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Stuart Linden Rhodes

Singer-songwriter Ella Grace is diving into the deep end. The 26-year-old’s new bold album, Reverence, captures the artist’s melodic journey into a world of self-discovery and sexuality. For the last eight years, Ella has been fostering a community of women to create a welcoming, safe space of exploration and growth.

With a vision of sisterhood and visibility at the forefront of her music, the musician has embarked on her most revealing release yet. GAY TIMES caught up with the artist to find out more about her powerful record.

What inspired the title Reverence for the album?  
Honestly, I’m a very spiritual person. I lay in bed the night we finished the album and asked out loud what I should call the album. I heard the word Reverence echo back in my mind in return. I had to look up what it meant, but when I did it made a lot of sense. Reverence means to have deep respect for someone or something. That’s exactly how I feel about music and my relationship with it.

I had so much time suddenly and no distractions so I just dug into my music and it’s paid off. I love music and even if the world shuts down it’s always available to me.

How did writing this album help your process your own identity and come to terms with your sexuality?
There are quite a few songs that reference my newfound queerness and I think that’s been a huge part of this album for me. For example; Here Alone tells the story of me meeting a girl at a bar and having this love affair. It’s a totally made-up story but with COVID happening I had to find ways to explore this new found love of women without meeting anyone, so I did so with my imagination and music. I also found empowerment in writing songs like Nine. It allowed me to channel my pain about a recent heartbreak into something that felt strong and supportive.

Did you learn anything about yourself that you hadn’t reckoned with before making this record? 
So, so, so much! God, I found so many parts of myself were challenged during this, I basically overcame huge imposter syndrome around being a musician. Having to write, record and then steer the ship in terms of my direction for imagery, video, music production and release of this album has been a huge learning curve. I learnt that I am way more capable than I give myself credit for, and I found inner confidence that’s so essential when it comes to making your own art and loving it.

What’s your favourite lyric in this record?
Oh, good question! My favourite lyric would probably be in the song Nine: “And I apologise if darkness is your alibi but I’ve found a light that swims”. It’s a lyric that’s hopeful for me, it represents recovery, self-belief and a return to a greater power.

As a creative dedicated to uplifting other women and artists, how did you channel this ethos in your work?
It comes into most things I do both consciously and subconsciously nowadays! I like to be the person I didn’t really have as a role model growing up for other women in the space of authenticity and self-love. I do this lyrically and musically. Through narrative music videos too! And, finally, I hope to do a lot more of it through my record label OneOneOne Records. I am currently distributing a grant from The Shawn Mendes Foundation to some amazing young artists to support their work.

How would you like to see the industry change in the next five years?
I’d like to see more diversity and opportunity made for young people. To make it into the industry you need funding, whether that’s from a label or somehow gathered personally, it’s essential. So many incredible musicians don’t have the opportunity to get into a studio, let alone release any music because they don’t have the financial means to. I’d like to see more inclusion and support for artists both financially and in terms of mentorship and education. I’d also like to see more non-binary artists and queer narratives at the forefront of the industry!

How are you facilitating that change?
I hope to do this through my record label OneOneOne Records. I’m currently working on a radio show with a friend of mine who’s a well-known musician where we highlight the music and history of Black music, incredible LGBTQIA+ artists and intersectional talent.

Sexual harassment and safety for women at gigs, intersectional feminism within the industry and much more! I am also currently mentoring a few younger musicians and as I said above I’m distributing this grant to support musicians who need financial help. You can follow us @oneoneone to keep up with all of this!

What do you hope fans can take away from your album?
I hope they feel more connected with themselves, empowered, inspired and enlivened. It’s a really feel good, ooey-gooey album in my opinion – especially if you like 70s psychedelic music and folk.

What’s been special about this record for you?
“I made a limited vinyl of this album, which was a really special moment for me. I grew up with vinyl covers all over my walls and to have my own is just… mind-blowing. My 13-year-old self is ecstatic AF!

What’s your favourite thing about being LGBTQ+?
My favourite thing is just being. Being LGBTQIA+ allows me to be me completely. It’s a space where I feel seen, heard and safe. I am humbled to meet other LGBTQIA+ people who have been out and about a lot longer than I have and I learn a lot. There’s so many of us and it’s just so special to find family everywhere I go.

Reverence is now available on all streaming platforms – listen here on Apple Music or below