Darren Ellis is a solo acoustic singer-songwriter from Bradford, UK. Influenced by the likes of John Mayer, Stevie Rayvon and BB. King, his varied mixture of acoustic ballads, bluesy numbers and upbeat funky songs create an incredibly varied set. We sat down with Darren for a quick Q and A.
Tell us your name, where we can find you on the internet, and a bit about what you do.
My name is Darren Ellis, you can find me a number of ways on the internet; I guess depending on how you wish to reach me, I have a Facebook profile and things like that. I guess music wise the best place is bandcamp, darrenellismusic.bandcamp.com. You can stream my record there, and other songs that I record. I have a facebook page, Darren Ellis music, so get on there.
So how did you become a musician, how long have you been playing and where did the inspiration come from?
Ive played guitar for around 12 years but I’ve never really been that great, so around 2 years ago i thought i really wanted to make a crack at being a songwriter and guitar player, so I spent a lot of time doing it.
Who were your biggest influences?
Like, Guitar Players, and songwriters. A lot of blues guitar players like Stevie Rayvon, B.B King, John Mayer, even guys like Damien Rice I guess. Also even contemporary pop songwriters.
Whats your favourite album of this year so far?
Ive thought about this question a lot since I got it, so for this year, because I listen to a lot of old music from other eras I’ve been listening to Jimmi Hendrix a lot this year, but one of the few albums I’ve gotten through is Ed Sheerans ‘X’ album. Been listening to James Bay too, a little this year.
Whats the best gig you’ve ever played and why?
I get something out of every gig, I guess. Like, you always learn something or somebody will say something different to you that you can learn from. But any gig where I think I can connect with them, and look them in the eye when i’m singing, and feel them getting down to it. I guess that the more people there are at a gig, the better. That makes it a good gig.
Do you have music for sale and where can people find it?
Yeah, just on the bandcamp page. I release songs pretty sporadically, I just put them out there, and then I think about compiling them onto an album afterwards. So you can buy an album on there, and a little demo I put together of just playing, and you can also stream on Spotify and things like that.
Is music your job? If not, what do you do when you’re not gigging.
Yes, I guess I spend most of my time playing and writing, and singing. Maybe 5 or 6 hours a day or something. I kind of just watch Netflix and stuff for the rest of the time.
Have you got any gigs or music releases coming up soon, if so when?
Ive got a song that I’m writing thats halfway done, that ill probably put on my soundcloud ‘darrenjamesellis’. Then I have gigs all over West Yorkshire, so I get down to Leeds loads, and Bradford, Huddersfield, I put all that on my facebook page usually.
Whats your dream venue to play at?
I really want to play at Glastonbury, I really want to play some old school tunes, that would be the dream, like playing a Bob Dylan song at Glastonbury or something.
As a fan of music, whats the best gig you have ever attended or a gig that you wish you could have attended?
I went to cool gig this week with a band called Willie and the Bandits, who are pretty cool, they’re touring around Europe and stuff, and after I played with them we went back to a place where a guy builds mandolins and we just jammed afterwards and that was cool.
Is there anything else you want to tell people?
I’d just tell people the kind of things Id tell myself, be yourself, enjoy who you are and just do your own thing.
Why music? Why have you chosen music as your path in life?
I guess it always has been, and I maybe never always necessarily realised, so when I was 8 years old I was in a choir, and sung on stage in front of people from being 8 years old and I’ve never really been off the stage. Theres more to it that that I guess, but mainly that, and I just enjoy being on the stage and performing.
Showrunner: Connor Bennett
Producer: Sian Lewis
Production Manager: Linzi Myles
Cameras: Amy Morris, Tom Conway, Sian Lewis
Editor: Will Sparkes
Mixed and Mastered by: Nick Bennett
Interview Transcription: Dan Ward
Logo Design: Isobel Bailey
Thanks to: Wayne Sables, Liam Dodd, Kieran Page