Under the name Squirrel Flower, Boston-bred singer/songwriter Ella O’Connor Williams writes haunting, melancholic indie rock songs that combine lushly-textured electric guitar work with her rich and powerful voice. After a pair of independent releases, she made her label debut in 2020 with I Was Born Swimming. Her follow-up, the disaster-themed Planet (i), appeared a year later.
Growing up in Boston, Williams' childhood was steeped in music; her father worked as a touring jazz musician while her classically trained grandparents lived in an artist co-op in upstate New York. Her talents emerged early, and she sang in the Boston Children's Chorus and learned guitar and music theory before immersing herself in the city's D.I.Y. scene during her teenage years. Williams' Squirrel Flower alias was something she'd had since her childhood days, and when she later began to release her first official solo recordings, she took it on as her stage name. Recording while attending college in Iowa, she issued the eight-song album, Early Winter Songs from Middle America, a stark and poignant set consisting largely of just vocals and her ethereal electric guitar playing. She gained more widespread notice the following year with another similarly lonesome eight-song set, Contact Sports, which helped her earn a contract with Midwestern indie Polyvinyl Records. Heading to New York City, she worked with producer Gabe Wax (Adrianne Lenker, Palehound) to create a fuller, though still spacious sound on her full-length debut, I Was Born Swimming, which Polyvinyl released in January 2020. Later that year, Williams travelled to England to record her follow-up with Bristol-based producer Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey). Released in June 2021, Planet (i) bore a dramatic, almost apocalyptic sound with themes of disaster and distress.
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