Soul singer Ella Eyre already successful at 20 

click to enlarge Ella Eyre
  • Courtesy Photo
  • British R&B singer-songwriter Ella Eyre is making waves with the single “If I Go.”
Maltese-Jamaican-descended Brit Ella Eyre just turned 20, but her rise to stardom has been meteoric. In her late teens, she attended the prestigious BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology, inked a song publishing deal with Warner/Chappell, then a recording contract with Virgin, and added her soulful voice to tracks from Bastille, Tinie Tempah, Naughty Boys and “Waiting All Night” by Rudimental, with whom she toured. She just issued her debut EP “Deeper” and an irresistible flagship single “If I Go,” with a full-length album slated for October. She already has birthday plans for April 1, 2015. She says, “I’m going to Las Vegas or someplace crazy like that, because at 21, I’ll be over the hill!”

Before all this pop-star stuff, were you a competitive swimmer? When I was a child in Jamaica with my mom and dad, I used to love getting into the water — the sea. And my mom was a bit worried about me getting carried away, so she took me to a pool for lessons, and it turned out that I was quite competitive. Swimming taught me a lot about sportsmanship and being on a team, and it’s certainly served me very well now in the music business.

You were on a swim team? I was part of my local team, Acton, and then I went to a boarding school which specialized in sports, and a lot of English Olympians came out of there. And I learned that if I wanted to be an Olympian swimmer, I really had to up my game. But I ended up quitting because of medical issues — my ears are really sensitive, and I get ear infections when I go in the water. I get ear infections when I fly, as well. It was a shame, really.

Then you simply switched majors, from swimming to drama? I didn’t really discover singing at school until I was cast as Tallulah in “Bugsy Malone.” I’d always enjoyed being in the choir, but I never took it seriously until then — I absolutely loved performing. So I went from swimming to doing musical theater, and that’s how I ended up at the BRIT School, where I came out a musician.

Do you really have such bad luck in romance as your songs indicate? Ha! Yes! I’m not a teenager anymore. But as a teenager, it’s difficult when you’re in a relationship, and you start to consider it the one relationship for the rest of your life. That thought scares the s--- out of me, because I don’t want to be with that person for the rest of my life. So I write about it instead.


Ella Eyre, with Samsaya

Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.

When: 8:30 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $13 to $15 (sold out)

Contact: (415) 861-2011,

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Tom Lanham

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