Editors’ Notes “These songs have helped to heal me,” Ego Ella May tells Apple Music. “To just get it all out. There’s no filter on it and it is very personal because it’s about me and my feelings.” This is a sharp assessment of a debut album that concludes a turbulent and revelatory period of soul-searching for the neo-soul singer-songwriter. In tune with a trusted list of collaborators (Alfa Mist, Melo-Zed, and Oscar Jerome), the lo-fi, jazz-infused frequency of the process and the resulting music contributed to a cocoon-like experience for the South Londoner. “To me it felt like keeping a diary,” she says. “I’ve been writing all these random thoughts and now I’ve just put them into song form. That's why I think I cover so many topics. It's essentially me documenting my growth along the years. My lameness and my confusion and longing—just all of these different things that we go through.” “Never Again” and “Give a Little” riff on spiritual, world-weary affirmation, and “Girls Don't Always Sing About Boys,” though inward-looking, serves an appeal to higher consciousness. “It’s hard to explain what this album has done for me,” she says. “When I listen back to it, it shows where I was at, and I feel like, 'Wow, my headspace is completely different now.'” Here, she talks us through the exquisite Honey for Wounds, track by track.

Alright (feat. Theo Croker)
“Theo and I met maybe seven years ago. He got in touch with me after he'd heard a song of mine playing in Tokyo, which I was very shocked about. He said he wanted to work and we just became friends. We didn't really do that much work together, but every time he was in London we'd hang out. I started writing the song quite a few years ago, and the outro part is essentially just a loop, but I felt like I needed an instrument just so that I didn't kill it, and I immediately thought of Theo. The next time he was here, I grabbed him and asked if he would play on it, and he did. It's just beautiful. I cry every time I hear it because it's just so nice.”

Table for One
“So this one started out as a jam. I was with Joe Armon-Jones, Oscar Laurence, Wu-Lu, and Eddie Hick, who plays in Sons of Kemet. We all went to the studio and we were jamming. But then we recorded it on one mic, which was a terrible thing to do, because later when we realized that we liked this section, we then had to try and get everybody back in the same room. That was so difficult to do because they're all their own artist and it was right before festival season. I was like, ‘Ah, I really need to rerecord you guys.’ It took about a year to get everyone together again, but it was such a beautiful thing. I've never had a big jam that ends up turning into this really beautiful track. We tried to in so many different ways, but we needed everybody vibing off each other in the same room. So I waited and waited, and I'm very proud of it.”

How Long ’Til We’re Home
“I was in a state of confusion when I wrote this and I was really triggered by the news. I don't really watch the news often because I get scared and panicked, and then the one time that I decide to, I got super panicked again. I was writing about what I see, and I feel we, as humans, are so separate, but we're all here doing the same thing. And then we die, and I just didn't feel like there was togetherness for us—as airy-fairy as that sounds. I thought about me being first-generation British—my parents moved here when they were 19 or 20—but I also find that when I go back home to Nigeria, it's awkward because I'm not exactly from there. Then, obviously being here, so often we've all been told to go back home, like, we all get told that, and there's just that confusion. 'Well, where is my home? How long until I feel like the place that I'm settling in is actual home to me?' So many things ended up forming this song, and it's interesting to me how relevant it is.”

Song for Bobby
“Bobby is a code name, but Bobby knows who he is, let's say that. It would have been too bait to put his name out, but this is one of those songs that I listen back to and think, ‘Wow, I really don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel this intense heartbreak and longing.’ It's about the same person that I wrote 'Table for One' for, and I was very intensely missing them, and I was just full of longing. That's essentially all it is, and it's interesting because there's this one lyric where I say, 'You show up out of the blue and I cloud you with green,' and even that, I'm like, 'I don't even smoke anymore!' It's all so funny to me. My headspace now is just so different.”

Girls Don’t Always Sing About Boys
“I wrote this when I was listening to the radio a lot, and I guess the title says it all. I was just hearing love songs or songs about heartbreak, and that was basically all there was on the radio. I do get it—songs about love are so powerful and relatable—but I wanted to challenge myself and remind people that there are other things going on in the world that we can put in song form. It’s me saying, 'Hey, man, I'm reading about other things and I'm actually really upset about Grenfell and I'm really passionate about mental health, and I also read an article about homelessness and how they bleed in the streets because where are the sanitary towels?' Now, maybe more than ever, people are questioning things and ways of living that have been fed to us for the longest time. Like, that's the idea of success: a family and working. I just thought maybe we should question that.”

In the Morning
“This song is funny to me because the chorus reminds me of a festival I played. I remember at the chorus the crowd were like, ‘Whoa,’ and it always reminded me of that. I think it’s obviously still me, in the sense that the music’s mellow, but then the chorus makes me laugh because it's supposed to feel different. I wrote this, again, because I was sick of myself and tried to make myself feel better by saying, ‘In the morning, we can start again and we can be whoever we want to be and I can decide to be a completely new person.’ I was sick of my own shit, basically. It's a feeling of renewing yourself when the morning comes, with the energy to try again.”

Never Again (Maralisa Interlude) [feat. Maralisa]
“Alfa Mist produced this one, and it’s just great. There isn’t much to it; it's essentially a continuous loop of how I don't want to feel this pain again. It's one of my favorites because it's simple, but there are loads of harmonies coming in and out of this one phrase. I also got my friend [US singer-songwriter] Maralisa [Simmons-Cook] on the end of the song, and her vocals absolutely killed it. She's wonderful.”

Science
“This is a weird one for me because of the melody—I've never done one like it before. It's a bit talky and there's no real flow, but it contributes and makes the song what it is. My mind was all over the place at the time, and the melody reflects that, I think. It’s about feeling like you have a confusing, muddled out-of-body experience with somebody. That's why I feel like I'm doing so much talking and it's an all-over-the-place song—because I don't even know where my headspace was when I wrote it. It was honestly all over the place.”


Tonight I’m Drowning
“This one was also with a full band. I wrote this about how I always long for people. That’s what the album has shown me. There’s moments where I feel like I'm doing well and then something catches up to me and it's like I'm drowning. And it's just the waves of life, I suppose. This is about feeling quite inconsistent about where you're at in your healing journey. And also, the trumpet in the beginning makes me swoon.”

Give a Little
“This was actually the last song I wrote for the album. It was produced by Ian Davies and Melo-Zed with a little sprinkle of Theo on trumpet. And it’s another where I was sick of myself and felt like something just had to give. I finished it in December [2019], inspired by this Reiki session that I'd had last summer and the lady told me that I need to go to the ocean and reconnect with my ancestors. So I ended up going to this beach in Devon and stood there, literally like, ‘I'm here. What I do?’ And I thought, ‘Well, I'll just throw a bit of my hair into the sea then, a bit of my DNA, and just leave it in the ocean.’ That sparked the beginning of the song, because after that moment I had so many different changes happen in the space of a week. I just knew that it was significant. It is also a bit 'woe is me,' because I'm asking for empathy and I'm wondering if the only way I will get that is if I'm dead. So that was a bit deep, in the second verse. But as all these changes were happening and it's scary—you have to stay reminded that something's got to give, and maybe it's all for a reason.”

For Those Who Left
“I've not really ended on a positive note with this song. I'm like, 'Look, if you leave, stay gone. Because now I've done all this work on myself, I don't need you, just stay out of my life and let me continue on the journey that I'm on.' More recently, the songs that I've been writing—though they're not as painful—they're still relevant in the sense that I'm just writing about things that matter to me. It just so happened that I was in quite a bit of pain when I was writing this album, you know? It felt right to close the album on saying, 'You know what? I'm a strong person. I can get through anything.'”

SONG
Alright (feat. Theo Croker)
1
3:12
 
Table For One
2
6:34
 
How Long 'Til We're Home
3
3:27
 
Song For Bobby
4
3:28
 
Girls Don't Always Sing About Boys
5
4:06
 
In The Morning
6
3:55
 
Never Again (Maralisa Interlude) [feat. Maralisa]
7
3:36
 
Science
8
3:37
 
Tonight I'm Drowning
9
3:31
 
Give A Little
10
4:03
 
For Those Who Left
11
1:57
 

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