Ella Henderson is a young pop singer/songwriter who has already had hit success in the United Kingdom and internationally during the past five years. Best known for her 2014 worldwide hit “Ghost” and her #1 U.K. album Chapter Two, Henderson has now returned with her new EP, called Glorious. In addition, she is currently featured on two singles that are moving up the U.K. charts.
Henderson became famous in 2012, when at the age of 16 she was a finalist for the hit TV series, The X Factor. This led to her recording her debut album Chapter Two (for Syco/Sony Records), that included “Ghost” and the U.K. hits “Glow” and Yours.”
After her initial success, Henderson took some time off, and eventually signed with another label, Major Tom Records (owned by hit U.K. band Rudimental, in partnership with Asylum/Atlantic Records). She has since written and recorded many new songs, including the four songs contained on her EP, Glorious. She will also be releasing new material early in 2020.
Henderson’s re-emergence with her EP coincides with her return on the charts with her appearance on two other singles. She collaborated with DJ/producer Jax Jones on the dance/pop hit “This Is Real,” which is currently Top 20 in the U.K. She is also featured on the new single “We Got Love” with DJ/producer, Sigala. Henderson co-wrote both of these songs.
Henderson is known for being a strong, soulful singer and a talented songwriter. The combination of her new U.K. hits and her excellent EP has placed her back in the pop spotlight, particularly in the U.K. Her single “This Is Real” is also rising in the U.S. on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Ella Henderson. She recalls her breakthrough on The X Factor and tells how she co-wrote her big hit, “Ghost.” She also discusses her new EP and current hits.
DK: I like your new EP, Glorious. Can you talk about the making of this EP and your new songs?
Ella Henderson: The new EP is a fresh take on my new music…it’s been awhile since I put out music. A lot of changes have happened behind the scenes with my career and personally. When I was putting the EP together, I think the idea was capturing the moment, with the songs that I wrote towards the end of writing my record. I wanted each song be very different, and I wanted it to be four songs and each one to be so individual…lyrically and sonically. And for the fans who’ve been waiting so long for my new music, to give them a taste of what’s to come next year.
Here’s a video of Ella Henderson performing her new song,
I think the whole idea of my EP Glorious, and having the first song called “Glorious”…I think where I’m at now mentally and physically, I’m in a positive and happy place. And I wanted to put that out there and let that translate to my fans as well.
DK: In 2014, you released your first album Chapter One which was very successful. But then a few years passed until you released your new EP. Can you talk about the years between your album and this EP?
Henderson: When I first signed [my label deal], I was only 16 years old. My life completely transformed when I wrote “Ghost” with (hit songwriter & artist) Ryan Tedder and it was released. Although I had belief and faith in the song, I had no anticipation it would do what it did (laughs). It literally transformed and changed my life. And when that happens and you’re young and in the midst of it all, nothing can quite prepare you for it.
I think when everything calmed down, I wanted to take some time for myself to grow as a young individual and experience real-life things and form real-life relationships, and do normal things as well. But I’m grateful for everything that’s happened, and I’m happy and proud of it. But the transition of coming back [to the music industry] was quite daunting. I’ve definitely had my highs and lows over the past few years. I think the biggest thing for me, was taking a time out in-between the transition of leaving my old record label and being unsigned for a while, before I made the decision to go into a new deal.
DK: Currently, you have two singles moving up the U.K. charts: “This Is Real” with Jax Jones and “We Got Love” with Sigala. First, how did you connect with Jax Jones and write “This Is Real” with him?
Henderson: I actually wrote that song five years ago. Jax Jones is a good friend of mine, and it’s funny how I met him. His wife is a close family friend—she used to babysit me when I was a kid…we’re from the same town. And for years, she said, “You should meet my boyfriend, he’s really good.” This was before either of us [had success]. We’d known one another from day one, and it’s nice to have a friend in the industry who you’ve seen grow and become who they are, and be there for one another.
When we wrote this song years ago, we wanted to put it out back then, but I think it was a timing thing. But we’re happy and proud to have this record out now and for people to hear it.
Here’s a video of Ella Henderson & Jax Jones performing
their hit, “This Is Real.”
DK: I also like your single “We Got Love” with Sigala. How did this song come together?
Henderson: This song happened quite recently. I’ve been a huge fan of Sigala, and I know that he’s been a fan of my voice. Originally, it was a song written by my label buddy Anne-Marie, and there’s quite a few writers on it. Then I got into the studio with Sigala and we finished parts of it and I vocaled it, and it just felt right. It’s such a happy, positive song. I think both of these dance collaborations (“We Got Love” and “This Is Real”) have come at a great time in my life musically, along with my new EP. So having these two dance records happening now is a blessing.
DK: Your biggest hit so far has been “Ghost,” which you wrote with Ryan Tedder. Can you talk about how you wrote that song?
Henderson: It was towards the end of writing for my first album. I wrote on a wish list the writers I’d love to work with, and Ryan was at the top of my list. Then my label set up a meeting when he was in the U.K. We met in the studio together, and we spent some time talking, and I told him everything that I wanted to be and didn’t want to be, what I stood for as a female artist, and how I liked the gospel and soulful elements of the music I grew up on. Then we started talking about it, and we sat at the piano and we wrote the chorus of “Ghost.” It happened very fast. And then he flew me out to his house in Denver, and we finished it there. When I got back to the U.K., we shot the video and released it, and it was crazy…it went straight to number one.
DK: During the past few years, you’ve toured with the band Rudimental, and you’ve signed with their record label. Can you talk about your relationship with Rudimental?
Henderson: Yeah, I absolutely love the boys…they’re like family to me. They’ve brought this whole element into my life, that there’s a place for me within the music industry, and I have four different, strong-minded creatives who are fully on board with my projects, which is great. They believe in me and they get me, and you can’t buy that; you can’t buy passion and belief in this industry. The boys have had my back since day one.
Here’s the lyric video of Ella Henderson & Sigala’s single,
“We Got Love.”
DK: Are you doing live shows now, and will you be touring?
Henderson: I’ve just done my first show (as a solo artist) in three years. It was amazing; quite an intimate show. The one thing that I love more than being in the studio and writing songs, is finally getting back up on stage. And it’s been such a while now, that I can’t wait to start proper touring, just being in front of people and hearing them sing my songs and let them hear my new music. So there’s definitely plans for me to tour in the beginning of the new year.