A new fixture of the Austin, Texas music scene, Ela uprooted herself from San Francisco and moved south with skills and songwriting ambitions in tow. Despite her young age, Ela’s mix of pop and country sounds has garnered her a measure of commercial success and the adult complexities she incorporates will impress all but their hardest of hearts and heads. Her latest single “Light It Up” is the latest example of her prize-winning talents and an energetic yet brief cut that carries out the mandate behind its title. Ela lights it up in less than three minutes and the mix of solid songwriting with an upbeat commercial spirit makes this single one of the more infectious singles of the year.
It has a great build. The percolating bass line and percussion opening the song transports us into her musical world. Additional elements like synthesizers and Ela’s vocals further enliven the track and accentuate its sweep. The song’s sweep has compelling effect. You feel yourself scooped up into the song’s sound and it physically engages listeners in a way few songs do. Ela has obviously surrounded herself with a cadre of first class collaborators and her presentation in “Light It Up” reflects the professionalism and desire to entertain we expect from budding elite performers.
It isn’t Ela’s first release and her growing experience has a pronounced effect on her songwriting and music. It is to Ela’s credit that, despite her young age, she sings and writes about her experiences with such insight and musical acumen; it takes years for others to develop their talents to this level. “Light Ir Up” may be far more committed to listener’s having a good time, but it is bracing to consider she hasn’t yet reached the peak of her capabilities.
Her voice has enormous power, but she retains control of it throughout the song. Her mastery of this natural gift is a big plus for “Light It Up” and she weaves and bobs her way through the lyrics without losing her stride and bringing a stronger rhythmic quality to the song as a whole. Ela has chosen historically thorny territory to build her reputation in – Austin, like Nashville and Los Angeles, is rife with talented songwriters and performers looking for their proverbial big break. Her willingness to make her way through the Austin music scene is a signal of the confidence she has in her skills and songs alike.
The song is almost too short. It leaves you wanting more. The sparks this song throws off from the outset energizes you with a single listen and has a hit sound without ever sounding hackneyed or forced. “Light It Up” never panders to the lowest common denominator and artfully straddles the line between mass accessibility and musical substance without ever erring too far towards a given side. Ela’s career expands with songs this good – it gives her material this five star vocalist and talented songwriter can knock into the atmosphere. If this single is any indication where her music is heading from here, it behooves us to take that journey with her.