Things keep going from strength to strength for beloved Gold Coast songstress Ella Fence, as she returns from a successful recording trip in the UK, only to hit a stage at Bluesfest 2016 and land a coveted role in La Boite Theatre’s Snow White. As Natalie O’Driscoll speaks to the songstress, she’s about to fly the coop for Canadian Music Week with a side-trip to Nashville and more.
Congratulations on playing Bluesfest 2016! Tell us a bit about your experience…
Thank you – what a crazy experience that was. The performance was so much fun and so rewarding to play at a festival that is so highly regarded internationally. What was particularly awesome though, was just wandering round the festival after our set and watching so many incredible bands and artists – I left feeling SO inspired to perform and songwrite. We actually ran into Mike Love and his band after their set in the audience for Hiatus Kaiyote. My drummer Sarah spotted them and connected with them – it’s little accidental encounters like that that are so special and always happen when you least expect!
We LOVED hearing Unknown Water in the Bleach* promo video, it was the perfect soundtrack. How did that come about, and how did you feel about it being chosen?
Thank you! It felt great having the song chosen. The team at Bleach* contacted me in the lead up offering the opportunity, which was a huge compliment. I love how the festival encompasses every area of the Gold Coast and I was really happy to be involved in that as I wrote Unknown Water on the coast, even though I recorded it in Brighton UK. It was the leading single off my debut EP and very much my first big statement as an artist.
2015 was massive for you. You released Wanderlust to positive acclaim, toured it, and signed with Phil Pickett of Rugged Management in the UK. How do you plan to top that in 2016?
2016 is proving to be a huge year already, myself and my drummer Sarah are heading to LA, Nashville, New York, Toronto, London and Brighton all to perform, network and record music. Toronto in particular will be fantastic, as we’re showcasing at Canadian Music Week (CMW). CMW is a music showcase and conference, similar to BIGSOUND in Brisbane, so we’ll be learning from and networking with industry delegates and other artists as well as performing. We’ve also got shows in London and then in Brighton to perform on an alternative lineup at The Great Escape Festival. The time spent in the USA will mostly be networking and songwriting. I’m hoping to collaborate with some local musicians in these areas to continue planting musical seeds in other countries.
Can you give us an idea of what to expect from your recent recordings in England? When will we get to hear your new stuff?
I’ve been cast as Snow White in the La Boite, Opera Queensland, Brisbane Festival collaboration. It’s a very dark, very twisted version, which is super exciting. That’s in September, so I’m planning a release for later in the year after that wraps up, followed by some more travel and touring on the back of it. That’s all a bit hush hush at the moment though!
It’s early days but what do you think about the Snow White production so far? What appeals to you about the role?
When I first met the team from La Boite, it was at an Ella Fence show, and they saw crossovers in my stage show and what they were looking for for the Snow White character. What I’m most excited about is the professional development I will achieve by taking on the role – looking at my performance and stage show holistically and working on elements of dance, theatre, voice, movement – even acrobatics and martial arts!
What do you have planned between now and September when the show starts? Where and when can your fans catch you?
I’ll be overseas until early June, so if anyone is travelling through the US, Canada or UK – hit us up! Otherwise, we’ll be back on the Gold Coast for some Ella Fence loving soon. I’ve been collaborating with some great guys in Brisbane – VRS.US and Steve Thornely, so we may have something out soon too… stay tuned! As well as preparing for the role of Snow White in the two months between when we get back and the show, I am also planning to go into songwriting hiatus. Will probably go unplugged for a while and just focus on being in a creative space.