded some bedroom recorded demos to a website called Sellaband. Kind of like Kickstarter, you had to gain public support to record it. I raised $50, 000 in 50 days which was a record for the site. It was an amazing few weeks working with producer Tony Platt (AC/DC, Bob Marley, Foreigner) culminating in the album being mastered by Ray Staff at Air Studios, London. The songs are a little more acoustic but again are about various experiences in my life. The favourite songs for me are the title track ‘Unseen’, definitely relating to how I was feeling at the time and ‘Firefly’, my most ‘poppy’ song to date. That song became a favourite of the fans that bought the album.
What does 2015 hold in store for Ellie Williams and Osito? When will you begin performing live again?
I’m very much looking forward do getting back out on the road with Dave and start gigging again. We took a short break as I recently gave birth to my beautiful son, Ethan. We finished writing the material for the next album in the autumn, but I was quite ill towards the end of my pregnancy so our schedule of having it recorded before Christmas came and went. Ethan, decided to make a surprise appearance on Christmas day, and we’ve been in the new parent fog since then. We are going to start performing live in the summer starting with gigs here in the South West before heading further afield in the autumn.