Worn Well

Worn Well: Singer and Songwriter Ella Vos

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Words and photos by Kate Rentz.

Take a listen to Ella Vos’ single “White Noise,” and you’ll instantly understand why she’s one of 2017’s most buzzworthy artists. Her mixture of mesmerizing vocals, glistening guitars, and propulsive drum machines set the stage for a song that’s equally danceable and thought-provoking. It’s no surprise that her tracks have landed on Spotify’s hottest playlist between hits from Katy Perry and Harry Styles, and that Rolling Stone named her one of 2016’s top new artists to check out. We met up to talk about alter egos, fashion, and balancing music with motherhood.

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Can you tell us about your musical journey?

One Sunday afternoon when I was five, my family and I wandered into a piano shop. My mom showed me where the middle C key was and walked me through the first page of the beginner book. I played through the entire book on my own. My parents almost immediately rented the piano and found me a teacher. I had absolutely fallen in love with playing the piano and have been playing ever since.  It really was my first “voice.” It’s taken years to feel comfortable singing. For a long time, it was just a dream. Eventually I learned that I could only say so much in just a melody and could say so much more with lyrics. “Ella Vos” is my first “real” attempt at being a singer.

“When I think about Teva, I think about discovering who you are and doing life your own way.”

 

Who is “Ella Vos”?

Ella Vos is a woman who is strong, fearless, and full of compassion.  When I am Ella Vos, I feel like I can be my best and truest self. I’m free to write about what I feel, whereas if I were writing under my own name, I think I would censor myself too much and would be unsure of what others might think of me. Even though they know Ella Vos is me, it allows me to get into a different headspace.

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What has your experience been like finding your voice?

It’s been a lot like therapy. It’s a bit painful and it’s forced me have to face things I have avoided. There was a moment when I realized I couldn’t write songs that didn’t have a deep personal meaning to me and that’s just the path I have to stick to for now!

What are some themes you explore in your music and has it been challenging to put them out into the world?

One of the strongest themes I’ve explored is becoming a mother. It was an extremely difficult transition for me. I felt very unprepared. In the early days of my post-partum depression, I wrote a song called “White Noise,” which is about feeling swallowed up by the expectations and standards we try to live up to. I was terrified to release this song because it’s not something society often talks, especially not a topic that’s seen as attractive in the music industry.

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You are very involved with the creativity behind Ella Vos, whether it be the photography on your Instagram to the visuals in your music videos. Did you have a creative background that did not involve music?

When I studied piano, I would do this exercise everyday where I’d close my eyes, visualize something (a thunderstorm, a field of flowers, someone crying) and then play what that might sound like. I think it created a strong connection between sound and visuals for me. I did get really into photography and graphic design for a while and that has helped me actualize a lot of ideas for Ella Vos.

You seem to be interested in fashion as well. How would you describe your personal style?

Comfortable, funky, and more recently, toddler “safe” as my son is about to turn two.

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How does your personal style differ from the style of Ella Vos?

I think my “Ella Vos” style is a bolder and more colorful version of myself! The line between them is definitely beginning to blur a bit, but I think I’ll always be a bit more dramatic on the stage.

What do you love about Teva? Why did you pick the styles you chose?

When I think about Teva, I think about discovering who you are and doing “life” your own way. I chose the white Flatform sandals first because they’re simple yet so bold, and perfect for the stage. Next, I chose the black Arrowood Swift sneakers because I’m going to be traveling quite a bit this summer and will need comfortable shoes. And last, I chose the Terra-Float Nova Lux sandals because they are the perfect everyday sandal that I could wear with just about anything.

Where can see you play this summer?

I’ll be performing at Bonnaroo on June 11, followed by a short tour (find cities and dates at ellavos.com/shows! Also, make sure to check Ella Vos on Spotify.

Shop our Festival Season style guide on Teva.com and follow us at Bonnaroo on Instagram @Teva!