Grammy-nominated composer and producer Ólafur Arnalds releases ‘and we’ll leave it there…’, the result of an unlikely encounter between the Icelandic composer and unsigned rising singer-songwriter Ella McRobb connecting by chance through social media. The 23-year-old Londoner was inspired and moved by Ólafur’s short sound check improvisation posted on Instagram reel, which grew into a global viral hit, reaching 2.2 million views and counting. Collaboration is the cornerstone of Ólafur’s work, who lists 2023 BRIT Award nominee Bonobo, Nils Frahm and RY X as collaborators amongst others.

This release of ‘and we’ll leave it there…’ is the tale of two musical talents coming together through social media to create something special, and resonates like a modern day collaboration story for Ella McRobb. Moved by Ólafur’s music, Ella decided to improvise her own lyrics to one of the Icelandic composer’s improvisations to tell her personal experience on loss and heartbreak.

Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Ella added her soulful vocals to the piece creating a heart-wrenching new composition. Without expectation, ahead of playing netball, absolutely unaware of Ólafur and the colossal dimension of his body of work, she shared it on TikTok, using the duet feature of the platform. Stunned by the quality of the resulting creation and Ella’s talent, Ólafur reached out to her, starting an exchange of voice notes and zoom calls which then developed into a full-on collaboration. In less than two weeks, he offered her the opportunity to record a studio version and film a music video in Iceland.

Speaking about the track, Ólafur Arnalds says: “Social media can often feel disingenuous and detached, but this was one of those moments where I was reminded of the magic that can happen in the digital space. I found Ella on a Sunday doom-scroll, being a little curious about all the people who had used an improvisation I had posted a few weeks earlier in their content. Most of it was cute animals or inspirational quotes but amidst all the noise I found Ella's video. Her mesmerising voice over my improvisation just floored me. And after I had listened to it about 30 times I decided to just get in touch. A couple of weeks later she was on a plane to Iceland where we finished the song and filmed the video. A beautiful reminder of what social media can really bring to creativity."

Feeling grateful, Ella McRobb adds “When I heard Ólafur’s piano improvisation it instantly made me emotional. It sparked a beautiful moment of inspiration that I am so grateful to have had the pleasure of turning into a song with him. My whirlwind of a weekend trip to Iceland was magical as is the story of this all coming together considering the fact that Óli and I didn’t even know each other 6 weeks ago!”

Calling upon his creative community, Ólafur believes that music can live on as a moving, breathing organism. As he notes, “The heart of a song lives in the performer”. This is the reason why he loves sharing short sound check improvisations on socials with his community. Since December, these have gone viral globally reaching more than 3.4M views, and more than 77,000 reuse of the material solely for the video which inspired “and we’ll leave it there…”.

Additionally to Bonobo, Nils Frahm and RY X, we can also list American pianist and composer Dustin O’Halloran, UK jazz pianist, producer and rapper Alfa Mist, singer-songwriter, producer and composer JFDR, Odesza and Josin to his enviable list of collaborators.

Growing up in Surrey and falling in love with the piano at a young age, Ella McRobb wears her heart on her sleeve by sharing her own experiences of love and loss. Vulnerability is at the forefront of her songwriting and her powerful vocals narrate a 23-year-old girl learning to find her way. 2023 will see Ella release her debut EP - produced by Jez Ashurst and co-written with Rachel Furner, Oli Green, Jonny Lattimer, Roo Primrose and Leon Stanford, it is a collection of songs telling the story of growing older, falling in love and discovering how amazing yet heart-breaking it can be.

Ólafur Arnalds is one of the most influential musicians of modern times: a world-colliding, multifaceted talent, who has paved the way across the electronic and classical worlds with over one billion streams to date. His delicate compositions of haunting, atmospheric beauty have graced numerous sold-out venues around the globe, including the Royal Albert Hall and LA’s Walt Disney Hall, headline slots at mainstream festivals like Wilderness and Iceland Airwaves and his own genre-bending music festival OPIA at Southbank Centre.

Arnalds’ endless thirst for challenge has also seen him win a BAFTA for his work on ‘Broadchurch’, receive an Emmy nomination for his title theme to ‘Defending Jacob’ and two 2022 Grammy nominations for Best Dance/Electronic Recording and Best Arrangement, Instruments & Vocals. His blossoming reputation in the industry allowed him to cover Iggy Pop’s show on 6Music, host his own BBC Radio 3 series entitled Ultimate Calm, as well as compose dance scores for Wayne McGregor at Sadler’s Wells.

Ólafur Arnalds and Ella McRobb’s unexpected collaboration is sure to leave fans wanting more…

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