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  • Justice Petersen

Ella Galvin Travels Down A Darker Path on Raw New Single “Spare Me”

Combining multiple music genres - pop, rock, soul and jazz - to create a catalog and an artistry that is completely her own, NYC pop-soul artist Ella Galvin continues to experiment with her talents on her newest single “Spare Me”. A song that is more raw and stripped down compared to previous releases, Galvin’s newest effort conveys a bittersweet yet uplifting tale of heartbreak. When combined with her powerfully flawless vocals as well as her iconic pop-soul sound, the eclectic singer-songwriter is only just beginning to share her passion for experimentation with listeners. Set to release her debut EP around June of this year, Galvin spoke with Fever Dream Zine to discuss future releases, the authenticity of “Spare Me” and how she hopes to express her queer identity through her music.

Fever Dream Zine (FDZ): Thank you so much for taking the time! To start, how were you originally introduced to music? 

Ella Galvin: I have always been singing, but the first thing that I remember is I started doing talent shows when I was in third grade. I don't know what inspired me to do that, but I sang at one talent show and people loved it and were very encouraging, so I just kept doing it. I was in musicals, and I've always loved performing in any capacity, but I feel like I really started writing music more when I joined a band in senior year of high school. We started writing original music together and performing original stuff and that was definitely a newer experience for me then. I had written a couple things, but senior year I really started writing my own stuff and learning to play guitar. I also was playing piano a little bit before that too, always as an accompaniment to singing. 

FDZ: What kind of artists were you into when you first got into music? Did those influences change over time? 

Ella: My parents played a lot of jazzy type stuff and it definitely inspired me. When I got my first iPod in 2008 or something I was listening to Rihanna and Lady Gaga and all that pop music then. Listening to that really taught me how to sing because I never really took a vocal lesson until I went to college. I was just singing and sort of emulating the artists that I really like, but I think it's changed to deeper appreciation for the older artists. Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire and Amy Winehouse are all super influential. The more modern artists I love are Lake Street Dive and Lizzy McAlpine. And I've always loved Lady Gaga.

FDZ: You were in several bands growing up and throughout your musical journey. What inspired you to go solo? 

Ella: I’ve always felt I can only rely on myself. That's always a quote that I have for so many instances of life. When I left the last band that I was in, it was really hard for me to leave because I started that band. It was like my baby. But I had to just let it go and I feel like it's really nice now to choose what I want. If my producer suggests something, I can say no. It's nice to have that kind of control and it’s really helping me find my own sound. If I was in a band that was only doing pop-soul, I wouldn't really be able to explore different sides of my artistry. I've learned a lot from being in bands, good and bad, but it's definitely better this way. Everyone's on their own journey. I am really excited to be finally doing something that I feel really good about.

FDZ: You’re inspired by a variety of artists and genres. How did you take all those things to find your own unique sound? 

Ella: That's such a good question. I've been reading “The Creative Act: The Way of Being” by Rick Rubin. He’s like the Mark Ronson before Mark Ronson. He always talks about how every creative act is in collaboration with something that came before it, and I thought that was such an interesting way to describe it because it's so true. I have “Spare Me”, this new song that's coming out, and in my head it had a similar vibe lyrically and acoustically to Lizzy McAlpine. Very singer-songwriter vibe.With the production I think that is a really big part of finding your sound, and I feel like I've been really lucky to have met so many great producers and work with them to help me find my sound and start pulling from different places and combining them to make something that is really different and cool. 

FDZ: I'm glad you bring up “Spare Me” because I definitely wanted to ask about that. Compared to your previous singles, it takes a more dark, raw and mellow sound. What inspired that change? 

Ella: It's the first song I've written where I haven't changed anything, and I wrote it in one day. I was sad about this relationship I was in that was ending. The song just felt so real to me, and it felt really good to create something like that and be really confident about it. Usually I always doubt my lyrics or I want to change things. I wanted to show that difference in the production too, because I wrote it on guitar and it's the first song that I've tracked instrumentally for that I'm actually playing an instrument on and that was huge for me too. It’s very exciting because I've been trying to get better at guitar. It does definitely take a different route, but I love it. I think it's cool. I have an upcoming EP where a lot of my songs are different genres. I see them all as exploring different genres, trying to figure out what my sound is and what genre I like creating and not putting myself in a box.

FDZ: You touched on it a little bit but, for those who don't know, what's the story or inspiration behind the song’s message? 

Ella: I moved to New York and I was meeting new people. I don't really date, I meet people at shows and that's how I date. I hate dating apps. I met this person at a show and a couple of months later, they came back for a month and they were in New York. We were seeing each other and I was like, this is really nice. I feel like someone's finally treating me well. I feel like I've dealt with so many assholes, and basically the message of the song is that I'm always trying to avoid having feelings for people because it's inconvenient to me. I get sad and it affects my life and it's a distraction. I don't want it. “Spare Me” is saying ‘spare me this drama, this inconvenience and this sadness that I'm going to feel when this person leaves.’ Then at the end I say ‘please don't spare me,’ because it's definitely better to feel those feelings. For artists especially. It just has to happen. That's where inspiration comes. I'm always trying to avoid inconveniences like that, but the point of the song is you should feel everything and you should have a good time with someone, even if you know it's gonna end. Just enjoy the moment. 

FDZ: As you mentioned earlier, you do have an EP coming out later this year. What can you tell us about it so far?

Ella It's been a really fun project to work on, because every song takes a different route. I have a more hyper-pop song. I have a punk song. A super pop-soul song. “Spare Me” is more singer-songwriter and has a sad, darker vibe. And then I have a super jazzy, live-sounding song. 

FDZ: I'm definitely excited to see that! Regarding that upcoming punk track, is punk something that you love listening to? What inspired that sound? 

Ella: I met this new producer who just moved here from Nashville and he worked on a lot of pop stuff there. He knows a lot about pop writing, vocal editing and production. He also does a lot of punk stuff working on his own stuff. He told me he could see me doing a pop-punk song, so I'm like, okay let's play around with it. That's how you find your sound and figure out what's fun for you. That's been a really fun song to work on because I listen to it and I love it but I didn't think I was gonna like pop punk. That's not me, but hearing it edited and hearing the vocals tracked it sounds really cool. He did a really great job in combining that punk thing with more pop-soul harmonies that I added in. 

FDZ: You do love to experiment with music and different styles in general. Is there something that you haven't tried that you'd like to experiment with in the future?

Ella: That's such a good question too. I know I said I have a really jazzy, live-sounding song sort of in the style of “Frank” by Amy Winehouse. That whole album is very live-sounding. But I’d like to experiment with a lot more jazz. Gaga has her jazz era and I'm so interested in that. I love singing jazz. I think it's so fun. There's so many talented jazz musicians out there. Maybe something more hyper-pop as well, because it's more unique. There's always people creating new genres too, so there's so many of them out there that I don't even know.

FDZ: When it comes to trying different genres, experimenting with different genres, blending things together, is it ever overwhelming?

Ella: What is a little bit overwhelming to me is the concept of choosing a genre and putting yourself into a category. In the back of my head I've always wanted to make a body of work like this that's a bunch of different genres, because I think it's so fun to experiment with all of those and try new things and see what sticks with the audience. But having one category stresses me out a little bit. I do get from a marketing standpoint that you kind of have to be something. But can't this something be that I want to do a lot of different genres? I love having so many different types of music available.

FDZ: It's been said that your music offers “introspection of being a young queer woman in today's world.” How does your queer identity impact your music or your songwriting? 

Ella: To be honest, I feel like I’m just exploring that, because I only realized I'm queer a couple of years ago, so it's definitely more of a new thing that I've been exploring. But one of my favorite artists is Chappell Roan. I love how she incorporates her queer identity into music. She just does it so well. That's definitely an inspiration for me.

FDZ: Ultimately, what does your music convey or offer for listeners? 

Ella: My hope is that people can relate to the stories. It's a fun challenge to try to be more specific in songwriting and have people listen to that and be like, oh wow, I actually can relate to this in a different way. I would just want people to interpret it in a way that best fits their narratives, where they can relate to it and it can maybe help them get through something or feel less alone.

Listen to “Spare Me” HERE



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