Ella Vos Shares Her Truths on ‘Words I Never Said’: PopCrush Presents
Nearly every artist notes that their latest album is their most personal work yet. Singer-songwriter Ella Vos really means it.
The eleven tracks on her debut album, Worlds I Never Said (November 17), reveals the different stages of her life. Frosted with airy pop melodies, the Los Angeles artist chooses her words wisely as she tackles intimate topics including family, motherhood and societal judgement.
Recently, we sat down with Ella to chat about how a series of singles transformed into an entire album, the difficulties of balancing life responsibilities and how important it is to keep churning out new music.
Words I Never Said is a personal one for you. How does it feel to put this one out?
It’s really exciting to put all the songs together as a whole piece. I didn’t know if that would actually ever happen because I had this plan to just keep releasing singles. And it was working so well, and I think it will keep working well. But the songs work so well together that these needed to be put together as a cohesive album...They tell a story together. It’s really exciting, and I’m happy I get to do that.
While you were releasing these singles, did you ever foresee that they could come together as one album?
I started to realize that there was a theme here. Every time I would talk about it, I would say, “Oh, this new song is very much in the same vein as the last song I just released." It’s this very personal thing. And I realized that all the songs came out in the same order that I wrote them in. So it kind of has followed a path. It just started to make more sense.
Before talking about “You Don’t Know About Me,” let’s talk about “Mother Don’t Cry.” What inspired it?
“Mother Don’t Cry” is about being torn in the middle. I want to hold on to my past life, but I want to keep moving forward. And I feel like I have one foot in the past, and I have one in the future. And I’m realizing things that used to work just don’t work anymore because I’ve changed. [I'm] struggling with that change that everyone goes through at some point in their [lives]. And for me in that moment realizing that, I was sad about it.
The inspiration for the song is I just left my friend’s birthday party, and I had a nine-month-old son. And I didn’t know how to balance all of that yet. So I brought him to the party, which I thought, “Oh, this is fine. I can merge my lives together.” And I ended up getting stuck alone in the house because everyone was outside smoking. I just couldn’t find a spot where there was no smoke, and I didn’t want him to be around smoke. And normally I would have been out there smoking, too. I was like, “My life is different now. I have to do this differently.” But I was so sad about it. When I left the party, I didn’t write a song [yet], but I journaled about it a lot about that alone feeling and just crying by myself. “Mother Don’t Cry” is me talking to myself.
Now onto “You Don’t Know About Me,” which I think lyrically resonates with so many women right now. Can you talk about how that one came about?
When I was writing “You Don’t Know About Me,” I feel like I just needed my own anthem. I hate being judged because of the way I look or the choices I’ve made. I know most people dislike that as well. Whether you’re a woman you or not, I think it’s so unfair to humanity to make those decisions about people. And I’ve always experienced it throughout my whole life.
At the time I was writing the song, it was before the election and there was just so many stories popping up around that time that just angered me. Every time I turned on a news story and reading about Trump’s really awful comments about these judges who say terrible things to rape victims. And people pushing their pro-life agenda and saying, “I don’t know anything about women, but I’m going to do this and that.” It all just kind of came to a point where I had to say something about this, even if it’s just for myself.
And it ended up being a theme throughout a lot of songs where there are certain things that I have struggled with because I am a woman, because I became a mother, because I’m a female in a male-dominated industry. And it’s something you can’t ignore. It’s not always easy to talk about, but I always feel like, “Well, why can’t we talk about it?” I know nothing is going to change if we don’t. It’s not a conscious goal of mine, but I feel it in every song that I write. And I just hope people talk about this and it opens up and starts a conversation.
Because we’re known to wear all these hats and take on different roles, women are always asked, “How do you balance it all?” But how do you feel about that question and do you think it’s still relevant today?
I was just talking about because it’s still something we talk about with “the balance.” I mean, I get it. I guess it’s something we’re all still trying to figure out, but I really hope it becomes less and less relevant. It doesn’t matter because it’s not out of the ordinary. And I’ve had a lot of friends who’ve said, “Well, I don’t know if I’ll have kids because of what I do.” And I’m like, “Well, why should that matter?” You should be able to have kids if you want. Why can’t you find someone to have that life with? Why can’t you do it by yourself anyway, if you want to? Why does it matter? I don’t think it looks one way.
I think there’s a balance, as you take care of more people in your life, whether [it’s] a kid or a family member or your partner, there’s always going to be a balance to how much you’re going to give emotionally to your career and to your family life. But I don’t know if it’s something that stops us from doing anything. There needs to be a focal point. I don’t think it’s that different for anyone else.
Agreed. As a mother, do you feel that since you’ve had your son, your songwriting has changed?
Oh, yeah. It was hard for me to feel like I was writing any honest music before I had him because I just didn’t put all myself into it before. And I think what’s changed is that I care so much more about his future and what it will look like that it makes me feel like whatever I’m writing should be more important. I think it makes me hope more that it’s not just a selfish thing for me. I just want to write about what I feel and make sure it’s actually affecting people.
Talk about your most memorable song that hasn’t been released as a single yet.
Well, there’s song that’s not [a single yet] called “I Know You Care," and it was really hard to write. I guess I can say that about every song. But this one was especially hard to write because when I was writing it, I was thinking about my relationship with my dad. It’s always been incredible and amazing, and he’s always been a huge inspiration in my life. And we’re close, but we’re close in a different way where it’s like we just don’t talk that much. I see him a lot, but we just don’t share that many words. So I realized, becoming a mother, how much I need to remind myself to say out loud, “I love you. I care about you.” And it doesn’t come naturally to me because I don’t think it comes naturally for my dad to say those things. And in that song, I’m basically discovering that, “Hey! You should say you care because I do. I know that you do, and you should say it more. And I will do the same.”
So what’s next for you?
I don’t want to slow down on releasing music. I think the most exciting part of it is putting more and more music out there. So I want to keep releasing new music [at] the beginning of next year. And then I’m doing a headlining tour at the end of February that will be around the theme of the album. And then the rest of this year is just planning more creative album release events.
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