Elle Watson might not be a name you’re familiar with just yet, but she’s looking like a big name to watch out for in 2018. Signed at only 15, she released her first EP, Phantom, last year before dropping the understatedly grand ‘Glued’ last month, produced by Clams Casino with a gorgeous video to match.
The visuals, directed by Haris Nukem, see Elle lying amongst a sea of moving almost nude bodies, of various ages and ethnicities, different but at once all the same. Slow camera pans, and close-ups of liquid trickling across dewy skin add to the heavy and gloopy pace of the song, lackadaisical and sensual, Elle’s graceful voice carrying the pace.
Having been tutored by Paul Epworth since a teenager, known for his work with Adele and Rihanna, she’s also signed to his Wolf Tone label alongside the likes of Glass Animals and The Horrors.
We took five to learn about the promising artist, to find out more about the video for ‘Glued’, working with Clams Casino and when she’s dropping more hits.
Notion: For those that are just discovering you, how would you describe your sound?
Elle Watson: I suppose I would describe it to have a dark, electronic landscape with RnB inspired melodies on the top. Someone once dubbed it as ‘Noir & B’, and I’ve always quite liked that.
Congratulations on the ‘Glued’ video – could you tell us about the idea behind the visuals? How did you cast the 55 people that featured in the video and what was the message you wanted to convey?
The song itself represents the inner dialogue you go through as you start to feel pressure from somebody, so the sea of bodies is a physical representation of that. When I discussed the concept with the team, we collectively envisaged a ‘moving renaissance painting’. The casting was a surprisingly easy process. We reached out to everyone we knew and ran the idea by them. Despite there being no payment everyone was keen to get involved and were kind enough to give up their weekend to shoot it. It became a real passion project. The whole cast was amazing, and it wouldn’t have happened without them allowing us to capture their own vulnerabilities.
You worked with the amazing Clams Casino on this track – what drew you to this producer? He’s most well known for his work with rap artists.
I’m a huge hip hop fan, so I was familiar with his work with A$AP. However what made me fall in love with him was the Mikky Ekko track ‘Pull Me Down’. The track had this beautiful balance between a crunchy, filtered bottom half with a hypnotic and fragile high end which complemented Mikky’s vocal perfectly. He captured the poignancy of the song whilst still pushing productional boundaries. From then on I was hooked, and it became an absolute dream of mine to work with him.
It’s been a year since you released Phantom, how has your sound and your songwriting developed?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some awesome people who have improved my confidence in writing at higher tempos. I’ve also learnt not to criticise my ideas too early on in the creative process before they even have time to grow.
What has been informing the lyrics of this new work?
It’s definitely a mixture. I try to write about as many different subjects matters as I can, I’m fearful of being monotonous. Most recently its anything from social media pressures to a heartbreaking conversation with my mum.
Are you able to divulge anything about forthcoming music? Will there be an EP or an album on the way?
The aim is for a single release in the next couple of months, leading towards an EP in the spring of next year. It’s going to be a diverse body of music.
You were signed at 15, so you must have learned a lot in the last four years. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve taken away at this point?
I’m incredibly critical of myself, I always have been from a young age. I’m also extremely stubborn. Learning to let go of those things has been the most valuable lesson for me. It’s important to care deeply about your craft and to strive for perfection. However, when your mind is too focused on the end goal, it’s easy to miss some of the magic in between. I still fight my corner, and I certainly fight myself, but I’m reminded that letting people in can help to shine a light on things I couldn’t see from the inside-out.
Elle Watson plays the Camden Assembly on Jan 31.
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