“Owe It All” by Ella Blicker
Can you tell the difference between a singer/ songwriter that has studied their craft or majored in music at a university? I can’t say that I can, and most people would probably guess the same. I think there’s an immediate reaction when you hear a hit song – that the singer or the artist behind the song feels the music. They communicate to the listener in a way that defies logic, it transcends the confines of schooling. In her new song, “Owe It All”, New York City’s Ella Blicker presents the best of both worlds. She has the schooling to back up her art and I think she also has a natural talent for molding such a unique sonic blend.
Blicker, who double-majored in biology and music from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, grew up playing first the violin (at age 3!), then tackling the guitar, piano and drums. Blicker’s musical canvas in “Owe It All” is painted with violets, pastels and a running stream of grays and blues. The song does have some bright spots and this inferred warmth – still the song exudes lavenders and creature comfort tones. Her voice has tiny wisps, like faint hairs
that won’t tuck under a pulled back ponytail or hair band. If her voice were a style of writing, it would be cursive. She has these little quirky ways of stretching out certain words in the track, which not very many people can pull off.
Her natural cadence and the pitch in her voice is sheer joy. I think it recalls the sensory eureka moments like Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry or Norah Jones. I wasn’t surprised, though, to glean from Blicker’s press materials that she’s been inspired by Janelle Monae. An artist like Monae tests boundaries and has a way of piercing the listener’s heart not only with her voice and words, but with what’s happening underneath those things. I heard that in “Owe It All”. For as much as Blicker is sincere, there is still a collection of rhythms and beats stirring up something really special below her voice. “Owe It All” feels so modern, yet, with the piano and the grayness of the colors it bleeds, it has this retro finish coating that casts a wide layer of sentimentality. You feel charmed by this song. Content. My mind wandered just a bit into the glaze of her voice – as if she were gazing into the future herself. I just loved the mood I found myself in listening to this track.
I can tell the difference. I can tell that “Owe It All” is by a young artist that has the best of both worlds at her disposal. She brings logic to the science part of her brain into the composition, and she brings the musical, more freestyling exhibition to the work. Blicker impresses with each note and each sincere delivery. “Owe It All” is a standout song, and frankly, it might be one of the best already I’ve heard in 2022. I know we have a long way to go for the year, but I’m keeping this one on my list for sure.