Ella Munro: A modern day Janis Joplin.


Photo by Avalon Haloho

Ella Munro, surviving and singing

Edith Cowan University, Marley Amphlett

Ella Munro is a 23-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist based in Perth, WA. In her short life, she has experienced what she describes as a ‘series of unfortunate events’. These events include homelessness and a near death experience. This has encouraged personal growth that she expresses musically.

Munro’s voice has an unexpected raspy grunt, reminiscent of a young Janis Joplin. With a multitude of influences ranging from her mother to Kurt Cobain, Munro produces a unique sound.

“If you mixed folk and grunge and blues and pop, I am influenced by all sorts of different genres, it’s really a bit of everything,” Munro explains.

“I love my metal! Even now I am writing pop sounding songs and I get on the bus and I am listening to Whitechapel.”

Munro performs as both a solo artist and with other musicians, including ‘Last Lions’, self-described as “bouncy folk punk and trashy emo”. Michael Slitenbachs, a member of the group, describes Munro:

“She’s fantastic. We love having her in our band, it’s improved us 100% and her solo work is awesome too. Honestly one of my favourite writers in terms of melody writing.”

Munro is currently a student at the WAAPA program at ECU in Mt Lawley. “I am a bass player here,” she said.

Vinnie Crea, WAAPA lecturer, was more than happy to discuss his student. “Ella Munro is a creative, emotion filled songwriter with powerful delivery skills, her performances are always well received, and she is an outstanding WAAPA Music Artist.”

Munros’ journey to get where she is today has not been an easy one. When she was a teenager Munro and her family experienced life on the streets.

“I have the drive to make something better. I don’t like being homeless, I don’t like not being able to do things, I don’t like not having money. I don’t like being judged! So, I do the best that I can, to not have to deal with those things,” she added.

Munro described the details of what could have easily been a fatal accident.

“The acoustic thing didn’t really happen until after I had my accident. I think my accident helped make my music a bit more organic. I was 16 and I used to skate down this ridiculously steep no-through-road, to get to the highway to catch my bus.”

“One day for whatever reason, it all went pretty damn wrong. I stacked it. I hit my head, broke my collarbone and had two bleeds in my brain. I was in a coma for two weeks. I was in the hospital for a year.”

Something as unexpectedly tragic as her accident has been a catalyst for a change in her mindset.

Munro discussed notable people who have helped shape her career and her views on life.  “First things first, my family. My Mum was a musician. I grew up around musicians, I’ve been playing since I can remember.”

Writing music is a process of self-development for Munro, she said prior to her accident, her style was less literal.

“The stuff I have written in the past has been kind of metaphorical about whatever the situation was. I’ve got a lot of stories I want to tell.”

Munro appreciates what music has done for her personal development and would like to give back to anyone who feels connected to her music.

When asked for her opinion on Australia’s politics, in particular, the marriage equality postal survey, Munro reacted via her creative outlet.

“I recently wrote a song about the postal survey. Lyrically I have seen myself grow and it’s nice to see it, because it’s easier for people to understand what I am talking about.”

Being a member of the LGBTI community, Munro does not judge people by a label imposed on an individual by society. As such, she is hesitant to label herself. “I wouldn’t say at this point of my journey that I am Trans or not but I have always acted like a boy. As long as you feel right, how you’re meant to feel, that’s it.”

So what are Ella Munro’s tips for would be-musicians?

“If a person can teach themselves easily and can concentrate, go looking for the information and go and study it. When it comes to writing it should come from yourself. You should want to write because it makes you feel a specific way.

“I would love to make a difference, if I made a lot of money making my music, one day I would love to start up something for the homeless.

“I don’t think there are enough places that are financially or physically able to help the people that truly, truly need help. I would buy a massive property and build on that.

“The people that have forgotten how to live can go there and learn, without the pressure that will have them end up in the same place they started off,” she added.

You can check out some of her tunes on Triple J’s Unearthed here.

This article first appeared on NewsVineWA.com.au