“The song is quite personal to me,” Jen Ella explains of her new single Eyes For You, a song that is a soul-searching, dreamy ode penned to her own self-worth and as a soft and heartfelt warning for the benefit of others.
“It’s about a battle between head and heart,” she adds all-too knowingly. “It’s about chasing something that’s not good for you. Though you know it’s not right for you, you continue to chase it anyways,” she admits.
Her sixth release, and following on quickly from December’s acclaimed Common People, Eyes For You is a song that she recalls, “poured out of her effortlessly”, and that she hopes will connect with those who have shared similar experiences and who have faced the same situations; an indie-folk song of beguiling vocals that belie the realisation of harsh truths, which she hopes will be relatable.
“As hard as it is, the experience brings you on a journey of recognising your own self worth. Though it’s dragging you down, it forces you to realise that you deserve better.”
Recorded in Glasgow, where the young singer-songwriter from Cork now permanently resides, and in spite of the deceptively soft vocals coloured and soothed within an unthreatening Irish lilt, Eyes For You is an edgier, darker offering full of regret but with that new found strength that comes from eventual realisation cutting immediately to the bone with its taut lyrics, ambient pulse and carefully, deliberately strummed guitars that sparkle to create a hidden depth beneath an otherwise varnished smooth veneer, and that offer up some recompense of rhythmic warmth and accompanying tenderness to all the vulnerability and guilt of morning-after remorse: the strength behind the resolution that it will never happen again.
“Clouded mind I cannot hide,” Jen sings so softly. “This love that’s a danger I need to avoid.” Then adding knowingly, “One drink I think of this, easily lured in, not willing to resent.”
Jen Ella has grown and evolved since 2018’s Butterflies. There is now a steely confidence and a clear-eyed acuity that is etched through each word and runs along every line, coming directly from all the experiences she pens confessionally. And her voice is warm and soft and full of tenderness, even as it delivers each verse and chorus with crystal sharp determination and resolve. Still there that search for love, that want for acceptance, but now most definitely not at all costs! And all tempered from the knowledge of experience.
Her music has naturally transitioned from traditional folk to that of the rather more indie and soft rock alternative, full of emotion and supportive, and with similarities of Beth Orton with a Kate Bush-like imagery; a reminder, perhaps, of The Man With The Child In His Eyes.
“Joni Mitchell is probably one of my favourite artists,” she reveals, though. “I’m a huge fan of her work, and also Damien Rice. I absolutely love his songwriting. I think it’s so unique and I actually almost strived to write as uniquely as him. And I think, even with this song, I was almost writing it as a letter to myself to remind myself of my worth and using it even as a self-development letter, if you get me?” she laughs.
One drink I
think of this,
easily lured in,
Supporting different acts over the last few years has given her a drive to share stories through songs of travelling, mental health, society, history and love with audiences across Ireland and Scotland. She is incredibly active in the Scottish music scene, before the Coronavirus pandemic playing gigs all across the country, including gracing the Celtic Connection stage in the city she know calls home, and quickly becoming recognised by Celtic music leading to valuable airtime on B.B.C. Sounds.
Eyes For You was recorded in the Venice of The North Studio in the heart of Maryhill, Glasgow with Andy Sheppard and, as well as Jen on vocals and guitar, it features Jamie Martin on guitar and Adam Parker on drums.
Eyes For You, released on the 12th March