It’s always cool when a musician rejects the Spice Girls machine.
In May, 32-year-old Ellis (born Mary Grace Ellis) told MTV to shove it. The network offered her a blanket licensing deal to use any of her songs whenever they wanted. Instead of jumping at the chance to be spliced into a “Sweet 16” episode, Ellis realized that the all-or-nothing offer was janky.
She doesn’t desperately need MTV. Her latest album “Break the Spell” (Rubberneck Records) is the work of a confident lesbian who knows what she’s doing. The flavor of Ellis is a lush, moody orchestra of folk and pop: Beth Orton meets Patty Larkin.
Born near Houston, Ellis now lives in Minneapolis. On Friday, she stops in Big D for an intimate gig at Uncle Calvin’s.
QUESTIONS FOR ELLIS
1. If you had a million dollar budget for your Uncle Calvin’s gig, what would you do?
That’s a lot of money for such a small venue.
I’d definitely bring in some friends to play with me. I’d fly in my drummer, Jennifer “JJ” Jones, Anne Heaton on keys (an awesome songwriter out of Boston), and bring on board studio pro Duke Levine to play electric guitar. And I’d bring in Sara Lee on bass.
While we’re at it, might as well record the show, press the master recording and make the discs available to the audience that night.
And why not film it too? And it could be just like Oprah — we’ll give away home mortgages under people’s chairs.
2. How often do you shop at the makeup counter at the mall?
There is a “makeup counter” at the mall??
3. You’re also a Buddhist? Can you easily meditate whenever you want?
Nothing about meditation is easy, but I do meditate every morning.
4. Describe nirvana (in your own words):
Realizing that you are not you but everything and nothing.
5. Say something genuinely nice about Sarah Palin:
She’s a woman.
Queer as folk: Indie darling Ellis proves talented lesbians can make it without MTV (2008)