It’s a chilly October evening in Manchester and there’s a huge tour bus outside the Ritz ready to take Ella Eyre around the UK in luxury. It looks very fancy from the outside anyway; I haven’t yet been invited to hang out. Eyre is able to tour in style now, selling out the Ritz and other majors venues on this tour after only being in the mainstream music business for just over a year – impressive to say the least. As we walk in there’s a large queue of people waiting to meet Ella at the merch table, I like her already. I really appreciate an artist who is willing to meet their fans in a relaxed environment. I’ve also never seen a more chaotic merch table; Eyre sells basically everything from your standard t-shirts and hoodies to key rings and onesies with her name and logo plastered all over them.
Ella had two support acts tonight, Joel Baker and Kimberly Anne. Both artists are similar to her with unique voices and styles, although neither blew me away. Miss Eyre comes onstage to ‘Red Alert’ by Basement Jaxx – probably one of the best “walk on” songs I can imagine. It blasts out of the immense speakers getting the crowd properly pumped for the start of the show. She leaps onto the stage wearing a stunning black jumpsuit and feather jacket, grabbing the audience’s attention immediately, simply with her sheer ferocious energy. Eyre runs from side to side of the stage, only stopping to jump up and down or spin round and round. It’s clear she picked up some tips from best friends and long-time touring buddies Rudimental. Her vitality is breath-taking and the fact that her vocals aren’t compromised by her movements makes it even more incredible. I remember when girl bands on Pop Idol couldn’t do simple dance moves and sing; Eyre shows them how it’s done.
I was quite sceptical about seeing Ella Eyre live, I knew she had a “good voice” but was it going to be there in a live performance? Truly it was 10 times better than I imagined. I pictured Ella Eyre just as a girl with a decent voice from the BRITs School who’s doing pretty well after being featured on Rudimental’s track. However, Eyre is an artist who knows what she’s about and has something to stand for. The honesty of the lyrics in her songs is genuinely awe-inspiring for an artist who is popular in the mainstream music world. ‘About You’ speaks of an unequal relationship (“From the start you never gave a shit about me”) and she follows this with a beautiful cover of Jermaine Stewart’s ‘We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off’. It’s just refreshing for a popular female artist to not sing all about men or objectify herself in any way; she wants the world to know she’s “not a piece of meat”.
Eyre finishes her set and I’ve rarely heard a crowd who are so buzzing after a gig. They stamped their feet and cheered “Ella! Ella! Ella!” until she returned for an encore. Eyre asks the crowd, “Do you want one more?!” which the screams confirm – “Well I’ll give you two!” – for such a young artist Eyre’s stage presence is outstanding. There is excitement and joy in her eyes as well as the crowd’s as she enjoys every second on stage. There is no doubt that Eyre is going to go far in the music industry, she has the lungs of a lion and the determination to get what she wants.