Ego Ella May - for the both of us
Released - November 2021
Label - Independent
Just a few short weeks ago, South London’s Ego Ella May released ‘FIELDNOTES’ a revealing 3 track EP expressing deep reservations about her ascension within the music industry. Follow up single ‘for the both of us’ sees Ego return to the narrative of heartbreak, a somewhat unexpected yet perfectly timed move as she continues to selflessly provide empathic counsel for love’s casualties.
Last year, Ego won the MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) award for Best Jazz Act and in my opinion her deserving of this may be exemplified in this latest release more than any of her others. Jazz is first and foremost a feeling, and of late I have come to debate whether much of the music we currently qualify as jazz, actually is. Despite all the twists and turns of the genre, it often feels that any work that is musically dextrous and difficult to categorise finds a home here, and yet since its inception in the blues, the essence of jazz has always been the ballad.
‘We wanted all the things,
ended up with nothing’
‘for the both of us’ relays the absolute devastation of keeping the future plans of a lost love alive and is a torch song the likes of which I have yet to experience from another contemporary artist. When accompanied by a 42 piece orchestra Ego’s two chord motif and gut wrenching melody take on a whole new identity. Certainly Ella, Billie, Etta & Dinah all benefited from lush string arrangements on vast amounts of their work, and ‘for the both of us’ would not be out of place aside Holiday’s agonising orchestrated masterpiece ‘I’m a fool to want you’.
Whilst Ego may have deep doubts about impending fame, she may find some comfort in the knowledge that whether she realises it or not, this painfully honest depiction of the wake of a love affair provides a foreboding warning for those of us still fortunate enough to be in one, indeed she almost suffers for us.