Feature: The Anatomy of 'Jackie O' with Ellie Bleach

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Photo by Poppy Marriott

We were first introduced to Ellie Bleach after she shared her tropical-pop gem 'Leave Me Alone' last year, and now she's back with yet another brilliant single, this time sharing her latest track 'Jackie O'. To celebrate the release of her third single, she dives into how 'Jackie O' was born and the story behind the track.

I wrote ‘Jackie O’… Remember that awfully long winter of 2018 named ’the beast from the east'? I wrote 'Jackie O' in the midst of that, March 2018, at the tail end of a fling that fizzled out. I wrote the majority of the song in under an hour, then fiddled with tiny bits over the coming weeks, I remember asking several people whether to use the word ‘flinch’ or ‘wince’ on one of the lines.

The story behind 'Jackie O' is… Pretty self-explanatory haha. In a nutshell, I attended a fancy dress party as one half of a couples costume (John and Jackie Kennedy) to discover the host of the party and the person supposed to be dressed as JFK not dressed as anything at all. I remember being embarrassed at the obvious visual indicators of who was more invested in that short-lived relationship. The first half of 'Jackie O' is pretty much rooted in exactly what happened that night in February 2018, but by the end of the song, I’ve definitely directed my anger towards a certain type of guy. Time and time again, I let myself get too involved with emotionally distant ’tortured artists', who spent their energy chasing delusions of undiscovered genius than actually forming meaningful relationships with real people. I’m actually in a very happy relationship now, but every time I perform ‘Jackie O’ I get a little riled up, remembering how lonely and resentful 2018 Ellie felt in that period.

My favourite lyric is… It’s a tie between, ’to find poignance in the mundane it’s kind of your thing, but my god don’t you know it, don’t even wince when you call yourself a poet.’ and the repeated, ‘I am the first lady of..’ in the outro.

It was made… I write by recording a full demo myself on my laptop, then the final mix was recorded with Harry and Ben Stanworth of the band Barbudo (kings of crisp tight production) in their home studio. All my live band feature on the track, you can hear Harry Stanworth on drums, Zachariah Young on bass, Hannah Hayden on backing vocals and percussion and myself on organ and synth.

My main inspiration was… Elevator music. Bossa nova. ’Song For A Future Generation’ by The B-52's, ‘Shades' by Alexandra Savior. The world of high society all-American debutantes that surrounded Jaqueline Bouvier before meeting John F Kennedy.

It sounds best when… Screamed alone in your bedroom, or played LIIIVE by Ellie Bleach and her magnificent travelling band, coming to a venue near you! ;)

Listen to 'Jackie O' by Ellie Bleach below:

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