Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
I found Ella Henderson a bit overrated on The X Factor, and the acoustic songs she put online last year (Five Tattoos and Waiting) were dreary. But as rumours circulated in recent weeks that her first single was well worth listening to, I began to look forward to it. Rightly so, as it’s a very strong debut. Ghost was co-written by Ryan Tedder, and it sounds like they were given Rolling In The Deep as a template. It’s also a bit Delta Goodrem, a bit Birdy – exactly the direction I would have sent her in. The “I keep going to the river to prey” line is a great hook, the kind that only a super-songwriter like Ryan comes up with. On a visual level, Ella has grown into her looks – she always looked older than her age (I still can’t unsee the Claire from Steps similarity!) but now it works in her favour as she can carry off a mature song and appeal to a broader audience than most singers her age. Ghost will be a big hit, but her chances of long-term success depend on whether she has more songs of this quality up her sleeve.