February 13, 2014
By Maleena Lawrence
LAWT Contributing Writer
Standing at the forefront of her destiny the 2014 NAACP Image Awards Nominee, Lady Ele has been considered to gain a major win in the category for Outstanding World Music Album. Her album entitled, “Coming From A Lady” has given the World Music scene a soulful dose of R&B with a traditional taste of class. During this interview with The Los Angeles Sentinel, Lady Ele, an unsigned independent artist, recalls a time when the possibilities of having an opportunity to pursue her goals as a singer were far and few. Against the odds, she worked hard, focused and dreamed constantly both as a child and as an adult to be the best at what she loved and at an art that could help heal others, singing and writing music. Read for yourself and see how the power of music makes a large world seem so very small.
Maleena Lawrence (LAWT): Lady Ele, what does this NAACP Image Award nomination say about your personal growth as an artist?
Lady Ele: I am extremely honored and flattered. This is a dream come true. The first time I attended the NAACP Image Award’s show was probably five years ago. I remember sitting in the top floor section watching the show with some friends of mine and they were also brown girls from Sweden. We decided to come out here to America to study and pursue our dreams. We said, in five or six years, however long it will take we want to be more than just an attendee. I wasn’t honestly aiming to be nominated myself. My friends and I were thinking of being the girls who could hand off the trophy, showoff the artist on stage or sing background for artists that I am in contact with. The fact that I am nominated this year is an absolute honor.
LAWT: What does the NAACP Image Awards signify to you?
LE: What the NAACP stands for to me is what we are missing in Europe. For example, growing up over there it was always just one brown girl in the modeling agency or one brown girl who gets to sing, basically no chance cause the diversity was non existent. So, having an organization like the NAACP who uplifts and highlights the people of color who are extremely talented but do not always get the recognition is important. Regardless, if I win or not, I just want to continue to stay in the mix. I also became a member.
LAWT: You mentioned being in the background, How does it feel to make the transition from singing back-up to being at the center of the stage?
LE: Wow, you know it’s amazing. It’s what I always aspired to do. I sang back up for Sleepy Brown. It is a little more safe their because you are not the ultimate person responsible for the feedback from the audience or the actual success of the show. Now it’s a lot more work but I am truly happy that now I am doing my solo career. This nomination signifies that my music is of quality. Some music people said weeks ago, “your music has a verse, a pre hook and hook then a bridge---and it modulates then a hook again”. It tells me that I am on the right track.
LAWT: Both your debut album, “She, Her, Ele” and current album “Coming From A Lady” expresses consistent tones of femininity, Is there a certain message you want to convey to women in your music?
LE: I think that it is up to each of us to express how we feel. I also think that a lot of times women are portrayed as overexposed, super sexual and more promiscuous than gracious. I don’t think that is who they are but it is based on how the world or the media portrays women in such a way. “Coming from A Lady” is a title I chose because I feel like what I am saying in each song is coming from a lady not a girl who is clueless. It’s not coming from a person who is trying to figure it out. It’s coming from a person who is fairly seasoned and poised enough in my life, love and music experiences. I’ve grown into knowing that I am a lady not a girl and that’s why I chose the title. I wish more artists would be who they are and not who they think they need to be.
LAWT: Tell us why you selected, You Know You Wish to be your title track?
LE: My current track, You Know You Wish is currently played on KJLH, World Music show with Hugh Fuller on Saturday’s. I wrote this track from experience or based on women I know who have and take good care of their man. We have so many roles to play. What I am saying in the song is to keep your man happy. When a woman knows her role and the man knows his and they establish an agreement to love each other early in the best way makes a happy relationship. But, sometimes having a good man can cause a little jealousy or envy amongst other women. (Laughs) So that is why I wrote this song. Some men are simple and some are very needy. Everybody needs to find his or her own thing.
LAWT: You seem so full of perseverance, love and grounded, what or who keeps you inspired as an artist?
LEA: Oh my God, so many inspire me. Stevie Wonder has always been my shining star and I followed him from an early age. Unfortunately, I grew up in a house where my mom was physically abused by my step-dad. It was hard watching and processing that as a kid. Music strengthened me and got me through it. Music inspired me. Music helped me talk sense into my mom to leave him. It was a song by Stevie Wonder and Babyface called, How Come How Long. A string of Swedish artist, African artists, American artist inspire me and have been on my radar. I am so grateful to be in this country. Music is flourishing. I will say I am lucky and this is showing me that my work is worth it.
LAWT: Lastly, Lady Ele, What is World Music?
LE: What is it today? World Music has that frequency and a message that can reach across. For the people nominated in my category it is a true honor they are all great. World Music is an ongoing love thing.
To learn more about Lady Ele and hear her music go to: www.musicbyele.com.
Facebook: eleonore.hansson | Flickr: musicbyele | Youtube: elesongslive.