Exclusive Single Premiere: Ella Thompson “Let There Be Nothing” (2024)

Ella Thompson

At the AU we’ve long been fans of Naarm soul/jazz vocalist and songwriter Ella Thompson. “Let There Be Nothing” is a new track from the artist, her first since 2023’s album Domino.  It is a song about leaving, inspired by Carmela Soprano leaving her husband Tony in The Sopranos.  We’re absolutely thrilled today to be premiering this atmospheric new track, with a beautiful video by Nick McKinlay.

“Let There Be Nothing” has a lush cinematic feeling to it. With Ella’s strong, sweet and emotive vocals, it would be perfect as a soundtrack to a film. But what sort of film? At first listen, with those haunting vocals, you could be mistaken for thinking that it would be suitable for a  ‘femme-fatale’, where the leading character crushes her man. That is until you dive into the lyrics. It’s anything but. This is a track about recognising that some things can’t be changed and having to then make choices based on this realisation.

Opening with keys, percussion and an ethereal flute from Melbourne’s Cheryl Durongpusitkul, haunting harmonies kick in before Ella’s vocals take centre stage.  “I’m not going to beat you at your game, I’d rather be free than trying to win”.  “Let There Be Nothing” has some vintage old-school soul and jazz feels. Beautiful trumpets from Liam McGorry (Saskwatch, Dorsal Fins) are added to the mix, with driving percussion from Alex Roper on drums. You can imagine hearing this in a vintage jazz club, Ella and her stellar band bring this one home, lights dimmed, as she sings this beautiful song of finding a solution within the options that are available to you. The old school charms to “Let There Be Nothing” are delivered so exquisitely. I’ve been listening to this on repeat the past few days.

Ella gives us this background on the track:

“Who wants to play a game where the odds are stacked and the outcome is already pre-determined?
‘Let There Be Nothing’ is a song about accepting something for what it is, without trying to change or fix it and then making the choices you need to make. That moment of realisation can be sad and incredibly difficult, but on the other side is freedom.

I was inspired by watching The Sopranos, and seeing mother and wife Carmela battle with her decision to start her life again. Her choice to leave her mob boss husband Tony directly challenges the patriarchal establishment she has existed in since birth – but requires a complete rebuild of her identity, which is deeply intertwined with these oppressive structures.

To quote Yanis Varoufakis, “Freedom is about having alternatives.” I have chosen to reimagine Carmela’s story in this song – so she never returns to Tony and the morally ambiguous life he offers, and instead finds freedom and resilience in the unfamiliar.” 

The video was co-directed by Ella and Nick McKinley, the dominoes represent the interdependent structures of patriarchy, racism and capitalism. We make decisions based on these structures, with sacrifices and compromises always ensuing.

The track was co-produced by Ella, Liam McGorry and Henry Jenkins, who also recorded, mixed and engineered the song.

Let There Be Nothing” is out on July 11th through Hopestreet Recordings. Be sure to pre-save it HERE

You can keep up to date with Ella Thompson via Instagram, Facebook and TiKTok

Bruce Baker

Probably riding my bike, taking photos and/or at a gig. Insta: @bruce_a_baker