Groove Mag interview up and coming country duo Jack + Ella

Jack + Ella are a country duo based in London, UK.  Their music is rooted in country, with infectious and catchy pop rock hooks.

Their influences include artists like Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, John Mayer, Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line and Taylor Swift.

Both Jack and Ella are rock guitarists at heart and love to integrate the sound of rock n roll and male-female vocal harmonies in their country songs.

Jack + Ella met when they were 16 at a young talent competition that their dads had taken them to. Years later, in May 2016, they re-connected after recognising their musical and personality similarities over social media!

They realised very quickly that their writing and playing styles complimented each other too well for them to keep pursuing their own music without each other – and so their official partnership was formed!

The duo are gearing up to release their debut single ‘Hometown’ on 3 April 2017, with an EP entitled ‘Ready’ to follow two weeks after on 17 April 2017. They will then be playing shows across the UK for the rest of the year as well as starting work towards their first studio album.

INTERVIEW – Jack + Ella talked to Groove Music Magazine

How would you describe your music ?

Ella: I’d say we’re a fun mix blurring the lines between country and pop/rock.  We’re both heavily into modern country music; my Spotify is constantly playing Keith Urban!  But we both grew up playing in rock bands and love playing guitar solos and riffs!  We both love strong melodies and hooks and hopefully this shows in our writing…

Jack: We also integrate components of other electronic music – not heavily, but enough to put a noticeable spin away from conventional country music! One example would be electronic drums, synths and they often make a good shell for a verse before a big pop-rock chorus.

What is your new single about and where did the inspiration come from ?

Jack: Hometown is one of those songs that I think bridges two ways of life and captures the duality of the adventures of the outside world whilst also emphasizing a love for ‘home’ and where you come from. For me, one thing I’ve always loved about country music is the songs about roots, small town life, regular people, and non-glamorous stories. But at the same time we also live in the 21st century where more and more people, ourselves included, are exposed to the outside world, multi-culturalism and (if you’re lucky enough) the ability to travel.  Essentially when writing this song, we wanted to capture a picture where the romanticism of meeting ‘the one’ and settling down with them meets the fun, buzz and experience of a slightly more crazy fast-paced life. And I like the juxtaposition in the lyrics.

Ella: Yeah, and even if you just break it down to simple levels, it’s quite universal.  Hometown is basically a love song. You can be anywhere in the world but if a place and/or a person have your heart, that’s what matters really.

How does music affect your moods ?

Ella: That’s such an interesting question.  I’d say music affects my overall mood and helps me deal with how I’m feeling – if I’m in a total upbeat loving life mood, then there’s nothing better than driving with feel good tunes blaring out the window.   I’d say emotional ballads affect me the most though, someone’s voice can just get right to me and I feel everything they’re singing.

Jack: I agree with Ella. On a summer’s day, listening to a song like Cruise (Florida Georgia Line) or Wasted Time (Keith Urban) can make you feel such inexpressible joy. But I can sing along to a song like “I Drive Your Truck” or this Tim McGraw song called “The Book of John” and just start tearing up because of my own life experiences and how they relate to the song. But you just embrace, not avoid, that kind of emtion… and keep singing.

Music is definitely a big way of how people connect with each other now. It’s pretty cool that people all over the world can bond over something you’ve written and put out there.

Why did you decide to play the genre of music you perform ?

Jack: I don’t think either of us consciously decided to let country music steal our hearts. It just happened. I’ve always loved melodic music with good harmonies, compelling stories, emotion and an element of punch and rock – but not ‘rock’ to the point it’s abrasive. But I wasn’t brought up in the USA so I wasn’t really exposed to country.

I do always remember though when I’d hear a country song (like some of McGraw and Strait’s old stuff) I would be like “wow that’s a great song” but I never got around to looking up the artist or investigating more. Like I remember watching the movie “Letters to Juliet” and Taylor’s “Love Story” was in the soundtrack and I remember thinking how beautiful it was.

Then back in 2014 – I remember this vividly – I was on holiday enjoying the beautiful sun and sea, and somehow came across “Chillin’ It” by Cole Swindell – who at the time was a relatively new artist… I fell in love with the song, and you know how YouTube directs you to similar songs after one has played. Well in succession I got directed to about ten different songs and each time I thought to myself “this is my music! I love this! How have I not been listening to this my whole life? This is the exact sound I’m after.”

Flash forward… here we are!

Ella: Jack’s summed it up perfectly! I’ve always written songs from a young age and they’ve always been country, without me even realising it.  It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I found people like Keith Urban and suddenly it just all clicked, this is what I loved !

What songs in today’s charts do you like ? 

Jack: UK charts, I’d have to go with Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill. I think Sheeran is an amazing artist and this may even be my favourite song of his, maybe because of the country vibe it has.

In the US country charts right now it’d be “May We All” by Florida Georgia Line. That’s actually one of the songs we cover and I don’t think it’ll leave our setlist even when the song isn’t ‘contemporary’ anymore. We love it.

Ella: I have to agree, Castle on the Hill is an absolute tune.  I’m loving The Vamps new stuff and Shawn Mendes.  It also has to be said that I can be a Belieber!

 GM: Thanks guys and good luck with your new release we predict big things to come. 

CHECK OUT JACK + ELLA ON THE WWW

Jack + Ella online at http://www.jackandellamusic.com

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