Recently at the launch of the new home of White Label Noba I met the vivacious and effervescent singer/ songwriter Ellen Reed. You might remember Ellen as a finalist on The Voice where her amazing voice and strong work ethic propelled her to the finals. She was on Jessie J’s team. This year has been a tough one for all artists so She Society were compelled to find out more about Ellen and her life, music and hopes for the future.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Ellen Reed and I am a singer/songwriter from Brisbane. I have been working as a professional singer for the last five years but unfortunately due to COVID my entire industry disappeared overnight. I am so excited that gigging and live music has slowly been coming back but the break has meant that I have had to go get a full time job to help pay my bills.
Away from my professional life, I am a big sister to two amazing women and a proud Aunty to two nieces and a nephew (who I try and spend every spare second I have with, because they have stolen my whole heart!).
Have you always been interested in music?
Yes! From as early as I can remember, I was always singing and performing. My mum was really the one that got me into singing and music though. She had always worked shift work and didn’t want that for us, so I was taught piano with the hopes that one day when I had children of my own, I could teach at home.
I had 6 weeks of piano lessons when I was 6 yrs old and my piano teacher came to the door with me and asked Mum if she could teach me singing instead as I had a nice natural voice. I began singing lessons the week after and I haven’t stopped.
From then on, I was putting on performances for my family all the time and I fell in love with singing when I saw how it could make people feel.
What prompted you to audition for The Voice?
I was having no luck gaining the attention of record labels and so I thought I’d try my hand at the show. I had no idea when I started that I would be successful on the show and make it to the Grand Final and I also had no idea that it would be some of the best and hardest times of my life. Filming was on and off for 12 months and it was a massive rollercoaster full of some of the best and worst times of my life.
Do you have some favourite memories you can share from your time on the show?
Some of my favourite memories were the moments between shows with my family and friends who had made the trek to Sydney for filming to support me. It was the late night phone chats with my Mum about what I should wear to a photoshoot or which song to fight for. It was the opportunity to sing every week to a national audience on TV; nothing can prepare you for those moments.
Returning to The Voice as an all star was more painful. Can you tell us about that time? Your fans were so supportive….. but I’m sure your confidence was rattled by the experience.
The second time on the show was painful; it was a toxic experience from start to finish and an absolute exercise in following your gut instincts. I was emotionally manipulated the whole time. I still hadn’t scored that elusive record deal so I had put my heart on the line and if I knew then what I found out after the audition, I never would have gone back.
What have you been up to since people saw you on the show?
I have been working professionally as a singer for years and have been gigging at some incredible events since my time on the show including opening for Sporty Spice at this years Big Gay Day, performing at the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols every year and headlining- Yes!Fest in Canberra.
I have also released a bunch of music which means a lot to me and I am excited that it has been so embraced by my fans too.
You have a new single out. It’s terrific. Can you tell us what’s it about?
Thank you so much! My latest single Lycra has been a long time coming. My looks/weight have always been an issue in this industry and I have always been so frustrated by the accusation that I am unable to be “marketed” because of it.
I wrote this song out of defiance.
Your latest single is about embracing yourself as you are.. You are a champion of body positivity. What does this mean to you?
Body positivity is more than just being okay with yourself, it’s actively choosing your inner cheerleader and shutting up your inner mean girl at every turn. I actively have to choose my inner cheerleader every day. I choose to shut down the negative thoughts and focus on all the wonderful things about myself.
I’m tired of feeling bad about myself and for apologising for taking up space. I try not to do that anymore.
What other causes are you interested in?
I actively participate in the Children’s Hospital Telethon Appeal every year and perform at as many of their gigs as they’ll have me at through out the year.
I also love the Wesley Mission Red Bag Appeal – it was a cause my Pop supported and I know how tough Christmas can be …. so I love supporting these guys where I can too.
Do you have a quote to live by?
I have a couple that have always really stuck with me:
- The difference between a weed and a flower is a judgement
- Treat everyone with kindness because you never know the battles people are fighting
Whose music do you listen to when you are not singing?
I definitely tend to listen to Podcasts when I’m not singing, because sometimes it’s just overwhelming to listen to more music… However, if I’m in the car I will often pop on some Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Bon Jovi, or a cool 90’s playlist and just belt out some bangas with my boyfriend.
COVID has been tough on all artists. How have you been occupying yourself?
2020 has been an incredibly hard year. I have tried to be as gentle and loving to myself as possible. To keep busy I was learning how to produce my own music and learnt how to play guitar. However, when I need to nap in the middle of the day for a break or binge watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I would also do that.
I’ve been trying to learn balance.
What’s next for Ellen Reed?
2021 is going to be a MASSIVE year for me. I am writing all the time and I will be releasing a bunch of new music in quick succession and I have some massive gigs locked in! So fingers crossed, Covid stays away – for many reasons, but for our sake too.
Is there somewhere you are looking forward to travelling to once the borders are open?
I can’t wait to visit my best friend in Melbourne. This is the longest we have gone without seeing each other since he moved to Melbourne 7 years ago and we’re both missing each other desperately!
What are your three favourite things about living in Brisbane?
- My family
- My gorgeous friends
- The unbelievable opportunities this city has to offer.
SheSociety have been playing Lycra on repeat, with it’s nod to the 80’s and big pop beats you will want to dance. This song is an anthem for anyone who has doubted themselves and felt that their age, size, colour, sexuality or gender has been holding them back. We will be looking out for Ellen on stage here in Queensland and around Australia as the borders open and our arts sector hums back to life. Watch out for some great things to come from this home grown talent, whose tenacity, talent and positive take on life will propel her to the top of the charts. You can find Ellen on Spotify, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).