Young musicians have it tough. We’ve seen young performers make a splash on reality TV shows time and time again. They’re praised for having talent beyond their years, for being so good for their age, and then they’re soon forgotten about when the next wave of performers turns up. So it’s refreshing to see an artist like Ella Belfanti who has taken the time-honoured route of recording her debut release Going in Circles in her bedroom, then putting in the hard yards delivering it to music outlets like myself.
As a bedroom recording laid down with a two-line input audio, listening to Going in Circles is a very different listening experience than many music lovers are used to. Music has usually been polished within an inch of its life before we consume it. There’s something so refreshing about tuning into music that feels untainted like this.
I was instantly struck by Ella’s sweet voice. Not sugary sweet mind you, but pure and angelic with a commanding presence that draws you in. So do her lyrics. Songs like “Trying Not to Like You” and the irresistibly catchy “All of This” appealed to my inner teen who has never quite gone away. There’s such a quiet strength tempered by vulnerability in “Turn With the Tide” and “Make Up Your Mind.” “Focus” is perhaps the most ambitious song on the release, a haunting ballad that reveals an artist with so much potential. The closing track “Circles” is filled with so much longing, the perfect way to end this EP that explores early love and loss so eloquently.
Going in Circles is a collection of such good, organic folk songs. Songs that aren’t just good for the artist’s age, but good full stop. Ella shows great artistic instincts, building her sound with layered vocals and instruments (she plays everything from the guitar to drums, from flute to pencils tapped together in front of the mic!). Everything is in just the right place.
Remember the name, because Ella Belfanti has a big future ahead of her. Sydneysiders, you can see Ella play songs from Going in Circles at The Gasoline Pony in Marrickville on March 8.