When you think of Ella Eyre in an intimate and stripped down live concert, the last place you would envision this might just be Dingles Fairground Museum. To be honest, you will hardly ever associate any concert with a fairground as its venue, what with rides and slot machines and the sort, but that is exactly what Nokia has done for the first edition of its Lumia Live Session in 2014, and what a master stroke it was!
If you don’t know who Ella Eyre is, we might not judge you too much but after today, we implore you to not forget the name. At just 19 years old, the London singer-songwriter has already topped the UK Singles Chart with Rudimental on the mind blowing single “Waiting All Night” – she won herself a BRIT Award for her efforts too. She was also runner-up for the coveted BBC Sound of 2014 and nominated for the BRIT Critics Choice Award this year, losing out on both occasions to Sam Smith.
Make no mistake however, Ella Eyre is a star in her own right and as deserving of the BBC Sound Of 2014 and BRIT Critics Choice Award as Sam Smith was, but this is neither the time nor the place for comparisons. If we were ever in doubt as to just how much of an amazing artist Ella Eyre is, the West London native reminded us on Saturday (March 29) all the way out in Devon, bang in the middle of some vintage dodgem cars. Backed by a stripped down iteration of her live band with Josh Carruthers on keys, Dave Baker and Mafro on acoustic guitars and David ‘Chopstix’ Staniforth on Cajun Drums, Ella Eyre offered up a short but sweet acoustic set that left us simply spellbound.
“Love Me Like You”:
Maybe it was the fairground venue scenery or the vintage lighting and ambiance but from the moment she opened her mouth to sing “Don’t Follow Me“, we were hooked, line and sinker. With her strong vocals, she had our attention and she didn’t let it go until she exited the makeshift stage of dodgem cars. After “Don’t Follow Me”, she offered up a lush acoustic rendition of “Love Me Like You” from her debut EP Deeper which was released around Christmas last year. Originally produced by Two Inch Punch, this version replaces the heavy bass and horns with subdued keyboard and guitar arrangements and minimalist cajun drum patterns and Ella’s potent and soulful voice fills the void rather majestically.
Ella Eyre follows this up with a previously unheard track titled “Alone Too” which is taken from her forthcoming debut album due out in the Autumn. Filled with memorable lyrics, a bouncy drums-led musical backdrop and an unforgettably infectious hook, this one reminds us of Adele for some reason and will have everyone singing “I’ve been alone too” when it is released. She swiftly went into her acoustic rendition of her chart-topping collaboration with Rudimental “Waiting All Night”, highlighting again her incredible vocal control and delivery, before covering Basement Jaxx’s Grammy Award-nominated 2004 single “Good Luck” rather beautifully and with some oomph too.
“Good Luck (Basement Jaxx Cover):
She closed her set with a performance of her forthcoming single “If I Go” which is due to be released in May before returning for an encore and performing her EP’s title track “Deeper”, this time backed only Mafro on acoustic guitar and rather interestingly, without the help of a microphone, in as stripped a performance as one can get. It is a huge testament to the vocals chops on Ella Eyre that she can command a fairground with her singing and her singing alone.
For half an hour and especially those final moments there, Devon stood still for this rising star from West London and Ella Eyre stood up tall and was counted – and then it was all over. As soon as it had begun, the first Lumia Live Session of 2014 presented by Nokia and La Blogothèque, starring an inspiring Ella Eyre was all over.
Ella Eyre’s debut EP Deeper is out now on iTunes, purchase it here. Her debut single “If I Go” will be released in May with her debut album due to hit stores in the Autumn, both via Virgin/EMI.
Words by Ayo Adepoju