Eleanor Nelly has been a woman to watch on stage for an awful long time, anybody who has the slightest idea of what makes somebody so eminent, so very cool as a performer will understandably nod their head in satisfaction and admiration when the young lady’s name comes up in conversation. To be held in such high esteem in Liverpool, the city in which she comes from and by people that have the pleasure, the honour of writing about and performing music in the city day in day out, it comes as no surprise that the talent, the sheer and exhausting hard work has paid off for Eleanor as she takes the next step in being signed to a major label, Decca.
Some 88 years after the formation of the label by Edward Lewis, the ethos of its company lives on in this news, and whilst the company made some notable mistakes in not taking on board some groups, The Beatles will always spring to mind, in Eleanor Nelly they, everybody will agree, will have the privilege in nurturing one of the most remarkable voices around today.
It is not every day that something like this comes along, so much talent resides in Liverpool alone, so much unsigned flair and musical prowess remains untouched but for a while it is heartening to see someone such as Ms. Nelly come through and break down walls. Having been able to see this talent for myself come along, having had the honour of seeing her grow in humour and musicianship since she was a young teenager, regardless of where and when she has performed, it was with great delight and satisfaction to talk to her first in what was going to be a very busy period for her.
Huge, huge congratulations – the news that broke last night about you signing a record deal with Decca is astounding and brilliant, how do you feel?
EN: “I really don’t know, it’s not set in yet, I feel as if I’m in some sort of dream, everything’s blurred going on around me. I’m just like in a trance.”
To a lot of people who have watched you over the past four or five years have know that this day would come and many of them have actually told you this. It’s heartening for your fans to know to know that they were right, if that makes any sense to you?
EN: “Yes, of course, I don’t think that I ever saw it coming though, not ever, it was always just the aim to sing and I always said that as long as I was singing it doesn’t matter where I end up – just playing a gig on Mathew Street like every night and doing music all the time and if it results in a record deal then that’s just better, it was never an aim it was only just to do music. It’s happened and it’s amazing, I never expected anything to come of it, with something you love you don’t expect it to take off. It’s a dream come true to work doing something you love.”
Decca is such a big name as well that has signed you as well, it’s massive. This is one of the biggest names in recording music isn’t it?
EN: “They have just been nominated as the best record label as well and the best A and R Department. It’s surreal just being a part of a label that has such status in the industry at the moment.”
You’re joining a huge amount of luminaries, acts that have been through that stable who have like you have come out of seemingly nowhere but have gone onto to be so big, that must make you feel very proud?
EN: “I know what you mean, there’s Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Andy Brown and The Shires, it’s crazy because I grew up with a lot of these and the stuff I’m listening to now and I’m inspired by it all. To be on the same journey as them, just a few steps behind them is amazing. It just makes you – I can’t even get the words out to explain how I feel, it’s overwhelming, just to see that people have so much hope and that they see something in me which you never see in yourself, these people have celebrity on their side – well, there’s me as well! How do you process that information?”
The thing is that you have to remember your first gig you played, that’s the one that will ground you, do you actually remember your first gig after all of this excitement?
EN: “I remember my first three gigs from then it went completely nuts. I remember I played at The Albert in Lark Lane, Liverpool and I was just 13 and then played on The Wirral at Thornton Hough as a support at a Motown show and another in Huyton and then from then I can’t really remember what happened. I probably play twice a day every week.”
I hope you’ve written down every single gig you’ve ever done!
EN: “We have calendars for every gig for over the past five years!”
I feel quite blessed about that as obviously you’ve played at my poetry nights and as somebody who writes rather than doing music, that’s a big thing even really for Liverpool Sound and Vision and me to have this news come through after playing support, it’s very cool news.
EN: “It’s amazing, it was a massive thing for you to start reviewing me – at 13 no one takes notice but you did, some have been there, then not there but you supported me all the way along, some have been there. I think that is what a musician needs is a strong, supportive group of people around them.”
Is that what you would advise 13 year olds coming through now, to make sure that they are surrounded by people who do actually care?
EN: “I’d say to any young people, don’t get caught up in bad crowds, I know when I was 13, I must have been doing people’s heads in going to gigs every night but if you’re not consistent with your dreams and show that you’re not just going to be there for two minutes, that you’re not going to grow out of it, if you love something, work hard, know who your network is and use it.”
I think that’s the most marvellous piece of advice!
Ian D. Hall