Check out our interview with soulful pop artist Ela Ozturk who just released her new poetic single “Roots.” This stripped-back and truthful song is full of unique instrumentation and passionate vocals that will strike the hearts of listeners while encouraging them to be their authentic selves.
“‘Roots’ focuses on rebuilding yourself after someone has broken your connection with who you are,” says Ela Ozturk on the deeper meaning of the song. Her inspiring message influences the audience to take control of their lives and build the person they want to be after losing their way. “The lyrics describe a comeback story,” explains Ozturk. Lyrics such as, “I’m coming back to my roots, the me before you, the calm before your storm, the light before your darkness. I’m returning, I’m returning, back to my roots, I’m coming back, I’m coming back, I’m coming back.”
Follow Ela @ela_ozturk
Hi Ela, please tell us a little about you?
I’m a Turkish-American singer-songwriter who grew up in the Bay Area! I’ve been an artist my entire life. I started singing when I was two years old, and I wrote my first song when I was just six. I grew up as a choir kid and knew at an early age that I wanted to be a singer and a storyteller. My late father nourished my love for music since he was also a musician. He introduced me to a variety of artists as a kid that inspired my passion, from Eric Clapton to Nora Jones, who all ultimately shaped my sound as an artist. Around the time my dad passed away in 2020- I made the decision to go after my childhood dream and put out music.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Creative, intuitive, ambitious.
Were you sure you have been asked this a million times but how did you get in the industry?
I’ve been an artist my whole life, but it wasn’t until 2020 that I released my debut single, “Bad Habit.” I met my best friend, producer, and film director Morgan Clae that same year, who really believed in my artistry. She brought out the best in me, and together we started to work towards crafting my sound and putting out my first handful of songs.
How has this changed your life?
Starting this journey has been life-changing for me. I’ve met some of the most amazing people who happen to be artists too, and I’ve grown so much as a songwriter, artist, and as a person. I think going after my dreams has grown my confidence in myself and, therefore, my relationship with myself. I believe that’s the strong foundation that everything in my life is built upon. Honoring and fulfilling the promises I made to myself as a kid to go after my dreams has helped me live life as the most authentic version of myself.
Describe your sound in 3 words.
Soulful, heartfelt, empowering.
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
My late dad was a musician and a lover of the arts, and he loved to wake up the house with his favorite record on vinyl. I would also credit my elementary school choir teacher Mrs. Thomas for instilling my love of music at a young age and for being so encouraging and kind. I am also greatly inspired by the great “diva” soul singers that shaped the music I fell in love with: Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and Dusty Springfield. I choose to make music because I have always felt things deeply and have had an overwhelming desire to make sense of my feelings. This led to my lifelong passion for songwriting which is extremely therapeutic for me.
Do you play any instruments?
I grew up playing a little bit of piano and guitar.
Do you ever get nervous?
Yes! Like many artists, I have had my fair share of stage fright, but I think nerves are a good thing. They mean you care about what you do! I get through my nerves by staying present and by having a good pre-show routine.
Tell us about your new single “Roots?”
Thank you for asking! “Roots” is my newest single and is a song I wrote in 2019 after going through some heartbreak. The song was produced by my long-time collaborators and friends, Morgan Clae Sanker and Tommy Sanker, who helped me bring this song to life. Morgan Clae Sanker also is the director of the “Roots” music video, and together we were able to capture this raw pain that I was feeling at the time.
What’s the story behind the song?
“Roots” focuses on rebuilding yourself after someone has broken your connection with who you are. It’s a ballad that grows from pain to power. This song is my comeback anthem; the lyrics describe me remembering the version of myself before I lost sight of who I was. “I’m coming back to my Roots, the me before you, the calm before your storm, the light before your darkness. I’m returning, I’m returning, back to my Roots, I’m coming back, I’m coming back, I’m coming back”. I wrote this song after experiencing heartbreak, and it helped me give myself the closure I needed to heal.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
I think creating music that started as just an idea is a very magical process that feels so freeing. As well as receiving messages from people saying they love a song you made or how your music helped them feel not as alone in their experiences. It’s messages like that that make it all worth it.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
I think everyone should read Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s a great read and really makes you rethink your own daily habits and if they are helping or blocking you from reaching your goals.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
To not ride the highs or the lows too much and just to enjoy the journey as a whole.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
The advice I would give my younger self would be to trust yourself more. You know what is best for yo
How would your best friend describe you?
My friends would describe me as kind, funny, and artistic.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
Failing forward. I have had just as many setbacks and failures as I have had wins, and I genuinely believe failures teach you the greatest lessons and are a stepping stool to success.
What’s next for Ela Ozturk in the last months of 2022 and for 2023?
For the last few months of 2022, I am releasing my newest song “Roots’ ‘ and my first-ever music video as well as preparing for all the new releases for 2023. Next year I plan on putting out more music, music videos, content, and doing some shows.
What is your favorite healthy food?
Good question! I would say that I love a good mixed salad with tons of veggies and tofu or salmon, with a nice dressing.
And your favorite cheat food?
Sushi or poke bowls always hit the spot for me.
How would you explain your fashion style?
My fashion style is timeless and classy, with a touch of edgy and bold.
What is your own definition of happiness?
My definition of happiness is living in your truth and doing what you want to do, how you want to do it.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would give anything to have met Aretha Franklin. Her music changed my life, and I learned how to sing by mimicking her vocals. I would have loved to have met her.
What would be your dream holiday, and who would you go with?
My dream holiday would be to go to Australia! It seems so much fun, and I would definitely go with my family.
Best advice ever given?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten is “nothing matters until it does,” meaning until you give something power, it remains powerless.
Do you support any charity?
My late father passed away from cancer, so I support the American cancer society as it is a cause close to my heart. I try to raise money every year!
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
In the next five years, I see myself as a touring artist and a songwriter who has written for a variety of other artists.
Favorite song? Why?
My favorite song is “At Last” by Etta James as it’s a classic and so fun to sing!
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media is a powerful tool and can be used to make a lot of positive changes in the world and in people’s lives. But it can also be dangerous and harmful at times. It’s important to balance screen time with real-world interactions and getting outside!
Where can we follow you?
Official Website – ela-ozturk.com
Book: Atomic Habits by James Clear
Quote: “Everything you can imagine is real” – Pablo Picasso
Movie: The princess Diaries
Tv Series: Abbott Elementary
Favorite Food: Sushi
Travel Destination: Australia
Sports Team: 49ers and Giants! (I’m a Bay Area girl all the way!)