Wonderland.

NEW NOISE: ELLA VOS

Translating the most difficult time of her life into poignant pop bops, the LA-based singer talks us through how music kept her fighting.

All clothing SCOTCH AND SODA, shoes JEFFREY CAMPBELL

All clothing SCOTCH AND SODA, shoes JEFFREY CAMPBELL

Ella Vos spent last year hooked up to IVs and wondering what would happen next. Having been diagnosed with lymphoma, she used music as the light to guide her through her treatment. Creating her beautiful EP “Watch & Wait”, the five-track record details the journey that she went through. With her crisp pop numbers, the EP is a hopeful and inspiring follow up to her 2017 album Words I Never Said that describes her reclaiming her identity and learning to love herself again.

Now feeling healthy and happy, she’s getting ready to get back on the road and show others that, no matter what they’re going through, they’re never alone. We caught up with her as she gets ready to embark on her huge US tour to find out what the future holds.

How did you first get interested in music?
I started playing piano when I was five; I was obsessed with it, and often would have to be begged to stop playing to come to dinner or go to bed. I played classical music almost exclusively until I joined a band in college and discovered that playing shows with a band was way more fun than performing “perfect” classical piano pieces. It was in that band that I started singing and learned how to write songs.

Obviously, last year was a difficult time for you as you went through treatment for lymphoma. Could you tell us a bit about that experience?
I was diagnosed with lymphoma a few days in to my first headline tour. It was fairly shocking. Ok, it was extremely shocking. I didn’t believe I was sick, and stayed in denial for quite a while. I didn’t want to cancel the tour; I didn’t want anything to change at all, so I stayed on despite it being an emotional rollercoaster, not knowing what was waiting for me when I returned home and started treatment. I remember just texting my producer for hours on end talking through scenarios of how to handle the rest of the year, and oftentimes going through downward spirals of feeling really hopeless.

What kept you strong throughout the process?
It sounds so cheesy, but music kept me strong. Knowing that if I got through this terrible experience that music would still be there for me – throughout and in the future – that’s what kept me strong. And my family and friends and fans. My fans are especially so encouraging, I love them so much.

How are you feeling at the moment?
Really amazing; honestly for the first time in a long time I feel healthy.

(LEFT) Suit SCOTCH AND SODA, shoes BALENCIAGA, necklace TOPSHOP
(RIGHT) Shirt SAINT LAURENT, shoes DIOR, belt SCOTCH AND SODA

Suit SCOTCH AND SODA, shoes BALENCIAGA, necklace TOPSHOP
Shirt SAINT LAURENT, shoes DIOR, belt SCOTCH AND SODA

You wrote your “Watch + Wait” EP during treatment. Could you tell us a bit about how you started writing it?
I started writing the first song for the EP (“Empty Hands”) while sitting in the treatment room, hooked up to an IV, surrounded by other chemo patients. I wrote as many lyrics as I could for the EP during this time, since the treatments were about 6-8 hours long. I’d go into the studio whenever I could, which ended up being a lot less than I had hoped to. It was great having the goal of writing an EP or album during this time since it kept me focused on the future, but sometimes it was really frustrating. I got really sick after treatment and for months I couldn’t sing or hear very well – I felt like everything was working against me and definitely wanted to give up often.

What are some of the stories of the songs?
The first couple of songs I wrote were super sad. At one point I remember going into the studio and saying “I really need to write an upbeat song; I just want to feel happy” and that’s the day we wrote “Temporary”. “Ocean” was written during a week when I felt better than usual – I was driving up the coast towards Santa Barbara to spend the weekend alone and I was remembering how I used to swim out far past the buoys; and thinking how I would be terrified to swim out alone in the ocean now.

You’ve mentioned before about exploring different emotions, can you tell us a bit more about this?
I think up until this experience, I’d been afraid to write anything that didn’t have some positive message at the end of it. This mostly resulted in underplaying anything that felt “negative” or “sad” or “angry”. And I really didn’t want to do this with these songs, because that’s not where I was at when I was writing. I wasn’t that hopeful, I was really sad and frustrated, and often hopeless. I know it’s subtle, obviously, I’m not screaming “I HATE THIS!” in my lyrics, but, for me the songs do feel closer to something true and honest.

How was the process different for you?
Writing while being sick was crazy – I couldn’t always sing the melodies I was trying to write, sometimes I just didn’t sound like myself while recording – we definitely had to take everything really slow. But the biggest thing I think me and my producer had to accept was this is where I was and there was no use in waiting for things to change or get better. We just had to keep going. The perfectionist in me HATED it. But that’s life – it keeps going and if you want to keep up you do what you can with what you have.

All clothing SCOTCH AND SODA, shoes JEFFREY CAMPBELL

All clothing SCOTCH AND SODA, shoes JEFFREY CAMPBELL

How did writing the EP make you feel?
It really made me feel a whirlwind of emotions – sad, angry, frustrated, hopeless, as well as hopeful, peaceful, happy… there were times I hated it and times that it was the only thing anchoring me from drifting off too far into my mind.

You are now heading out on tour! How are you feeling about it?
It’s a bit surreal – I really wasn’t sure if I’d be able to tour again and definitely not this soon, so it’s very incredible.

How are you feeling about performing these songs to an audience?
I’ve already cried singing “Empty Hands” twice now – I used to be sooo embarrassed to cry in front of anyone, and now I’m like, whatever, it’s fine, crying is cool. I’m excited to be that comfortable with myself on stage, that’s something I haven’t experienced before. I feel so much less pressure going into this tour than any before, because I know I can just be myself.

What are you hoping they take away from the music?
To know that they are not alone, in anything!

What else do you have planned for 2019?
More music, always! I can’t wait to get back into the studio.

Suit SCOTCH AND SODA, shoes BALENCIAGA, necklace TOPSHOP

Suit SCOTCH AND SODA, shoes BALENCIAGA, necklace TOPSHOP
Photography and Fashion
Trevor Boyd
Hair and Makeup
Jadyn Ngo
NEW NOISE: ELLA VOS

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