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Elly McCabe is a singer/songwriter and self-taught harpist from Bristol. After doing guest vocals on the track ‘Lover’ for her father (Ex-Verve lead guitarist Nick McCabe)’s new band The Black Ships and performing live to a sold out show at the Kings Cross Student Union in London, Elly decided to take her six years of writing her own material to play live to audiences around the South-West of England.
Her music is a hybrid mix of Celtic-style harp and soaring vocals that have been compared to the likes of Tori Amos, Florence + The Machine and Amy Lee. “I never really thought I could sing, when I first started writing my music I always had it in mind I’d have somebody else sing my songs! It was only after my secondary school music teacher forced me on stage for a GCSE performance with just me, a mic and a guitar that people started turning around and telling me off for being a ‘dark horse’ about a voice I never even realized I had, and truthfully, I still don’t!”
McCabe started writing her own songs after her Grandmother taught her piano at the age of 8. “All I could play was Fur Elise, and I would play it over and over again until my neighbours would eventually complain. When I realized I was doing everybody’s head’s in… I just tinkered around with my little Yamaha, a Christmas present from my Dad… made up some pointless chord progressions and there I was. Off and away. They weren’t complex songs, there was nothing revolutionary about what I was doing… I was just a 12 year old kid with a good idea seemingly.”
In January 2011, McCabe bought a small replica Celtic 22 string harp and began to teach herself using Sylvia Wood’s guide books and the internet. Within four months, she had already written enough material to record her first EP and was gaining some phenomenal attention from her peers. In the May of 2011 McCabe received the support and compliments off the reputable French company Les Harpes Camac and received critical acclaim in the June edition of Echo Magazine in regards to her performance with The Black Ships - “”… singer Elly McCabe, later in the show sent the audience into near delirium. Her voice had something of a young Charlotte Gainsbourg about it, and her cool, captivating presence was something that the other vocalists could do with learning from her in the future.” - The Black Ships Set Sail In London.
In the past year, Elly McCabe has played over a hundred shows, supporting upcoming talent such as Lucy Rose and Monument Valley, created her own promotions and events company Blasphemous Teapot Promotions and has had the joys of bringing back such an unconventional instrument and showing the world her passion for life, love, music and harps.