Lindsay Ell is having the kind of career that she used to dream about. The Canadian released her freshman The Project album last year, which includes the hit single, "Criminal," and spent part of the year opening for Brad Paisley on his Weekend Warrior Tour.
"It's been fun. It's been busy," Ell tells PopCulture.com. "We've been on lots of planes, and I'm very grateful for every single fan who has fallen in love with 'Criminal.' It's my first Top 20 record.... It's exciting.'"
Ell stars in the video for "Criminal," playing a car thief who gets caught and sent to jail.
"I felt like I was shooting a mini-movie, and it was amazing," Ell gushes. "Peter Zavidil, our director, kind of took our concept and brought it completely to life. I love the idea of shooting in a prison. We were at Tennessee State Penitentiary, which is a closed prison. It's been closed for about 20 years, but it's where they shot The Green Mile. It was such an amazing set to be on all day. I felt like we were on The Walking Dead. We had a lot of fun shooting the video."
Ell not only got to release The Project, but she also just dropped The Continuum Project, which began when Kristian Bush, who produced The Project, told Ell to re-record every song on John Mayer's 2006 Continuum album, by herself, playing every instrument and singing every part alone.
"I'm so excited," says Ell. "Fans have fallen in love with The Project. Because they've heard about the story of how Kristian Bush and I recorded The Project, they asked to hear The Continuum Project, so that just came out a couple weeks ago. It's just been so fun to see fans fall in love with the music. He is a genius. He is a mad scientist and I love him."
Ell also appears on "Horses," with Keith Urban, a track from his recent Graffiti U record. The 29-year-old will also hit the road with him later this year, serving as his opening act on the Canadian leg of his Graffiti U Tour.
"I completely freaked out," Ell says of the invitation to tour with Urban. "Let alone Keith featuring me on his record. If you were to tell 10-year-old Lindsay Ell that she was going to have a song on a Keith Urban record one day, I would have said you were crazy. But to get the call, and for Keith to be like, 'Hey Lindsay, would you sing on my record?' And then to get that call, 'Hey, do you want to tour with Keith in Canada?' He's such a wonderful human being and we are so excited."
Ell is already taking plenty of pointers from her future tour boss, mostly about how to act when the spotlight is off.
"Keith is just so down to earth," Ell insists. "He's one of those A-listers who always treats every human being like a human being. And I learned that a lot from him, that regardless of how much success or wherever your career goes, we're still all human."
Both The Project and The Continuum Project can be purchased at LindsayEll.com.
Photo Credit: Instagram/lindsayell