I had the pleasure of working with Emma’s student Ella at our May Pre-Recital Masterclass. We were all blown away by her unique style and stunning voice, which one student described as “mesmerizing.” Along with singing, Ella can accompany herself on piano and ukulele and even takes classes in aerial silks. While she’s newer at performing in front of an audience, she’s maintained a phenomenal YouTube channel and an Instagram music account. Be sure to follow her at @ellahayesmusic! In the mean time, enjoy her video from our latest recital.
MM: What are some of your favorite hobbies, outside of music? Favorite school subjects, books, movies, shows, sports?
EH: I have been enjoying my classes in aerial silks this year. I also really love roller skating and going to Knott’s Berry Farm with my friends. My current tv show obsession is “Gotham.”
MM: How did you get started with music, and how long have you been singing?
EH: Like many others, I can’t remember how and when I started loving music. But my dad had a big influence on how my taste has developed. He introduced me to my early favorites, Adele and Evanescence, but also standards from the 1950s and New Wave, Punk, and Rap from the 1980s.
MM: What have been some of your favorite performances, and why? How do you share your music with others, beyond recitals?
EH: The recent recital with this studio was pretty much my first public performance. I struggled to perform in front of anyone for a long time, and I get super nervous even now. I did much better recording myself for YouTube uploads for a few years, and now have an Instagram account where I can share more often through posts and stories.
MM: What makes you keep up your practice, and what are your goals?
EH: My desire to improve my technique and style keeps me focused on practicing everyday. I really want to be a better stage performer.
MM: Who are a few bands/artists that have inspired you, and why?
EH: Like I mentioned earlier, Adele and Evanescence were meaningful inspirations early on. These days I tend to like anything by the two Jameses: James Arthur and James Young.
MM: What are some of your favorite songs, and why?
EH: My current favorite is called “One Last Dance” by Us the Duo. The story is so eternal and the words are so sweet. But my all-time favorite song is “Hello” by Evanescence for the intense and beautiful melancholy it expresses.
MM: Can you share about a technique, skill, or song you struggled with, and how you are overcoming or have overcome it?
EH: Allergies are the worst! Singing with a compromised respiratory system is very challenging, but I try and drink lots of water and use my emergency inhaler when necessary. I’ve also had to adjust to how my vocal range changed when I was going through puberty, which was hard. It helps to know that these challenges are just how life is sometimes 🙂
MM: I noticed on your Instagram that you accompany yourself both on ukulele and piano. Is that self-taught, or do you take lessons? Any other instruments?
EH: I had a piano teacher when I was very young, but didn’t like the slow pace and strict structure and quit after two years. I continued learning on my own, mostly by writing songs and playing on a digital keyboard. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, my parents gave me a ukulele for Christmas and I taught myself to play it. They signed me up for some lessons, which I did for about a year until I switched over to voice and piano with your studio. I’m interested in learning to play the guitar.
MM: What advice do you wish you had at the beginning? What advice would you give to other students just starting out?
EH: My best advice is that if it hurts to sing it, don’t push it; try to raise/lower the key. It’s not worth damaging your cords (and it probably doesn’t sound great anyway).