For those (of us) still soaking in the existential glory of Lorde's "Stoned at the Nail Salon," NYC newcomer ella jane has an entire EP of material guaranteed to send you deeper into your feelings. Announced today, the musician's debut THIS IS NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE! EP arrives September 10 (via Fader Label) and includes third single, "the sellout," alongside an accompanying lyric video.
jane wrote her forthcoming seven-song project over the past three years, beginning when she was just 16 years old. Produced by the likes of Doug Schadt, Jackson Shanks and more, she then recorded all her ideas between winter 2020 and summer 2021 in both NYC and LA.
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The result is an introspective tracklist that captures the innocence of teenage life, with the inevitable arc of growth that takes place during that formative time. For jane, "the sellout" represents closure for this chapter, written when she was 18 as a senior in high school and coming off a year of depression — "emotional purgatory," as she describes.
Check out "the sellout," below, which sounds like an instant acoustic-pop classic, and learn more about the inner workings of star on-the-rise ella jane.
What does it mean to be an "emotional sellout"?
To me, being an “emotional sellout" is essentially just people-pleasing — the act of showing people what they want to see (even if it's not authentic) because their love feels good.
Lyrically, what's the personal significance of this song?
I had just turned 18 when I wrote this song, a senior in high school. At the time, I was finally getting over an episode of depression that had hit me really hard the previous year. Although it sounds kind of trite and overused, the phrase "recovery is not linear" was beginning to make a lot of sense to me.
Though my mood had improved, I was still left reeling in the wake of a total loss of identity. Writing "the sellout" was a way for me to process this strange sensation as I lingered in a sort of emotional purgatory, teetering between a new sense of calmness and familiar unrest. It's a wary exploration of growth as it related to me and the people I interacted with.
"'the sellout' is the exhale I was longing for after holding my breath in all these other songs."
How do you think this release reflects your work as an artist and the larger EP?
I think — or I would like to think, at least — that this song will give people a clearer view of my versatility as a songwriter. Although I consider myself to be a pop artist and probably always will, the songs on this EP were a result of my evolving music taste, and "the sellout" is a true reflection of that. When I wrote it, I was listening to a lot of Simon & Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground.
Despite my personal struggles with identity and sense of self at the time, I was finally beginning to embrace who I was as a writer and an artist. Expanding my taste informed that.
How does "the sellout" compare to previous releases?
"the sellout" is fully acoustic and much folkier than my past releases (even "Thief," which mostly consists of just guitar). I wanted it to mirror the uncertain kind of hope I was writing about, and I think the finished product completely conveys that. It's upbeat, but raw enough that the vulnerability cuts through. I'm not hiding behind too much pop production or vague language, which of course scares the shit out of me, but I think is an important step to take.
As the last single before I release my EP, it feels like a solid sense of closure — not an answer, but an acknowledgement of the pain I felt and the steps I wanted to take to heal it. So I think "the sellout" is the exhale I was longing for after holding my breath in all these other songs. And I can't wait for people to finally hear it
Photography: Ivy Tellin