Dattilo- Where lyrics come first
Ellika Dattilo is a name you might not know, but her lyrics are something everyone should come to learn. She began the Dattilo project in 2016 - a project where lyrics come first. The stories told through her lyrics paint pictures some of us can only dream of. The film clips are documentary-like which enhance the storytelling experience.
Dattilo came from Ellikas Great Grandfather. His name was Antonio Dattilo Rubbo. “He was a famous Italian artist who brought impressionism to Australia and also played the mandolin. I always thought the name had a nice ring to it but loved it even more when Dad and I discovered it was something he acquired later, something he perhaps made up as he left the church where he had spent his early years as an adopted child under the name of, ‘Salvadory Imaginarum’. Later on I saw that Dattilo translates to Dactyl, which to my memory has something to do with the structure of poetry.” Regardless of where or what the name truly means, Ellika’s great grand-father seemed to be an extremely creative and colourful character which ties well with the Dattilo that stands today.
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How Dattilo began
The Dattilo project began after she had received a scholarship to attend the Australian Songwriters Conference based on her lyrical writing. Prior to that, she had always enjoyed writing amateur raps for fun and scribbling poems in her diary. Ellika had a strong interest in music, so it's no surprise that Dattilo involves both things.
At the conference, she was lucky enough to meet Los Angeles songwriter Alan Roy Scott. "He started his career at EMI working with Celine Dion and Stevie Wonder". Challenged by him, a song was co-written within an hour. "Muita Gente, which went on to be Dattilo's debut work. It aired on International radio before the end of the day," she says.
That debut song was inspired by a recent 9-month solo trip around Brazil. It amassed 30,000 views in 3 weeks. “It was a real kick-start for Dattilo,” she said. The official film, clip using personal footage from the trip, was released shortly after.
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Working with other artists
Dattilo slowly started to reach out to musicians from all around the world who might want to collaborate and bring her lyrics to life. “I quickly became the centre of a production entity, creating songs to build a portfolio to attract attention.”
“In the beginning, song melodies would come to me and I’d gradually try to translate them to the piano, (I don’t play you see) before going to producers to draw out clear chart sheets, but then I realised it was too much.”
When it comes to Dattilo, Ellika is overseeing everything. “I’m not only doing the main top line, but also project managing, marketing, networking, directing film-clips, assistant editing, writing press releases and fumbling around in the studio learning to record people.”
She now gets ideas or finds reference tracks and lets the musicians do their thing before jumping back in to guide the final stages, extra instruments, mixing, mastering etc.
“I feel so blessed that I had artistic friends believing in me from the start; Charles Nichols, Rose Callaghan, Alex Zablotski, Riley James, Amber Rose and Julian Frese, just to name a few. It’s the collaborative effort that’s made this possible, given me the opportunity to get my lyrics out there."
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The importance of lyrics
Dattilo releases show versatility, allowing for a wider audience interest while the lyrics shine through. “I want to draw listeners and potential collaborates back to the words, the deeper meanings at hand that so many people miss.”
“I read an interesting article in the journal of neuroscience about how the brain processes music and lyrics separately. If I understood correctly, we ignore the lyrics because it’s easier, it’s a sort of ‘brain laziness’. When we decide to listen to the words, we’re engaging in a whole new listening experience, new neurons are being fired. This really intrigued me and sits well with the Dattilo idea”.
Taking Dattilo Internationally
Dattilo has become an international project, with works from Montreal to New York. Some of her songs are inspired by travel and the clips feature footage of different places. With ever-growing popularity, it would not come as a surprise to see Dattilo recording all around the world in coming years.
In fact, the Dattilo project is beginning to become so popular that it has been aired on Bay FM, PBS and FBI radio stations. “All of this would not be possible if such talented people didn’t believe in the vision.”
Dattilo has had the chance to work with some of Australia’s best in the film industry including Dane Howell, who has won best short film cinematography awards as well as Benjamin Fraser, ex Australian idol finalist and film maker, who has also edited some of the projects. Benjamin also lends his voice to the Dattilo project. Right now, she is collaborating with Pino Squillace, a percussionist and producer from Nashville Tennessee.
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Dattilo has just released a brand new track The Mountain, featuring a dear friend Julian Frese. Julian is also in a “Rock-Flower-Doom” band called ‘Turtle Skull’ of whom are currently blowing up in the Sydney scene.
The has Ellika and Julian singing together and has nearly 4,000 views on Facebook. The accompanying music video shows clips from the USA. Together, the lyrics and the film clip tell a story of change - how taking a certain journey can change someone’s life or perspective. It can make you feel more worthy and grateful as well as open your eyes to issues and things along the way. The video features different races and communities participating in different events. It is well worth a listen to. See how you interpret the lyrics and see what you take from it.
The future of Dattilo
The overarching goal for Dattilo is to write for established bands, but she doesn’t want to stop the in-house-productions. “They’ve come about naturally, like a by-product of the journey. I actually am writing for a few local bands right now, but I’m always looking to aim higher.”
In a short time, Dattilo has amassed over 5,000 Facebook followers and thousands of views on the various film clips. Every song that Dattilo releases is full of creative flow. The songs all have meaning and take the listener on a journey, which is what music should be about. “Dattilo hasn’t ever been fussed about central face fame, making it another aspect to draw listeners in. I guess I’ve followed in my great-grand-father’s footsteps not only by reviving Dattilo, but also adopting an alter-ego name, Ellika, as it is not my true name”. The future of Dattilo looks bright and exciting, while Ellika keeps a low profile as Dattilo grows and discovers itself.