My music playlist at the moment consists of a lot of beautiful folksy-type singers: Katie Noonan, Clare Bowditch, Thelma Plum, Gabrielle Aplin… I really appreciate the way all of these ladies combine thoughtful, bittersweet lyrics with simple melodies and their completely unique voices. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing an old school choir buddy of mine, Elli Cleary, take her own unique voice more public. Under the name Elli Belle, she posts her videos on her Youtube channel and Facebook page, where she also puts up other little updates for friends and fans, all the way from her tropical paradise in Darwin.
Elli has covered artists as diverse as Fever Ray, Beyonce, The Lumineers, and I distinctly remember her doing impressive renditions of jazz classics in our school days. However, it’s her original, ‘He Said’ that really stands out to me. It’s where she seems most comfortable; sharing from her heart a story of (in her own words) “how falling in love with someone makes you see things in your life that have always been there but that you never noticed”. This song, and indeed Elli’s style more generally, has all the features I mentioned appreciating above and this song is such a perfect expression of the “sweet sadness” (again, Elli’s own words) behind it. Her voice has certainly matured since our choir days but she’s kept that sweet fragility I remember 15-year old me could only ever wish of having. Funnily enough, she lists many of the artists I mentioned at the start of this post as her influences, and it shows.
Unlike so many artists who post their stuff on Youtube, Elli doesn’t over-polish her videos. She’s not manufactured. The fragility in her voice isn’t a put-on, cutesy, token gesture. Perhaps that’s the thing I appreciate most about the ladies I listen to: like Elli, they put themselves out there unapologetically but also humbly.
Follow the links throughout this post to see and hear more of Elli Belle, and don’t forget to hit ‘like’ on her Facebook page or subscribe to her Youtube channel while you’re there.