EVANSVILLE – Evansville teenage singing sensation Ellie Maxwell has released her first original song and music video, ‘Better Days,’ that provides a message of hope for people who may be struggling with the pandemic.
“I wrote the song ‘Better Days’ during a period of COVID-19 when I knew a lot of people, including myself, who have been frustrated during all the lockdowns as part of the pandemic, and other issues like global warming. I want to let them know through my song that there will be better days ahead and that together we will get through all of this,” 13-year-old Ellie Maxwell told The Expositor last Friday, the day her new original full song and video was released.
In a post on her Facebook page Ellie explained, “I’m so excited to share the music video for my debut single. I was inspired to write ‘Better Days’ during the long months of lockdown in 2020 and 2021. Many of my friends were talking about how dark the future seemed and then I found out that teenagers all over the word were feeling the same way. My dream is that young people will once again look forward to a bright future filled with wonderful opportunities and possibilities. I want my song to spread a message of hope and a sense that better days lie ahead.”
‘Better Days,’ which is just under four minutes in length, “is my first original song, co-written with Britton Cameron, a songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee who I work with,” said Ellie. She acknowledged, “I didn’t think that writing a song would be quite this difficult. It was definitely a lot more work than I originally thought.”
“I knew what my idea was for the song, but I had to create the lyrics,” said Ellie.
“We are very happy for Ellie,” said her mother Mary Mendes de Franca. “It’s going to be interesting to see where she is going to go with all of this.”
Ms. Mendes de Franca said her daughter has been impressing her family and others since she was very young. “We knew that she had a gift from about the time she could talk. She had a very good musical ear from an early age. She would hear songs from a Disney movie and would be humming the song, perfectly on key. And then she started to sing, and again was on key and had perfect pitch. Ellie had a really powerful voice even as a little kid.”
At the age of eight Ellie performed with the youth choir at Lyon’s Memorial United Church in Gore Bay. “By the age of nine she was taking music and singing lessons from Alex Baran (of Providence Bay). She took singing lessons with Alex for two years,” said Ms. Mendes de Franca. “We found a music studio in Georgia, and Ellie takes the weekly lessons with an expert vocal coach online.”
“We didn’t know at the time how well it would work out, when the pandemic started Ellie was able to take these lessons online and never missed a beat,” continued Ms. Mendes de Franca. Over the past few years Ellie has had dozens of her own videos produced by her brother Robert, who operates a video business.
“For this song Ellie worked with Britton Cameron in Nashville (Tennessee),” said Ms. Mendes de Franca. “Mr. Cameron is a music producer and all the work they did together was via Zoom. Ellie has always been interested in song writing, and from his own studio his own studio he can take ideas and help turn them into a song.”
Originally the plans, pre-COVID, was for Ellie and her parents to go to Nashville to have Ellie’s song recorded in Mr. Cameron’s studio. Once the pandemic hit, “we purchased some great recording equipment so Ellie now has basically a home studio,” said Ms. Mendes de Franca.
“For Ellie’s other recordings Isaac Gosse of Mindemoya, who is a sound engineer, was used,” Ms. Mendes de Franca continued. “We send the vocal and instrumental tracks to him, and he mixes them. It’s great that right here on Manitoulin there is someone that can provide that type of high-quality sound. Isaac had seen Ellie sing online and contacted us saying that he would like to help out if he could.”
Ms. Maxwell has a lot of family support in her passion for music, but has a lot of community support as well, being asked to sing at events like baby showers and the MSS graduation held in Gore Bay earlier this summer, her mother said.
There is also a great story about Ellie’s name, her mother told The Expositor. “When Steve and I were thinking about selecting a name for Ellie, we both said we really like Ella Fitzgerald so let’s call her Ella, which is her real name. We call her Ellie for short,” said Ms. Mendes de Franca. “So Ellie is named after the great Ella Fitzgerald. She has sung a lot of her tunes as we play a lot of Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz music in the house.”
“When people hear Ella’s voice for the first time, they always say, ‘that can’t be, she has to be older,” said Ms. Mendes de Franca.
As for the future, Ellie told The Expositor, “I want to learn and write more songs and continue working with Britton. I’m just going to take things step by step. For now, I want to write more original songs, and perform more jazzy songs to post on my website.”
“Yes, I’ve received great support from family, locally, basically from everywhere,” Ellie added, noting that she even has fan support from people in far off places like Australia and Britain.