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Ellie Dixon

Amassing 1.2 million followers on TikTok and shooting into stardom, Ellie Dixon discusses her new single Big Lizard Energy.

Alt-pop newcomer Ellie Dixon is a force to be reckoned with in the scene. With witty lyricism and a whole lot of stories to tell, Ellie found her fame on TikTok, and is steadily making her way onto stages around Europe – she is just about to kick off her headline tour, beginning in Leeds and making its way through London, Germany and Switzerland.

With the rise of TikTok, many musicians have seen the beginnings of their career on the app, and this is no different for Ellie Dixon. However, this arises a new issue of transferring online followers into fans in the crowd. Although a strange experience for Ellie, she has had no problem with gathering a fanbase she can meet and interact with in the real world.

Intertwined within her music is her advocation for mental health. Discussing confidence, anxiety and self-worth, Ellie has been able to build a group of people with the purpose of both listening to good music and improving their mental wellbeing.

Big Lizard Energy is Ellie’s latest single, where she discusses her anxieties and how she would like to overcome them. After receiving a great reception and being a source of comfort for so many people after the release, she has been motivated to create more songs that connect her with her audience. In conversation with 1883 Magazine, Ellie discusses the process behind her songs, inspirations and her upcoming tour.

 

 

Your latest single ‘Big Lizard Energy’ has been released and a music video is coming soon – how are you feeling!
Great, yeah. It’s been out a week now, but it’s funny when you’ve made a song from conception, like months ago. It’s funny how long the lifetime of it is but then it’s so new in the world.

 

Yeah, it all comes back round again.
Yeah! Well I think just before the release, you get a bit of prerelease-itis, where you’ve got the nerves of it coming out and you’re like ‘oh god, is anyone gonna like this’, and you’re talking about it; making videos about it; it’s everywhere. But there’s no novelty because it’s been sat with you for so long and when it reaches people in the ‘real’ world, it’s almost reborn again. The song kind of sounds new. It’s been lovely!

 

How have you found the reception?
Great! It’s been really nice because my previous single was more raging against the machine, more of a rant, I guess. Big Lizard Energy is more about processing it and the message is very wholesome. Wholesome songs are some of my favourites, because the reception is always really warm. Especially when I put out the first teaser video where I just explained what the song was about and that it had come from me having panic attacks and trying to deal with that, I had so many messages from people saying how they deal with their panic attacks, or how much they appreciate me talking about it. Those are the interactions that make everything feel worth it. Also Radio 1 have been so supportive – it’s had seven plays in the last week. Madness!

 

Amazing, you’re really getting the song out there! Who would you say are your inspirations – you have super witty lyricism.
I love music with a sense of humour but I also love music with groove. Sound-wise, alt pop artists like Still Woozy, Easy Life, Remi Wolf. I take a lot of inspiration from those sounds. I was also reflecting on where my love of sampling random objects comes from, and honestly, so much respect to High School Musical. You know the kitchen scene? On the witty side, I love artists like Anderson.Paak, Doja Cat, people who can really crack jokes in their music and the music is still incredible. It’s almost like you know the music’s good, and you don’t need to prove a point in terms of seriousness.

 

Speaking of your lyrics and humour, ‘Swing’ really took off on TikTok and commercially. How did that success feel?
It was great, especially since it was my first single with the label. I was doing everything myself pre-signing, and then suddenly I’ve been signed and I’m like ‘oh, the movie hasn’t ended’. I’ve got to prove myself. It’s not like a freeze frame. It was suddenly the though of ‘oh gosh, I still have to make good music’. I was so nervous before that release because I had no idea how it was going to go down. I think it’s a new sound for me and I think it is a bit more pop and it hits more – I love how much more punch this new wave of music has and it’s gonna continue.

 

It’s really cool. Really satisfying to the ears!
Thank you! I think I always wanted to make punchy music and as my production has improved and I’ve gained more confidence in my song writing, I think there was no part of it that I felt apologetic about, and so I love it. I was so nervous before Swing came out and it was whilst I was on tour, so it was bonkers! I was proofing music videos whilst in the back of a tour bus – just seeing things come in whilst on four-hours of sleep, it was a bit mental. It meant so much to have that go well, and posters were put up around London. It was really surreal, feeling the first threads of what the future means and what signing means.

 

A lot of your fanbase has come from TikTok, but of course you’ve expanded since then. How do you think TikTok aided your career?
Basically the reason that any labels were finding me a year ago was my social media. I must say Instagram was a huge help as well for community building. I took to them during lockdown and it was the only way to reach anyone. I think it really did make my career in that sense because I think a lot of the time social media can be seen as this magical, mysterious thing, and something that’s removed from the real world, when really it’s just people! I would describe it as a giant billboard that’s free. Pre social media you’re having to give out your CDs on the street or try and book a show so people can hear your music whereas now you can reach anyone in the world, if it fits in the right place. It was amazing, the way it took off. I think the interesting transition has been coming away from digital platforms because there is now more to my career. There is much more of a balance to find with social content and shows, press.. more traditional music promotion, basically. It was also difficult figuring out how to get people out of the Internet and into real life.

 

That’s such an interest and new concept. Artists before haven’t really had to think about that.
It’s a new problem but it’s amazing how common it is now. A million followers does not translate into a million ticket sales. It’s been really fun establishing a physical, in person fanbase for live shows, and it’s been super rewarding to meet people. It’s so nice. A comment is amazing, but a comment where you see the person speaking and you can see the emotion behind it and how someone feels.

 

What advice would you give to someone trying to start a career on TikTok?
I would say have fun, make content you want to receive; that’s how I started. I tried to play the game on TikTok and it didn’t work, then I just spent time scrolling and figured out what I liked seeing and what I wanted to see more of. And just ignore trolls! They’re everywhere. Some people don’t like to see people trying.

 

You have a headline tour starting at the Hyde Park Book Club in Leeds, starting May 19th. What should we expect to see, and how are you feeling about it?
It’s bonkers. It’s such a fun show! Last year I did loads of touring, and at the start of last year I was still dealing with a lot of performance anxiety, and I’ll always deal with that because there’s no show that I’m not nervous for. The confidence that I’ve built through last year – I feel like the horizon is much wider now that what it could’ve been. I’m just having so much fun and I’m really excited to start designing the show because I’m taking a show and removing the rules. It’s touring my new EP, which is part one of my debut album.

 

If you could choose three songs to soundtrack your day, what would they be?
Morning: Send Me on My Way – Rusted Root
Afternoon: 777 – Silk Sonic
Night: Gucci Prada Balenciaga – Hailey Knox

 

Big Lizard Energy is out now, follow Ellie via @elliedixonmusic

 

Interview Hannah Barrett

 

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