Another day means another edition of our Melodi Grand Prix interview series, this time featuring Ella!
Ella is an artist who moved to Norway from Brazil when she was just 12 years old, and has been splitting her time between both places since. This year will be her first time competing in Melodi Grand Prix, but she does have some musical accomplishments prior to the competition, being featured on the remix of “Tudo OK” who’s original has nearly 750,000 uses on TikTok alone, and her single “Criminal” which was featured in the Brazilian movie “Me Tira Da Mira”.
Welcome to ESCUnited.com Ella! We’re simply ecstatic for the opportunity to interview you and help our readers get to know you a bit better ahead of Melodi Grand Prix! Why don’t you give a quick introduction to our readers?
Hiii! I’m ecstatic myself, thank you for having me! <3 My name is Ella, I’m a 24 year-old Brazilian/Norwegian singer. Born in Brazil, moved to Norway in 2012 when I was 12 years-old, and have been in Norway ever since. My sound is about blending Latin (mainly Brazilian) rhythms and Scandinavian melodies.
What is one thing that our readers might be surprised to learn about you?
That my original goal as a 3-year-old was to be an Opera singer, so I sang classical music till 2016 (opera classes etc.), and began switching over to Pop then, when I was 17/18.
You moved to Norway when you were only 12 years old from Brazil, what was that transition like for you? Did you know any Norwegian at the time?
I knew how to count to 10, say “Hi! My name is….” and I also knew how to sing a children’s song. Other than that, nope. I spoke a good amount of English, and I kept on speaking mostly English for 2 years till I began in High School. I honestly didn’t give much thought to the transition till 5 and a half years later, when I was done in High School and moved to Oslo to go after my career. That was the first time I got to breathe in a while and do things as I wanted, so looking back, it was kind of life stepping out of a hurricane. I loved it though! I love throwing myself into challenging situations and just forcing myself to grow out of them. I chose to move to Norway. I chose to stay in Brazil when my Mom moved here, and I chose to live with her again after 4.5 years. So it was very much like “I made my bed, so now I’m gonna lay in it”. I guess you can say that’s my line of thought for most things.
From what I’ve listened to, you seem to have a really unique take on music and you’re quoted for “bringing Scandinavian pop into a new genre”. What words or influences would you use to describe your music to our readers?
My list of influences is absurdly extensive. From my Mom’s love for the Beatles, Metal and Madonna, to my Dad’s love for 50’s-80s, opera and musicals, to my aunt’s love for Brazilian music, opera and Queen. So I guess the words would be diverse, challenging and fresh? When it comes to songwriting The Beatles, Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga and The Doors are key. When it comes to performance and stage presence, The Doors, Queen, Beyoncé, Britney S. Anitta, Sarah Brightman, Madonna… Like I said, EXTENSIVE LIST.
And when it comes to my sound, a bit of everything really. Early 2000’s, Sarah Brightman, Anitta… Vocally, Mariah Carey, Sarah Brightman, Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé… Learning new vocal techniques is fascinating to me! I’m an eclectic mess hahaha
If you had the opportunity to collaborate with any artists in the world to produce a new single, who would you want to work with and why?
I think it would be Anitta right now, simply because our sound is very close to each other, even though I’d say I’m more theatrical. Less reggaeton, “weirder” references… Darker for sure. It could be a cool mix!
Your song and debut single “Criminal” was used as the theme song for the Brazilian movie Me Tira da Mira in March of 2022. Was the track written specifically for the movie? What was it like hearing your own song on a movie soundtrack?
The track was actually not written for the movie, it was the first track I worked on after signing with my manager and it had been ready for a while. The plan was always to get a Brazilian and a French feature on it, and that took more than 2 years. Around the end of 2021 the invitation for the movie came. At first, they wanted us in the soundtrack, and later we were chosen as the trailer and theme song of the movie. When that landed, the features came along and well… The rest you know!
“Criminal” was always one of my favorite tracks, so I love how the feature artists and the movie did the song justice! Also, how I got to work with my best friend as a choreographer, express myself artistically through fashion and artistic direction in the music video amongst other things, with an amazing team of course!
Alright now of course we need to talk about the massive elephant in the room – Melodi Grand Prix 2023. What made you decide to submit an entry to compete in the national selection this year?
To be honest, I never submitted an entry. I was invited to a song writing camp focused on the show (as an artist), and after that, Waist was picked and the official invitation came along. So it was more about “why not”. This has been another hurricane in my life, and I’m loving it, I love creative chaos. And the chance to connect with people around the world through my music and art, is pure joy and excitement. The funniest part about this whole thing is that “Waist” wasn’t even created during the sessions in the camp. Me, Tristan and Tim got really well along outside the sessions and wanted to get to do a session together, but the groups were chosen randomly.
So when we realized we weren’t gonna be put in the studio together, we spent the last hour we had at the studio on one of the last days creating a track, and that was “Waist”. We had sessions from 10-22 everyday, listening sessions from 22-23… “Waist” came about between 23-00 one day, before the studios closed. Tim and Tristan didn’t want to submit the song with the others, as they thought it was “too much” for MGP. I insisted, because I thought “why not”. As it turned out, that was “the song” after all.
That’s crazy – sometimes our best ideas come in at the last minute! Speaking of that you are a songwriter for many of your songs like “Waist”, so I wanted to ask what does your songwriting process usually look like for you?
Usually, I brainstorm tons of ideas on my notes and sing them out to see what fits the best, and what has to go. My verses tend to be ready before the hooks. On “Waist” though, I worked with Tristan Henry. The second Tim got the beat going, Trist already had tons of ideas in his head. So in this one particularly, I participated more through “throwing ball back and forth”, working together on the ideas he came with, which were pretty solid and of course, the Portuguese part is 100% me. Lastly we missed a Norwegian part, so I called in my super talented friend and Norwegian rapper “Baby Lucifa” aka. Isabel Hannevig, she nailed it, no surprise there.
For our readers who want to follow and support you before and after the national final, where can they find you? Any plans or upcoming projects you’d like to promote while we have you?
theellaofc on all social media, ELLA A on Spotify and YES, stay tuned! We have more than 10 songs ready to go, so the post MGP times are about to be super exciting too! We have songs in Spanish, English, a whole song in Portuguese (finally!). We’ve also been playing live throughout 2022, and plan to keep the shows coming in 2023. So yeah, lots of exciting news!
For the fans in Oslo, we have a streaming and after party planned at the Comfort Hotel at Karl Johan, tickets are on my social media, so come have fun with us (me and my dancers). For the fans in Tromsø, the same at the hotel The Edge. And for my Brazilian fans, more details on an online streaming party will be coming soon!
In closing, do you have a final message you’d like to share with the readers of ESCUnited?
Thank you SO MUCH for all the love, and please vote vote vote vote!!! Not only am I the first Brazilian to ever step on MGP, I’m also the first one to do Brazilian funk there. I’ve been a part of the choreography, the light show, the concept, the outfits… I’ve been involved in each milliliter of this performance simply because it’s so important for me, to give you all something I’m proud of and stand for. Both inside and out MGP. Something unique. I’ve brought my own dancers, my own choreographers… So you’re not only getting to see Ella, but the Ella fam! All of my girls are Norwegian but mixed race, our choreographer is not only black but also gay and proud! We’re here to give you Norway in 2023. Diversity, love, SELF-love, respect. We want to make history, and we hope you feel represented. Enjoy the show!
Ella will compete in the second semi-final of Melodi Grand Prix on Saturday January 21st starting at 19:50 CET. A total of three artists will be selected through a voting process to advance to the Grand Final on February 4th. The winner of the Grand Final will win the right to represent Norway at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in May.