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LONDON (Reuters) - Ella Eyre, the British singer known for her bold vocals, has just released her debut album, after collaborations with drum and bass band Rudimental and rapper Wiz Khalifa. But the 21-year-old says becoming a pop star was not her childhood dream.
"I never got picked for the solos in the school choirs or school plays ... so it was never something I really considered strongly," she said in an interview.
Aged 16, Eyre, whose real name is Ella McMahon, was cast as Tallulah in her school production of "Bugsy Malone", which she enjoyed so much she went to study musical theater for two years.
"I loved musical theater, but I felt like I was quite restricted by playing a character and singing someone else's words and someone else's lyrics. I felt like I had something to say, so I started writing," she said.
Eyre's career began when she lent her vocals to tracks such as Rudimental's "Waiting All Night", which went on to top the British charts and win a BRIT Award.
The singer released her debut EP in late 2013 and three Top 20 singles followed. The release of her debut album, "Feline", was delayed last year, only going out last week.
"It is a completely different album to how it was supposed to sound," she said. "There are newer, better songs."
Eyre writes most of her tracks and says she has wanted to avoid being moulded.
"I've always been quite strong-willed and bull-headed about the way I wanted to be as an artist," she said ahead of a performance on Wednesday to launch the new Fiat 500 car at London's Tower Bridge.
"Taking songs was never an option for me because as a performer I want to translate the message and emotion that comes from that song, so if I haven't written it how am I supposed to understand it?"
Reporting By Rollo Ross; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Larry King