Q&A: Ella Vos talks about motherhood, battle with lymphoma

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Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

For most, having a child sparks uncertainty and new medical bills. For singer-songwriter Ella Vos, having a child sparked an indie-pop singing career.

After serving as keyboardist for artists such as BØRNS, Vos took the mic herself and released her debut album Words I Never Said in 2017. With the recently released EP Watch & Wait, an upcoming tour and more releases in the works, Vos is expecting 2019 to be an eventful year.

The Daily Texan sat down with Vos to discuss motherhood, her past cancer diagnosis and her upcoming plans.

Daily Texan: How has transitioning from keyboard to vocals impacted your artistry?

Ella Vos: Being onstage and performing as a singer instead of just playing keyboards is a totally different experience in connecting with people through lyrics. It's so much more physical and emotional because it's your voice — it's a muscle. And so that experience makes me a lot more vulnerable. I feel that translates in songwriting, too. When I write stuff on the piano, I can definitely detach and disengage and can get technical. But if I'm singing, writing something, it feels very in-the-moment and physical and a little bit more raw.

DT: How has being a mother impacted your music?

EV: (My son) keeps me focused. There's a responsibility that I feel guides a lot of decisions, which is good and bad. So it's easy to say, “No, I'm not going to do that to him because it's a better time to write,” and it's great. But then the logical part of me feels (touring so much) probably won't be great for (my son). Being a mother has made me definitely care even more about our country and politics, and that comes through in songwriting as well. I can't be apathetic and I have to really be learning and keeping myself knowledgeable about everything. I have a son to raise, and I need to know about everything so he can know.

DT: Do you feel there’s a double standard in the industry for men and women as parents?

EV: Definitely by myself, I think like any mother in a career where I'm like, “What is my role as a mother? How does this balance out? Should I feel guilty that I'm not doing all the mom things?” But if this was (a man’s) career and you had the opportunity to leave for a whole year, no one would think anything of it. I feel that double standard a lot in the decisions I make, and they’d be different if it was the other way around.

DT: How has your past battle with lymphoma impacted your music?

EV: It's forced me to pull from an even deeper, vulnerable place. It's also taken off a lot of stress and fear. The first year releasing music, I was always so concerned about doing everything right and proving myself and just being too much of a perfectionist. Going through this has made me just appreciate the gift of getting to go play a show or getting to put music out and how much of a privilege it is to be able to do that.