Sophie catches up with Ellie Dixon after releasing her EP Crikey! It’s My Psyche
TikTok sensation Ellie Dixon has been making waves with her layered harmony videos of popular songs. Having accrued nearly 1 million followers, it only makes sense that Ellie has blessed us with her own 5 track creation, Crikey! It’s My Psyche.
Let’s talk TikTok! What made you create a TikTok account?
I was actually very apprehensive to join TikTok initially! It was still at the phase where most people didn’t really understand it and I had no clue about the musical community on there, but I reluctantly joined about a year and a half ago after enough of my friends told me to do it. Safe to say a pretty good decision, haha! It took me quite a while to figure the platform out and what people wanted - my full production youtube videos that I spent days editing just didn’t go down well because people want videos that feel honest and real. I saw lots of artists breaking harmonies down in songs and I’ve always been absolutely in love with harmonies and the rest is history basically! I’ve had a number of viral videos now ranging from harmony layering to writing original verses over pop songs to sharing my original music!
Your EP starts off with Space Out! At your launch event you also wore a space outfit, and I’m obsessed with it. Where did the inspiration come from?
So the ‘Space Out!’ concept came about 18 months ago as well - I was in lockdown and lots of artists were putting out instrumentals of their songs for people to write original verses over. I got addicted to doing them and wrote what is now the second verse of ‘Space Out!’ over an instrumental put out by Blue Lab Beats. I was feeling a bit spaced out at the time so decided to just write a whole bunch of stupid space puns and people loved it, I think because you can hear that I was having a blast (pardon the pun). I always create very visually so I knew I wanted a costume; I originally wanted a realistic space suit but turns out those cost absolute stacks so I searched for deliberately silly ones instead and as soon as I saw the inflatable suit there was no going back. It just perfectly ties into the fact that the whole song was never very serious in the first place.
Did you feel pressure having become an internet sensation before releasing your EP?
I didn’t really have any goal to ‘go viral’ or anything like that, I’ve just always had a lot of drive to spread what I create. I graduated from studying maths at uni that year and music was all I wanted to do, so I made a whole bunch of songs, videos, graphics, everything to work up my skills as an all-round artist and to try and grow my audience digitally while the world was locked down. I think everything was very organic, I didn’t have a plan to release an album until after ‘Space Out!’ was released and things were already growing.
What have you learnt from your first few releases, to now releasing Crikey! It’s My
Oh man, where do I even begin. I really view the latest EP as my debut EP because although I used to make EPs every summer at uni, those were little passion projects I would throw myself into and chuck onto streaming platforms before running back to uni again. This EP now is music that I’ve made after working 7 days a week writing and producing, that I created a whole visual world for and that I have committed to marketing properly. I’ve made every aspect of the EP, all the music, visuals and videos and I think I’ve come out the other side with tonnes more experience as well as confidence in myself!
What is your favourite track from the EP, and why?
I think it might have to be ‘CEO of Watching Television’. I just love how carefree the song is, and the chorus is one of my favourite bits of writing I’ve ever done. I wrote it basically as a middle finger up to capitalism when I was feeling completely stressed and overworked. It’s a reminder to myself to take breaks, to be kind to myself, and that I’m an absolute boss even when I’m sitting in my PJ’s and watching trash TV. Society really programmes us to feel like our purpose is to constantly be productive and we’re somehow wasting our life if we aren’t productive all hours of the day, but that’s just not sustainable and I want people to have that little reminder when they need it.
What was the recording process like?
Everything is produced and mixed entirely in my bedroom so the process is basically me in my room all day making noise haha! I love sampling random objects so most of the percussion you hear is me hitting and shaking different things on my desk. I also had my friend Jos Eckert sit in with me for a few of the songs as a sounding board and for some guitar playing too. It was super fun having someone else with me to keep me sane, to bounce ideas with and join in with stupid adlibs. I have lots of funny videos from the process from us shouting like muppets to me recording wooden spoons under a duvet.
Last month we launched our charter of good practice. It was a pleasure to have you attend! What does the charter mean to you?*
Thank you so much for having me attend! The industry is still such a mess for women and gender minorities, including the safety of studio spaces and how we are treated in professional environments. I haven’t worked in many studios myself because I haven’t historically felt the confidence, but when I have I experienced what the charter is trying to fight. We shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable just for doing our job and we shouldn’t be treated differently because of a mundane detail about who we are. I don’t want to be told to ‘keep it sexy’ when I’m singing in a perfectly normal way (that genuinely happened). Hopefully with the help of the charter we can give women, gender minorities and young people aspiring to join the industry the confidence that I took so long to find and the basic human decency they deserve.
What female artists are on your radar at the moment?
A rapid fire list for you: Remi Wolf (absolute top for me, I’m obsessed), BENEE, Orla Gartland, Doja Cat, Noga Erez, Caroline Polachek (big things coming for Caroline), Claudia Kate and I’ve got to shout out my guitarist Rosie Frater-Taylor who is a jazzy legend.
If you were to give advice to other women starting out in the music industry, what would it be?
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Imposter syndrome is natural - notice it but don’t let it dominate you. Know who you are, what you can do, and don’t let people make you second guess yourself. I spent a lot of time being told I was using the ‘wrong’ piece of software, the ‘wrong’ technique, listening to the ‘wrong’ music. The biggest turning point for me was when I realised that literally everything is subjective, nothing is ‘wrong’ and you should listen to YOUR gut above all else.
*In November we released our Charter of Good Practice. We want to achieve safety for everyone in recording studios. To find out more about our charter click HERE.
To stream Crikey! It's My Psyche on Spotify, click below: