I Could Have Made a Child

The most melancholy Lady of the Lowlands, lly Kellner, surrounded by green bushes in an Ophelia like pose

Many think this but who speaks it?

I wrote this song on Christmas Day 25th December 2019. Later I thought that was typical as many around the globe celebrate Jesus’ birthday on that exact date and here I was singing about how no baby was born from my womb. As I spent Christmas with my cat I took the time to make a list of all the things I was grateful for. In the year that had past my writersblock was lifted after three years and music returned to me embracing me like a long lost pal. There was a lot to be grateful for.

Christmas Day made me ponder about how some people make babies and I make music. I realised ‘having’ children comes natural to some but for others it can be a rollercoaster filled with hope, sadness and in the worst case unfulfilled wishes. And then there are those who have no wish to reproduce, for whatever reason. Each and every one of us will have a different experience.

In childhood I suffered from mental abuse, mind control and neglect and there was so much I needed to learn but never did. Because of this I decided from early on that I would not have children. I even wrote it in my diary as a reminder for my grown-up self. Today I am a concious woman, a creative singer and my heart is warm and open but the motto “I shall not have children myself” belongs to the child I once was. The child that wanted to make sure her childhood experiences would not be repeated or passed on to another. After spending many years in therapy I know I need a lot of time and energy to heal myself in this lifetime. Through the years I’ve been learning to embrace my emotions, learn how to set my boundaries with others and how to experience more happy moments, slowly but surely. But I still need more time for me.

In my heart of hearts, I would have wanted to carry a child, give birth and be a supportive mother in my own little family. With the cards I’ve been dealt this lifetime it is my intellectual decision to not be a parent and at the same time I mourn the children I will never have, that special bond I will never share. Seeing friends with their babies can be painful and I try to move through the emotions as best I can. Seeing my friends children grown up sometimes also makes me mourn my own childhood. The things I wished for myself, that I never had.

I could have made a child but I didn’t. I made music instead. I Could Have Made a Child is now the title track of my new EP that was released 18th September, almost 9 months after it was written. It also coincides with the World Childless Week and I just love the synchronicity in all of this.

I’ve been writing songs since I was 9 years old and as always my songs help me deal with my emotions. I share my music in the hopes that it may soothe others as well. This song is for anyone whose heart suffers because of childlessness, no matter the story, causes or reasons behind it. I hope it reaches your heart, comforts you and ultimately makes you feel less alone.

Elly ♥


I could have made a child I have the body for it I could have made a child And it would be grown by now I've got the hips, the womb The loving heart I could have made a child I could have made a child And I could've fed it peaches I could have made a child And taught it to rise each day To stay close to its own heart Find strength in vulnerability I could have made a child But all this time I have spent Making myself a happier person All this time I have spent 'Cause I needed more time For me I could have made a child And written songs about it I could have made a child And hear how it sings Could've caressed it and blessed it With all my creativity Yes, I could have made a child But all this time I have spent Making myself a happier person All this time I have spent 'Cause I needed more time For me I could have made a child

REVIEW By John Barlass on

An intriguing melodic sadcore collection from Elly Kellner to brighten up your day.

Release Date:  18th September 2020
Label: Own release
Formats: Download

Elly Kellner may be a new name to you, but she’s a talented, highly regarded singer songwriter who has worked with the likes of Grammy winning producer Larry Klein and the great Iain Matthew’s. In 2019, she was also awarded the Tamoil Culture Prize for Arts and Literature.  Iain Matthews has suggested that the only reason she isn’t more famous than she is, is because she doesn’t want to be, but he then goes on to say, “She has it all.  The voice, the songs and the charm.  She’s the Full Monty…”  On the evidence of this charming, intriguing, quirky and pleasantly challenging set of songs, that’s a highly accurate assessment.

Elly likes to challenge established taboos with her lyrics, and she does this consistently with the five songs on this EP. It’s particularly the case during the opening track, I Could Have Made a Child, in which she first lists her female child bearing characteristics, but then goes on to indicate that she’d rather use the time she’s been given for her own enjoyment.

But it’s not all about the lyrics, fascinating though these are. The musical arrangements are excellent; sparse but effective on the first four tracks and lush and atmospheric on closing track Mountains Of Men.  And the voice is one to die for, alternately rich, breathy and forceful as the song content requires.  Perhaps the nearest parallel to Elly in terms of lyrical honesty and delivery is Laura Marling.  Elly herself describes her musical style as ‘Melodic Sadcore’ – as good a description as any.

As for the songs, the EP starts with the aforementioned I Could Have Made A Child, a song that instantly draws in the listener.  The slightly disturbing but also slightly humorous lyrics are high in the mix (so you can’t miss them?) and the backing is provided by acoustic guitar, synthesizer and light percussion – and it’s marvelous! 

I Will Start Over continues with the light folky/jazzy instrumentation, which provides the backing for a combination of spoken word and dreamily sung lyrics. 

Sharp Corners is another outstanding song. Written in October 2019, it’s a song about self-protection that gives warnings, via an enchanting, breathy vocal, of the dangers that await the unwary. It even warns that we should wear our masks when venturing out into the world! 

Another Person is probably the folkiest song in the collection, but even here there are jazzy touches and still more ominous and challenging lyrics, but the focal point of the entire set is probably the closing track, Mountains Of Men, on which Elly is joined by a full band featuring John Lumpkin on drums, Sasha Shlain on piano and synthesizer and, most prominently, Switzerland’s Sandro Freidrich on bansuri flute.  The song is tuneful and atmospheric, with a feel that is almost Andean. It’s a song that gets into your head and the eerie lyrics are given particular emphasis by the accompanying video (see below) in which a young girl is followed through locations that include a beach, a church, a bridge, a graveyard and a city palace, as her face remains expressionless throughout.  Hmmm…

I thoroughly enjoyed this EP. It’s already brightened up my day and I’m sure that it will brighten yours too.  Give it a listen!


REVIEW By Willem Jongeneelen:

“Elly Kellner has a new EP. The first four songs have sparse musical arrangements and still a lot happens and even more is said. Is it shamelessly honest folk? Sure. But Elly also emerges as a Beatlesque minstrel bringing an old-fashioned jazzy groove and stylistic slowcore with grim edges. She tests herself vocally, far beyond her comfort zone as the sensitive singer-songwriter with just a guitar or ukulele. In the final track she is pulling out all the stops, even though the tempo remains slow. Supported by guest musicians from the USA, Russia and Switzerland, we hear Elly meditating about a peaceful, boundless world. Was and is that world always this peaceful and tolerant? In the beautiful video devoted to the song, a young girl is being followed closely in a beautiful but wondrous landscape. Without batting an eyelid, she moves through the water, across the cemetery and in a city palace, full of childlike innocence. Like Elly once…“

Mountains of Men

Video still for Mountains of Men by singer-songwriter Elly Kellner

About the song:

In life we can ‘walk’ any direction we want. So many have come before us on this planet and besides smart inventions and kindness the world is also confronted with people’s rage and ignorance. Every day the choice is yours: Will you follow the well trodden path, leaders who claim to know best or will you listen to your gut and choose the road less traveled? Will you listen to the child in you or will you follow your heart?

An extra layer in the meaning of the song is about the feminine experience in a world that has essentially always been a ‘Man’s world’. The fact that women were only allowed to vote from 1920 onwards is just a small example. Symbolically and sometimes literally women have had to climb mountains designed by and for men. A final layer to the song is about other minorities. The world we live in today has many man-made obstacles that usually only the priviliged, rich, white and able-bodied people can overcome. So again, the question is, do we want to travel down that road that is full of age-old roadblocks or should we maybe start making our way through a new part of the jungle that is life?

This song features Sandro Friedrich from Switzerland on the wonderful bansuri flute. Sandro plays over 200 ethnic wind instruments and his beautiful playing can be found in many collaborations as well as filmscores and documentaries. Supporting the song on drums is John Lumpkin from the USA. Being a producer, arranger and artist his roots can be found in the Gospel scene and Jazz. Lastly adding tranquil soundscapes with piano & synthesizer is composer and producer Sasha Shlain, originally from Russia and now residing in Switzerland. I met these three musicians in 2019 at Studios La Fabrique, where together we recorded the album Same Sky for Beyond Music. And I am so lucky they added their beauty to this song.

Elly Kellner – Vocals, guitar, bass guitar
Sasha Shlain – Piano & synthesizer
Sandro Friedrich – Bansuri flute
John Lumpkin – Drums

– Produced by Elly Kellner with the kind assistance of BJ Baartmans.
– Co-produced by John Lumpkin and Sasha Shlain
– Mix and mastering by BJ Baartmans, Studio Wild Verband (NL) 2019

About the music video:

Never before did a song have so many different meanings and layers for me. This one, for me, expands over time and space, it’s about you, about me, about how we are all one. Everything entwined, living and dying all at the same time, round and round we go in this magnificent, bittersweet experience.

I wanted to make the vibe of the song and the deeper meaning visible in a way that comforting at the same time. I spent a day with the charismatic Eliza (12 y/o) and I followed and filmed her wherever she went that day. She walked in a world that has offered so much to mankind through the centuries. It is up to us to ponder on what we could give in return.

Eliza Klein – Girl
Elly Kellner – Camera, edit

Elly ♥



Will you follow me where I go
Will you follow me where I go

This path is so crooked
But it's truly mine
I came in barefoot
Across the borderline

How I struggled uphill
Mountains of men
Grew into a landslide
Came down again

Came... down again
Came... down again

Will you follow me where I go
Will you follow me where I go
Will you follow me where I go
Will you follow me where I go

Erlenbach vlog

Empty stage just before singer-songwriter Elly Kellner starts her concert at Seeschau in Erlenbach, Switzerland

On the 15th November I traveled to Erlenbach, near Zurich in Switzerland with composer and producer Sasha Shlain. I met Sasha earlier this year at Beyond Music and we were now invited to perform my songs at Seeschau – House of Sacred Arts. This peaceful place is owned and run by Regula Curti who we also met before as she is the co-founder of the Beyond Foundation. We had a very warm welcome by all the kind people there, such an heartwarming atmosphere and were reunited with more Beyond musician friends. In the afternoon we connected through some music improvisation. 

To all those who were there: it was so good to see you at the concert, thank you for your time and your warm, inviting energy. Thank you Regula Curti for having us. And for those who couldn’t make it, here’s a small video of our day.

Elly 🧡

Singer-songwriter Elly Kellner performing live with on the piano Sasha Shlain at Seeschau in Erlenbach, Switzerland
Elly Kellner & Sasha Shlain performing at Seeschau

TAMOIL Culture Award

Singer-songwriter Elly Kellner reads from her personal speech at Tamoil Cultuurprijs in Markiezenhof Bergen op Zoom in 2019.

Yesterday I had the honor of receiving the Tamoil Culture Award for the Arts & Literature. It was a glorious day. The jury awarded me because of my artistic, inspiring and heart-felt lyrics, music and comics. Excerpt from the Jury’s speech: “Elly is able to write about what is sharp and painful in a way that makes it slightly muffled and vague and therefore easier to digest and look at.  At the same time she knows how to make  the vague visible with exactly the right words and has thus far written over a 1000 songs.”

I have of course thought about what all of this means to me. With a big award like this expectations automatically appear; maybe you wish me fame & fortune or that the sun will always shine for me from now on. The internal pressure does arise when receiving an award like this but… I understand that I receive it for all the things I have already created thus far. With this award and all the things that have happened to me this year I can, without a doubt, say that 2019 is the year of beautiful opportunities! From out of nowhere I suddenly feel seen and heard and this is a very, very welcome feeling. Thank you ♥

With the award I also got to take sea knight home with me, a brave warrior with a big heart. That suits me well because I happened to be on the look out for a fine man! It is a bonus that he is also the keeper of secrets, stories and discoveries.  Myself, I am not a keeper of secrets, more likely a whistle blower. Or to put it differently: I sometimes feel like the canary in the coalmine. When the canary stops singing it’s a warning to the miners that there was a gas leak. My antenna is sensitive, my body responds swiftly and my belly is wise like a guru. If only I listened to it sooner, more often.

As a child I had my own story that I needed to tell and this is how the need to create drawings and songs came about. Luckily my mother gave me a voice that people love to listen to, I am really thankful for that gift. I think it is really special I can reach people with my words and melodies and that it brings something different to each individual.

To all those who have been there from the start… to the people who understand that I use my life and my art to process things, to examine and improve myself and thus make life more bearable… YOU are my tribe and everybody needs a tribe. Thank you for being here.

Music and creativity has been the common thread throughout my life. Even if I sometimes lose the plot, I am very happy with where it has brought me. I am going to try continuing on this path to see where it will lead me.

Thank you so much,

Elly 🧡

Photo by SHOOT!ByGitta

Aftermovie Tamoil Cultuurprijs by IVision

Beyond Music

Singer-songwriter Elly Kellner with Beat Curti at Studios La Fabrique in France in 2019, together with Heather Bond, Ingrid White, Heather Bond and Syssi Mananga.

At the end of April I spent two glorious weeks at Studios La Fabrique (France) for the BEYOND Music Project under guidance of Grammy-winning producer Larry Klein (USA). BEYOND unites professional musicians, composers, singers and songwriters on a single online platform to connect and collaborate. After I was signed up for the Beyond Music network the lovely Heather Bond from Nashville (USA) contacted me for a collaboration and together with 20 other musicians from all over the world we were selected to participate on the album recordings. There was a constant flow of creativity, love and humbleness and it felt like a welcome, warm bath.

During my time there I filmed parts of my experience and there are now six short vlogs on my Youtube channel. I filmed all this from my point of view, so the people I spent the most time with will be most visible in these videos. Also my personal experience, thoughts and feelings in the process are highlighted.

Larry Klein invited amazing musicians to form the house band: Dean Parks on guitars (Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Elton John etc), Dan Lutz on bass (Lizz Wright, Melody Gardot), Adrian Utley on guitars (Portishead), Clive Deamer on drums (Radiohead), Manu Katché on drums (Sting, Peter Gabriel, Jeff Beck, Dire Straits etc) and Ed Harcourt on keyboards (Patti Smith, Marianne Faithfull). Engineers were: Maxime Le Guil and Steph Marziano.

The album we recorded in the studio is called ‘Same Sky’ and it was released this August. Besides the song Heather and I wrote ‘Different, you and I’ I also had a small lead part on ‘We are one’ and sang backing vocals on ‘Water’ and ‘Our colours’.

I’d like to especially thank Larry Klein for believing in my voice and empowering me. Regula & Beat Curti thank you so much for shining your light on this dream that you have made possible for all of us and Konstanze Wiedemann for planting the seed that grew into something so strong and beautiful. I will cherish this flower, water it and try my best to keep it growing.

Also a big merci to Studios La Fabrique for the welcoming vibe that they offer. Also Glen Dumbell, Doug Eglin and Jules, thank you for the amazing dinners, flavors and sweetness! It all felt like home and I hope to return to it one day. 

Lastly, Beyond Music are organizing the opportunity to collaborate again this year following through to next year with a new theme and new producer. If you’d like to know more about this project click here.

Elly 🧡