Soul sensation Ella Eyre is standing in the middle of a bumper car arena, surrounded by awestruck people staring up at her from tiny dodgems. Surreal.
The evening’s been pretty surreal already. Clash is here to see Ella play a special Nokia Lumia Live Sessions set, the latest of their nationwide series of free music shows combining new talent with unexpected venues.
It's an old fairground museum – and all of the retro rides have been open for the last hour. We’re feeling sick from too many turns on the waltzer – that, and copious pots of free candyfloss.
“It’s going to be really nice to do an intimate, acoustic session,” Ella tells Clash before her performance. “I’m very excited to see how it pans out. It’s quite a magical experience.” She begins with ‘Don’t Follow Me’, a fast and soulful track accompanied by powerful vocals which contrast with the chilled acoustics coming from four backing musicians.
Immediately, the crowd is completely hushed by Ella’s stunningly natural and effortless vocal talent – hard to describe without delivering a truckload of oxymorons. Her vocals are delicate yet powerful, clear as well as husky and vulnerable but strong, in equal measures.
After a delicious cover of Basement Jaxx’s ‘Good Luck’ there’s something from her autumn-bound debut that she hasn’t played before. ‘Alone Too’ is delicate, raw and somewhat sombre, rolling up to a crescendo which leaves Ella crouching with the intensity of her vocals.
She delivers a near-on perfect rendition of Rudimental’s ‘Waiting All Night’ which proves that she can stand on her own two feet without the help from those “very cheeky four boys from Hackney,” as well as a play of her gorgeous and melodic next single release, ‘If I Go’.
She struts off to customary cries for an encore, as the tiny audience longs to be spellbound for just a few more minutes. She comes back with just an acoustic guitarist and sings her biggest solo track to date, ‘Deeper’, while sat on the corner of a dodgem. It’s a special moment.
The set is over far too quickly and audience members gaze around at each other, all too aware of the complete privilege of seeing one of the most amazing vocal talents of recent pop history. There’s only one way to describe tonight, and that is, in Ella’s words, “magical”.
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Words: Hana Barten
Online: Nokia Lumia Live Sessions