Naz & Ella are an Acoustic Indie Folk duo from Barnet, North London, who have been playing music together since they were at school. Nasreen ‘Naz’ Toorabally sings lead vocals and Ella Patenall plays lead guitar and sings backing vocals. They have performed at venues all over London, notably Arts Depot, Monto Water Rats and Camden Enterprise. They have also performed at Brighton Alternative Great Escape Festival and Essex summer ball, as well as a refugee rally in Frankfurt. They are set to perform their debut single ‘Love Is Love’ live on BBC Beds, Herts and Bucks this Saturday 26th November.
It is always interesting to hear about emerging artists making music in this digital age. They don’t have a manager and are doing everything themselves. Fortunately, Ella’s Dad is a designer so can help with graphics for website and promotion and their friend has a studio in their garden. And they finally live near each other after four years in separate places when they were both at university and Naz spent a year abroad. Ella works in digital marketing and Naz is completing a Masters degree in Health Psychology, but every spare minute is spent making music. As Ella says, “it’s music or nothing.” Even during those years apart they still managed to write songs and gig when they could. They treat it like a second job and put a lot of time into it outside of work. “You’ve got to take anything that comes your way,” Ella says.
Naz and Ella started a girl band when they were 15 and at school, realised they were perhaps the more dedicated professionally out of the group so decided to become a duo. Ella says humbly, “we were ok, we did a few gigs.” They are now 22 and it wasn’t until recently they decided to make better quality videos and really start to market themselves using social media. They sent their single to various blogs and radio stations and heard back from Tom Robinson who loved their song and played it on his BBC 6 Mixtape. A few days later they heard the song was chosen as the track of the week and has been played every day this week (commencing 21/11).
Naz and Ella would like to create a niche for themselves and steer away from love themes which you would typically associate with Folk music. They want to sing about more politically motivated topics and on their EP they tackle current situations such as Brexit and homelessness.
“We want to explore different areas to write about and are trying to move away from personal lyrics,” Ella says. They want to sing about “What people want to hear and what’s different. There are not many folky artists who write about what’s going on. We don’t want to be a one-dimensional pop band.” And they are even looking to explore new topics from books they are reading and popular culture. They like to see what other acoustic duos are doing and their music idols and influencers are both very different. Naz likes “heavier music” that Ella is not so keen on. Ella is into Reggae whereas Naz is not. They both like ‘First Aid Kit’, Amy Winehouse and ‘Civil Wars’. “We’re different, but we compliment each other and it works really well,” Ella says.
They are both incredibly modest when I ask about dream goals, almost as if they have never dared to think so big. Naz’s biggest goal would be to “play at well-known music venues like the 02 or Wembley. I would like to support bands we look up to musically that have acoustic acts beforehand.” She thinks, “Skunk Anansie would be really cool to support.” And would also love to collaborate with Florence and The Machine, “I love everything about her music and it is very different from our music. Ella’s “dream place to perform would probably be Glastonbury festival!”
Naz and Ella’s debut single ‘Love Is Love’ is a memorable song which takes you on a soothing journey with its sweet melody and harmonies, carefully crafted chords and earnest lyrics; “I could lie to you, And the rest of the world, God knows I’ve tried, It’s not the devil on my shoulder, Who led me astray, Love is Love you can’t take that away.” Naz and Ella have a rawness about them which is really refreshing and it will be interesting to see how their music develops over time.
So what is next for this talented duo? They are hoping to complete their EP by the end of the year then focus on writing new songs. They would love to get an album together and film a music video for ‘Love Is Love.’ Naz says, “we both have different ideas about how that will work and how we will collaborate.”
Always in partnership, forever professional and dedicated to their craft. You just know we will be hearing about Naz & Ella a lot in the future.
Listen to Naz & Ella’s single ‘Love Is Love‘
Listen out for them on Beds, Herts and Bucks radio on Saturday 26th