REVIEW: Ella Rosa's cover of “Englishman in New York” is impressively elegant
If you’ve been looking for a jazzy cover of an 80s pop hit, look no further than Ella Rosa’s new version of Sting’s “Englishman in New York.” Well-loved in large part due to the saxophone-heavy jazz breakdown in the bridge, “Englishman” lends itself well to the sort R&B/jazz fusion that Ella Rosa has come onto the scene with. By further accentuating the jazz elements of the original song and giving it a modern flair, Rosa makes the song her own.
Herself coming from the UK but living in NYC since she was a teenager, the cover comes off more than a bit tongue-in-cheek. Rosa’s smoky voice rides effortlessly over the bouncy electronic drums, meshing deliciously with the sax and piano interspersed through the track. It’s lighter, brighter than Sting’s version, and yet loses none of its oomph. Unlike Sting, Rosa was classically vocally trained, so when the song does hit that classic breakdown, it continues into the end of the song with some belting layered vocal runs. It reaches a triumphant height, never losing its steam until the very end.
If you’re interested in checking out more of Ella Rosa, her EP Yellow Blazer is out now under the name Ella M (personally, I think the name change is a bit more elegant, which fits the aesthetic she’s cultivating). The EP is fully 90s R&B, especially the song “Selfish,” and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a new-but-nostalgic record. With this new rebranding as Ella Rosa, there’s only room to grow from here into a more established, mature artist.
McKinzie Smith is a former film student from Portland, OR. In her adolescence, she followed Fall Out Boy up and down the West Coast. She now considers herself very cool and normal and only a little bit emo. She now spends most of her time listening to Charli XCX in her kitchen and writing articles about things she likes.