Now at 18, she is a wise and worldly country music singer and songwriter. She remembers the music that she listened to growing up, which she cites as contributing to her performances today. She says, “I’m a hybrid of all my influences. I grew up listening to a lot of 80’s alternative or new wave music that my dad loved, but also a lot of country. One minute REM and The Smiths, the next Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.”
It’s obvious that Ella Mae Bowen is passionate about music and the work that she does. “I honestly love so many kinds of music,” she says, “and seek to make music that could be loved deeply by someone. The best songs in my eyes are the most honest ones, so that’s what I strive to make.”
While she’s serious about her career, she also knows how to have fun. “I never was good at naming my guitars,” she confides, “but I have named the Jeeps I’ve driven the past few years. The ’96 Cherokee I drive now is named Gilbert Grape, after the Johnny Depp classic.” Ella Mae is also a cat person. “I love all cats,” she says. “I grew up with a tuxedo-colored cat named Bigboy who lived to be 19. I now have my own, Jaedee, and I love her so!”
Ella Mae adds, “I own more boots than anything else!” Let’s see which pair she wears on the TEDxGreenville 2014 stage for her April 11 Unzipped performance.