Hey! I’m Ella Mae Bowen.
It’s hard to tell my story, because in this season of my life it seems like it changes every day. I will inevitably leave something important out. No matter, here’s my attempt at telling the roots.
I was born, raised, and still live in South Carolina. Not near the beach, but almost in the mountains in a small town called Walhalla. In my first home, I banged on our 80’s Yamaha keyboard, and was sung to CONSTANTLY by both my parents. I am a first child (an only child for almost 9 years until my brother Jed came along). I was born prematurely with lungs that weren’t developed. God must have a good sense of humor because no one has been able to keep me from singing and loudly I might add, since before I could talk. I truly believe that from day one, my family has never left my cheering section.
When I was three, I put my own lyrics to the “Brush Your Teeth” song I learned at school and wrote a song for my Grandad called “I’m With You.” I recorded it at the Mall of Georgia in a portable sound booth. Grandad was a huge influence on me as a person, as well as on my music. He is most responsible for my love of Bluegrass and my infatuation with Tom T. Hall songs and for showing me what a good joke is really all about. I still play the guitar he left to me when he passed away. I want to keep it always, and pass it down one day, too.
At age seven, with my family’s support, I was performing out and about in local talent shows. I found that I could yodel. That’s fun to do and all, but I still haven’t lost the “little-girl-who-yodeled-at-the-barn-dance” reputation in Oconee County. By age 11, I was writing more seriously. I had a long way to go, but I knew it was something I loved. Then I met Seth Bolt, who has since become my producer, co-writer and close friend. Seth is the bassist of the band NEEDTOBREATHE, and one of my biggest influences. He is also a Walhalla native.
After a lot of hard work, we had demos that we hoped would eventually lead to our dream of a record deal. During this time, we were also asked to submit a version of the song “Holding Out for a Hero” for the remake of Footloose. I’ll never forget how excited I felt when I found out that our version was making the movie! This started a chain reaction of great things to come.
In March 2011, I was offered a record deal by Big Machine Records. I still wake up every morning pinching myself in disbelief that I really have a record deal and a chance to make music I love.
I don’t just love country music fans, I am one. I understand what it’s like to love music so much that you cry, or put your hand over your heart to feel a bass line in a rowdy room, to be willing to stay up all night or wait in line to see someone in bad weather. I love live music, my church, NASCAR, Clemson Tiger football, riding up in the Blue Ridge Mountains in our Jeep Wrangler. I still swim in the lake I was baptized in and I still eat Ramen Noodles.
I want to change the world, by first listening to it. I love hard work and pray I can work at this until I can’t work anymore.
Well, I’d say that is my life. So if you’ve read this, or listened to the songs, or supported or believed in anyone or anything that I do, you already have my heart and I can’t tell you what that means to me. Thank you.