Ella Collier is a true virtuoso in the realm of music. Hailing from Atlanta and now making her home in Los Angeles, she is a multi-talented artist who writes, performs, and records her music. Her musical style is an intricate blend of pop, trap, EDM, and hyperpop, resulting in a sound that is both captivating and unique. Through her music, Ella explores the complex emotions of love and loss with a level of vulnerability that is truly remarkable. At the tender age of 14, Ella experienced a life-altering event that solidified her passion for music and set her on a path toward greatness. She has been performing since childhood and has had the privilege of being mentored by some of the most accomplished professionals in the industry.
For Ella, the release of her sophomore EP, “Second Arrow”, coincides with a rebirth of sorts for her on both a personal and an artistic level. Every song in this album was written within the first year of her sobriety, and thus you can expect a mixture of spiritual clarity inherent in the sound, and an undoubtedly brave emotional energy in the lyrics.
“I started my new music sober and I finally got to get brutally honest about my thought process and experience with not only sobriety, but with the music industry, my personal relationships, and my view of the world.” – Ella
Ella and Sam Vendig’s collaboration in the pop genre creates a nostalgic yet fresh world. Their EP “Second Arrow” explores overthinking and self-inflicted suffering. The songs reflect Ella’s self-destructive thought processes, championing honesty and empowerment while acknowledging the irony behind the facade.
Each track is styled after a step of Ella’s recovery and self-recognition, or at least a fresh, empowering perspective gained through sobriety -not just from intoxicants, but from some of society’s impositions. The songs go as follows:
“UPGRADE” is the first track on this marvelous EP, and it is perhaps the most “socially-conscious” one along with “LIKE A LADY,” but although that track was specifically tailored to womanly affairs, “UPGRADE” is much more a universal power-anthem railing against, among other things, senseless consumerism and society-wide lie that curtail our individual growth and collective well-being, with Ella saying: What if instead of upgrading our phones, apps, social/job/relationship statuses, we upgraded ourselves spiritually and emotionally? Would we finally be happy then?”
“MY BAD” has a playful vibe to it, and the title is kind of cheeky as well, but it suits another very important lesson in recovery and growth, which is to learn how to own up to your failures and achievements, and to admit that ultimately, even if you were hurt or judged, it’s all up to you because you’re the one who will reap the benefits or bear the consequences of how you live your life.
“LIKE A LADY” is the thematic follow-up to Ella’s promise to deliver sobering new perspectives free from impositions, this time to society’s narrow expectations of lady-like behavior and how it affects a woman’s self-image and relations with the world around her.
The way for Ella to achieve the previously mentioned is first by subverting expectations you didn’t even know they had. I never expected to get kind of spooked while listening to this EP, but the first twenty-something seconds of this song are downright experimental and feel like they were pulled from a supernatural thriller, only for it to then open up to a smooth, and bass-heavy display of masterful production that knows how to titillate and empower.
“I THINK I MIGHT” is where Ella explores her R&B potency to a greater extent than in the glimpses offered by previous tracks, to the point where it’s R&B-trap alone that drives this song.
Lyrically, “I THINK I MIGHT” is kind of a quintessential heartbreak tune, a righteous face-heel turn moment where Collier openly flirts with the idea of sentimental revenge; a moment to indulge in dramatism and intensity.
“SECOND ARROW” being the titular track is in many ways an encapsulation of every theme in the EP or at least a summation of the pathos behind the whole work. The song begins with a leery guitar that reminded me a lot of the emotional intimacy of Elliott Smith’s music, that sort of sonic claustrophobia that tugs at your heart and pulls it into the colourful turmoil at the author’s soul.
According to a Buddhist principle, when we experience a painful event, it’s like being struck by an arrow. The first arrow represents the pain of the event itself, while the second arrow represents our emotional reaction to it. It’s the second arrow that causes the most suffering, as we often stay stuck on this and start building up our resentment towards the event in our head, almost as if we were fiddling and pushing that second arrow deeper into ourselves.
“HOLD PLEASE” eases you in with its melancholic yet alluring piano before flourishing into a lush pop-trap cocktail of groove and emotional complexity. Through this song, Ella reveals a central theme and a very important lesson on dedication and bravery in the face of adversity and the will to change yourself for the better.
Overall, “Second Arrow” is a beautiful, empowering work that showcases Ella’s immense talent and bravery. It’s a work of love that exemplifies the best of wisdom earned through trial and error, the power of hindsight, and the ability to confront yourself.