Skip to main content

Home Music Music Features

Meet Elle Darlington, the TikTok star on the path to becoming a pop powerhouse

Elle Darlington's relatable tales of heartbreak and powerhouse vocals are allowing her to find a captive audience online

By Nick Reilly

Ask Elle Darlington about her key inspirations and the Prestatyn raised artist will soon raise two names: Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande. The powerhouse vocals are a lofty aspiration for any rising artist – but one listen to Darlington’s music shows exactly what she means.

You say you’ll leave and I’ll change your mind,” comes her belting chorus on recent funk inflected single ‘One More Night’.

This uncanny ability to wrap vocals at the very top of the scale around stories of yearning and heartbreak is what Darlington does best. Her next single – the 90s inflected ‘Feel It All’ – a tale of a bad break up – offers retro stylings to ensure that a tough, yet universal massage, can be a little more palatable.

It’s already relating to her online audience too – a captive audience of 1.1 million TikTok followers who regularly message her to explain that they’ve found solace in her songs – is the perfect proof of this.

Read our whole Q&A with Elle Darlington below.

What’s the story behind ‘Feel It All’ and what does it say about your sound?

Well, I feel like it’s a very kind of poetic way of sort of calling someone heartless, that’s what I was going for. It came from a pretty hard situation where I felt like I was feeling the break up a lot more than the other person basically. And it’s just about embracing the feelings and realising that you have to push through that for it to get better, and it does get better. But at the time, it was just a period where I thought ‘I’m just gonna sit in it and let it pass. I’m so excited to put it out and for it to be out.

I feel like people are gonna really connect with it and I feel like everybody can relate to that on some kind of level. So I’m super excited.

Did you write it while in that headspace, or were you through the other side and looking back?

I jotted down those experiences. I was still in it, but I was coming out of it. It was that moment where I was like, ‘OK, I see a light at the end of the tunnel’. I realised the process that I was going through and that’s where the song came out of. I’ve been through really tough times and I wanted to do something a little bit empowering in a way, even though it is sad, it’s still embracing those feelings.

Does a lot of your music hone into your own experiences then?

Yeah, definitely. It helps my songwriting process so much when I’m writing about my own experiences, all of my songs are from different kind of stories in my life. I’m very open in the songwriting process and I’ll just go and spill all my feelings and I find it helps me as well.

It’s like therapy when you get a great song that really explains how you feel and then you put it out and then other people relate. It’s just so nice.

How has your online audience reacted? You have over one million TikTok followers.

I do find that people will definitely share their own experiences on there, but it’s in my DMs where young girls message me and tell me that my music has helped them. That’s really nice and what I can truly relate to.

What was your first experience of music back in Wales?

I’ve been singing since forever. Literally, since I could talk, I’ve been singing and when I was growing up, I always said that I’m going to be an artist.I had no idea how it was going to happen, but I was determined to make it happen.

I eventually left school and went to BIMM in Manchester and studied vocals there, but it was Covid and I ended up having to move back to Wales and it was just a big mess and I was like, how am I gonna do this?

I started on TikTok and then here we are, it just kind of took off and I haven’t stopped since.

We always ask new artists to give us their elevator pitch. If someone came up and asked you to describe your music, what would you say?

I would say fun, a little bit cheeky, honest and relatable and some nineties vibes in there. We’ve got nineties inspo on big vocals, the obvious point is, I guess, I’m trying a bit of Mariah maybe.

Is she one of your main touchstones then?

Love her! I mean, she’s just an icon. I’ll listen to everything but when I listen to her vocals it’s very inspiring for me. It feels different than other music and that’s motivation for me.

I’m a huge Ariana stan too and Kehlani right now, she’s just about to put out new stuff which I can’t wait for. I feel like they’re the main ones to be honest. But yeah, I listen to so many people.

And finally, here’s a lot of nineties energy on ‘Feel It All’ too. Was that intentional?

Yeah, I’m happy that shines through because it’s something that we really wanted to get right. I wanted to give it a kind of Beyonce energy. It can sound sound fresh but also, I want to put across the different aspects of where we’ve reached too.

Elle Darlington’s ‘Feel It All’ arrives May 17.