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.
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
Release Date: 18th September 2020
Label: Own release
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…“