For all her musical passion, prowess and potential, and though it’s in all likelihood the last thing she’d want to hear, Eleanor VS. is just like most artists. Daily enduring her own relentless scrutiny, deftly sidestepping the holes that the naysayers vehemently dig for her, and dedicated to her work for better or worse. Just like most real artists.
A demure and amiable soul, Eleanor was born and raised in the city of Bristol, England, often either had her head in a book or unsuccessfully attempted to write one, and is now in her mid-20s a self-proclaimed linguaphile, cinephile and autodidact. The daughter of a professional musician of Jamaican descent — who gave her the initials ‘E. V. S.’, which she later turned into a play on words of ‘versus’ and ‘verses’ — Eleanor grew up on many genres including gospel, R&B, pop, alternative rock and a little jazz, which could partially explain the difficulty one may have defining her music — as well as her unwillingness to.
“In the early days, I and others would describe my sound as a mix of jazz, folk and soul, mainly to be able to give people an idea or a heads-up, but I’m not so sure anymore,” she says. “I like music — any kind of music — and I’ve always tried to show versatility because I don’t want to limit myself. So I’m a bit reluctant, because I don’t want to make any promises about my music — you get what you’re given!”
As a teenager, Eleanor began performing at open-mic nights, impressing small crowds with songwriting beyond her years and a soft, sincere voice that bent readily to her will. And still she continued to hone her craft, almost to the point of bewitchment. Grace Shutti of Rife Magazine, which in 2016 named her as one of Bristol’s Top Five Women In Music, described her voice as “sultry and astoundingly smooth” and spoke of her ability to “quietly [wow] you” with her “intricate guitar playing… and casually excellent vocal runs”.
Her latest single “TV” was recorded early in 2019 and marks her first release since her first project Passivity in 2014. Lingering health issues in recent years meant that a lot of time was spent in front of the box, and in turn inspired a light-hearted ode to re-runs and new TV shows. “I had a lot of fun making this song, both in the writing and composing stage and the recording and producing stage,” says the Bristolian. “It’s significant for me for many reasons, and I’m really excited for people to hear it.”
For Eleanor, the quest for originality and transparency is paramount… and so far rather successful. As for the prospect of future projects, she is adamant about making an impact. “I want to create a solid body of work, which displays growth and depth. I really want people to connect with it and gain something from it. I’ve been in a bit of a limbo for a while, and I don’t know what — or even if people are expecting things from me, but it’s a great opportunity to start afresh. I just want to take my time and put my best foot forward.”